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Council debates stalled projects

With the roster of stalled building projects growing, a city committee will be asked this week to extend the grace period for shuttered sites.

With the roster of stalled building projects growing, a city committee will be asked this week to extend the grace period for shuttered sites.

The land use, planning and transportation committee on Wednesday will be asked to grant struggling developers up to two 180-day reprieves to deal with flagging market conditions.

That would enable projects to have an extra 150 days of breathing room from the existing rules.

Inner city Ald. John Mar said with about a dozen stalled construction projects now on the books and likely more coming as a result of the ailing economy, the city needs to make sure sites with no activity are properly secured.

“Granting an extension to make sure projects are financed properly, I don’t have a problem with, but it’s a double-edged sword,” he said.

“We’re very sympathetic to the plight of the industry and we want to work with them to get these projects moving again, but these sites need to be safe for the public.”

Mar said some shuttered projects in the core have done little to shore up the property and that could lead to dangerous situations.

In one case in his ward, a car went out of control and smashed through a wooden fence surrounding a construction pit, something he’s worried may become more frequent if more vacant sites appear.

The city has been working with developers and builders on ways to secure sites with no activity, including plans to have the city front the cost of shoring up properties and recover the cost from the developer.

 
 
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