LCI Eyes Land For Farms, Homes, School

Thomas MacMillan PhotoThe city’s anti-blight agency took steps this week to create a new farm on Ferry Street, new housing on Quinnipiac Avenue, help improve a school on Runo Terrace, and pick up $10,000 on Winchester Avenue.

Those four efforts appeared as new proposals submitted to the Board of Alders Monday night by Erik Johnson, head of the Livable City Initiative (LCI).

The alders will consider the proposals in committee before a vote by the full board.


LCI is looking to buy a 0.4-acre vacant lot at 613 Ferry St. from We Buy Houses LLC for $50,000. That’s part of a new “urban agriculture initiative,” Johnson said.

The city is planning to help New Haven Farms and the Land Trust to expand urban farming operations at the site.

Johnson said more transactions like this will come in the future, as the city seeks ways to improve access to fresh vegetables.

“We’re trying to expand community gardens to community farms,” Johnson said. “Ultimately it will make people healthier.”


Allan Appel PhotoLCI also seeks permission to buy a vacant lot at 494-536 Quinnipiac Ave. (pictured) from Continuum of Care for $400,000. The city would sell that riverfront land to a developer to build about 15 apartments, Johnson said.

This plan has been in the works for over a year, following over a decade of wrangling over the property.  Neighbors opposed three previous development plans, but backed the city’s proposal at a meeting in February, 2013.


On Runo Terrace in Fair Haven Heights, LCI wants to buy two properties on behalf of the Board of Ed. The city would buy the lots for $50,000 each and demolish two houses to make way for improvements to the Quinnipiac Elementary School nearby.

The Board of Ed would pay to create a new playground, more staff parking, and redo an intersection to improve traffic flow and drainage.

Johnson described the plan as a pilot program for improving access to city construction contracts by local small and minority-owned businesses. The city and Board of Ed will seek such a contractor to work on the project, he said.

10 Grand

Paul Bass File PhotoFinally, LCI seeks permission to sell an easement for $10,000 to the developer of an apartment building at 555 Winchester Ave. (pictured before its renovation), to allow for an egress from the property.

Yonachan “Yochi” Levitansky began working to restore the circa-1916 eight-unit apartment building in 2013. Reached Tuesday, Levitansky said the completed building opened a few months ago and is now partially occupied.

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posted by: RhyminTyman on May 20, 2014  2:17pm

I thought it was going to be 15 homes on Quinnipac Ave with 20% being affordable. Erik Johnson told the Ward 14 committee that and that the houses would be developed in two phases. A developer hadn’t been found at the time but the city was willing to develop the project themselves.

posted by: FacChec on May 20, 2014  2:41pm

LCI is looking to buy a 0.4-acre vacant lot at 613 Ferry St. from We Buy Houses LLC for $50,000. That’s part of a new “urban agriculture initiative,” Johnson said.

This deal sounds more like a payoff to one of many of the city’s dead beat land-owners.

LCI owns hundreds of vacant lots in the city in which LCI routinely sells off to outfits like New Haven Neighborhood Services for as little as $1500 and a high of $30,000. What can possibly be the justification for this $50,000 payout/payoff when both the city assessor and Visions appraisal asses this property at 70% valuation to be only $16,500.

100% valuation is only valued at 21,450. Where the heck is the LCI board, under a rock? God only knows what will happen when the board of rubber stampers get to vote on this deal. Passed…

See visions here:

See city of New Haven back taxes here:

Account ID:  8973  
Owner Name:  WE BUY HOUSES LLC  
Address:  613 FERRY  
  NEW HAVEN ,  CT   06513  
Parcel ID:  169-1259-00100  
Total Taxes:  $2,684.40  
Pending Payment(s) Amount:  $0.00

Tax Year   Delinquent Date   Unpaid Tax Amount   Penalty   Amount   Interest   Amount   Collection Fees   Total Due
2010   02/02/2012   $754.42   $0.00   $271.90   $0.00   $1,026.32
2011   08/02/2012   $325.23   $0.00   $112.20   $0.00   $437.43
2011   02/02/2013   $349.23   $0.00   $82.93   $0.00   $432.16
2012   08/02/2013   $341.29   $0.00   $56.31   $0.00   $397.60
2012   02/04/2014   $365.29   $0.00   $25.60   $0.00   $390.89

I really don’t know how Harp re-appointed Eric Johnson over the objection for 6 alders from Dixwell Newhallville and the Hill.

posted by: Walt on May 20, 2014  2:45pm

Last week I read in the Independent that ,  my boyhood neighborhood, around 500 to 700 Ferry Street once desirable because of its proximity to St Francis Church and School,  and its side streets is now “Prostitution Central ”  for our area

This week I read in the Independent that a City agency wants to buy a little vacant plot in the same area at a price equaling $125,000 per acre

Wow, —Price seems ridiculous to me,.  but I admit am not an expert on Fair Haven real estate,  Can anyone explain?  Thanks

posted by: Walt on May 20, 2014  3:35pm

Thanks, FacChek
You answered my questions, even before I asked them

Something really stinks here it seems Is the City really that corrupt?

posted by: FacChec on May 20, 2014  3:59pm

From visions appraisals = 70% of assessment:


Click to enlarge MBLU : 169/ 1259/ 00100/ / /
Location: 613 FERRY ST
Account Number: 

Parcel Value Item Gross Assessed Value 2012 Grand List     Gross Assessed Value 2011 Grand List
Buildings 0 0
Extra Building Features 0 0
Outbuildings 0 0
Land 16,730 16,730

Total: 16,730 16,730

City of New Haven back taxes 613 Ferry St. from 2010 to date = $2,684.40.

posted by: THREEFIFTHS on May 20, 2014  4:37pm

@ Fac Chec


Shylocks must be paid back.Like it or not the Gentrification Vampires are coming.

posted by: RhyminTyman on May 20, 2014  5:14pm

3/5 you just said community farms are away to reduce blight and fight gentrification, not even a month ago.

posted by: Dwightstreeter on May 20, 2014  7:01pm

Why doesn’t LCI make the land available to the Humans Without Homes he just evicted in the Hill?

LCI appears to be a shadow gov’t that was supposed to do building inspections. Now it is part of development too?

Why does it feel like nothing has changed despite an election?

posted by: THREEFIFTHS on May 21, 2014  10:13am

posted by: Dwightstreeter on May 20, 2014 7:01pm

Why does it feel like nothing has changed despite an election?

You are correct.This is why we need Term Limits.

posted by: Dwightstreeter on May 21, 2014  10:33am

In the past I would have opposed term limits, but with the role of really big money now unrestrained, thanks to the Roberts’ Court, I am re-thinking that issue of term limits.

Until we can get a Supreme Court that decides money is not speech, maybe term limits are the only way to put a brake on endless incumbencies.

We still need more parties, however, since the current duopolies are beholden to the same interests.

posted by: NH_Needs_HELP on May 21, 2014  10:00pm

Look at the filed card and land records.
This property sold for $90000 at foreclosure and then at $140000 after which the market crashed and a 9 unit development by the seller died. The property is listed for sale on the MLS for $75000 and the city offers to buy it for $50000. The assessment is an ERROR by Vision Appraisal. The owner has been getting the best deal in town! As a Realtor I know a building lot for 1 unit here is about $20000 so buying a large lot that connects to a large city lot to gain site control is a wise move. That is called planning…This area is part of the English Street Mall open space. The City needs to acquire the last few houses there and do a nice development. BRAVO TO LCI and the truth. The real story is Vision. Can you say statistical error? “Not a drive by”.

posted by: FacChec on May 22, 2014  11:22am

@posted by: NH_Needs_HELP on May 21, 2014 10:00pm

I doubt your contrived conclusion that Visions appraisals are incorrect. In 2011 Visions was required in perform a site visit inspection of the property, We Buy Houses LLC never appealed this assessment. The Tax office taxed the property at 70 the assessment, we buy houses LLC never appealed to the tax office.
I took your advice and checked the record of We buy houses, the findings are here:

57 NECK RD., MADISON, CT, 06443

Their last report to the Secretary of State office was filed on: 0004340557 Nov 29, 2010 8:30 AM REPORT (2009).

No undated filling since Nov. 29, 2010. We buy houses is not legally in business in the state of Ct.

You still have time to change your post and your opinion.

posted by: FacChec on May 22, 2014  11:55am


What you failed to mention in your post is that the property is now vacant and unkept. Because WBH brought the property in 2005 for $140,000, and was later torn down, has no bearing on the 2011 assessment. A 16,500 assessment is generous.

Correction to my last post. I wrote in error “We buy houses is not legally in business in the state of Ct”.

We Buy Houses status with the SES office is active.

Based on this further disclosed information, it is extremely difficult to defend Erick Johnson’s recommendation to purchased this property for $50K, to the Board of Aldermen.

posted by: RhyminTyman on May 22, 2014  12:15pm

FacCheck, every accessment from 2011 is lower than what they could sell there house for. The market has recovered a bit over the last couple years. It is not great but is something. Also you may think it a bit high but it takes two to sell it Erik Johnson could have came in at 20k and worked his way up until they agreed upon a number. Finally you act like the accessment has anything to do with the actual value of your home. It doesn’t. It could be more or less than what you could sell it for, you know what the property is actually worth.

posted by: FacChec on May 22, 2014  12:54pm

@posted by: RhyminTyman on May 22, 2014 12:15pm

Assessments form the basis for your taxes to the city. 70% of assessment x the mill rate.

Full assessment is the 30% value over the 70% assessor’s value.
In the case of 613 Ferry St. which is now VACANT and unkept… 70% value is 16,500, 100% value is $21,450. Of course real estate companies who never perform assessments simply look at recent sale prices and inflate that price. Anyone with any sense would first look at the assessed value and determine if any liens or easements are attached to the property.
In the case of 613 ferry there are outstanding taxes of $2,684.40, which further devalue the property. If you are the one who would buy this property for $50,000, I have a bridge that I will throw in for nothing, if you buy today.

posted by: RhyminTyman on May 22, 2014  3:46pm

FC- you are missing the point property doesn’t have to sell for what the accessment states. My house is assessed at only 10,000 less than it sold for last year. This is a clear example of the meaninglessness of assessment totals. It is what the Assessor thinks 70% of the value of your property. I am not saying 50k isn’t high, I am saying you should base your sale price on the assessment.

posted by: NH_Needs_HELP on May 22, 2014  6:25pm

This is how a city works. Plan, Budget and Develop or you go nowhere. The lot is so worth over the 50k they are paying based on the reality of today, tomorrow, and the future. It has huge potential and thus the impact will be immediate when developed. Ferry Street down to the river will benefit.

Own it and control it. This is a huge slam dunk for NH. This could be a home for the Farm of New Haven or it could be a PDD in the long run. Planning is a long run odds game and the City is on the $ on this one. It’s OK to let the city do stuff when it’s good for New Haven. And remember some funds need to be spent or they go back to DC or HUD…..don’t screw the taxpayers because that is how it works (I call these funds Spare Change from larger projects).