A North Albany resident whose property is adjacent to a parcel the city wants to sell has asked to buy it to keep as a refuge for native species.
Lisa Thompson, who lives on Ridders Lane, submitted a proposal to the Albany City Council on June 22 to purchase 4.15 acres for $77,500. The council will have a public hearing on selling the land during its meeting Wednesday.
The meeting starts at 6 p.m. and can be seen online via Zoom. Information on viewing the meeting or submitting public remarks is available at https://www.cityofalbany.net/council.
The land originally had been bought as part of the North Pointe housing development. The developer bought the parcel to excavate for fill dirt, and then donated it back to the city, which now considers it surplus.
"My interest is to preserve the property in its current state," Thompson wrote to city officials. She noted the area is home to waterfowl, native and migratory birds, frogs, turtles, deer and insects, and said she plans only to remove ivy, blackberries and fallen wood.
Excavating the property left a groundwater pit, Thompson wrote. "Though it did not start as a natural pond, it has become a natural habitat supporting many species."
She continued, "It is my understanding that the property lies almost entirely within the 100 year floodplain. Any development on this property would require significant fill and retaining structures. This would disrupt the habitat and natural water flow. The property serves as a useful hydrological resource for the neighborhood as a sink and to slow water flow during periods of severe or prolonged precipitation."
As of Monday, Thompson was the only person to submit a proposal for the property. If the council agrees to the sale, the money will go into deferred maintenance for Albany's parks.
In other business Wednesday, the council will consider a staff recommendation to sell a sliver of land at the northwest corner of Ninth Avenue and Oak Street to HOPE Albany, Inc., for $1,897.75.
Founded by insurance agents Ron Brockmann and Mike Speten in 2014, the nonprofit group works to give people mental and emotional boosts through limousine rides and other experiences. If sold, the strip of property is slated to be used for access and parking for an insurance office.
The city acquired the property as part of its work to extend Oak Street north of Ninth Avenue to Pacific Boulevard to enable development of the Lowe's Home Improvement store on Ninth. The acquisition included the strip along its west boundary that wasn't needed for the street improvements.
The strip shifts from 10 to 16 feet in width and is a little more than 100 feet long. It is too narrow to be developed, but it still costs the city to maintain, staff members wrote in their recommendation to sell.