Vacant Lot Program

There are approximately 230 City-owned lots and 189 privately owned vacant lots where you may be able to build your dream home or expand your existing home.

The City is offering its vacant residential lots:

  • To encourage construction of new, high-quality homes
  • To attract those who want new housing to Shaker's traditional neighborhoods
  • To broaden the range of housing options available (houses with first floor masters)
  • To build the City's tax base
  • To meet community needs, such as community gardens

How to Acquire City-owned Lots

Vacant lots (PDF) in the City's land bank can be purchased for redevelopment as owner-occupied single-family homes or as side yards or as community gardens. Applicants who want to use the lot as a side yard will need to propose a capital improvement such as a new home addition, patio space, etc. Call 216-491-1370 for more detailed information. 

The City is partnering with Knez to build new homes on city-owned vacant lots in the Moreland neighborhood. Learn more at the Knez website.

To acquire a City owned residential lot “as is” for redevelopment as an owner-occupied single-family home or for use as a side yard, complete the vacant lots application (PDF) for acquiring City-owned residential lots and return it to Neighborhood Revitalization.

Review & Approval Process for New Construction

  • Neighborhood Revitalization staff determines:
    • That the application is complete and meets City requirements
    • If it meets Builder / developer qualifications
  • Staff presents proposals to Neighborhood Revitalization & Development Committee for approval.
  • Successful applicants receive conditional approval so they can proceed with financing and develop architectural plans.
  • Applicants work with Planning Department to develop a design that meets infill design guidelines (PDF) and zoning requirements.
  • Architectural Board of Review and City Planning Commission review and approve appropriate applications.
  • Proposals approved by Neighborhood Revitalization & Development Committee, Architectural Board of Review, and City Planning Commission go before City Council for final approval.

General guidelines for Side Lot Program

  • Neighboring properties will be proactively notified of the availability of the vacant lots for sale.
  • Applicant must own and occupy the adjacent lot.
  • There is unlikely current or anticipated market for infill (because of lot size, configuration, easements, etc.)
  • Applicant is proposing to make capital improvements to the property that would increase tax value, such as: construction of house addition or garage, landscaping, etc.
  • The property may not be flipped or sold for infill development; the City has reversionary rights.
  • Applicants must be in good standing with housing inspection, current on property taxes, not in foreclosure, etc.

Starting a Community Garden

A community garden may take many shapes and forms, but generally, it is a place where community members, neighbors and friends can grow food, flowers, and herbs. Gardens can be divided into plots that individuals and families can rent or the garden can take the form of one large community plot that garden members tend together. 

There are numerous benefits to community gardens, including the ability to:

  • Connect to nature and cultivate environmental stewardship  
  • Create opportunities for community members to work together
  • Donate produce grown to food banks, homeless shelters and similar organizations
  • Enrich neighborhood vibrancy and sense of identity
  • Grow fresh, nutritious food for community members and food banks
  • Inspire inter-generational and cross-cultural connections
  • Provide a new learning and gathering space for adults and families
  • Use vacant and underutilized spaces in a way that preserves green space

Pre-Approved Plans Available at a Great Price

View pre-approved home designs (PDF) from Shaker-based RDL Architects. For more information contact Ron Lloyd, founder and president of RDL, at 216-752-4300.