By Dylan Doherty
Flint residents have a new way to find and report information about properties in the city–from who owns them, to demolition status, to building conditions–thanks to a new website that went live Aug. 21.
Training sessions on how to use the Flint Property Portal will be held from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Aug. 28 at the Berston Fieldhouse; 1-3 p.m. Aug. 29 at the Flint Farmer’s Market; and 5:30-7:30 p.m. also on Aug. 29, at the Brennan Community Center. Attendees are asked to bring smart phones, tablets or laptops.
The training sessions are free and no reservation is required.
The new website, https://flintpropertyportal.com/, enables users to search for property information, submit property and maintenance updates, and view an interactive map of Flint. It was developed by The Genesee County Land Bank Authority and the City of Flint, who also operate it.
The interactive map can be color-coded for information on property type, property condition, demolition status, and future land use. Users can use the map to learn about community property maintenance, Land Bank buildings for sale, and which properties are publicly owned.
Users can search properties on the website by parcel number or address and learn their parcel numbers, owners, occupancy status, building condition, and zoning designation per the Imagine Flint Master Plan for Sustainable Development.
Users also can submit changes to property conditions and send a “maintenance message” to inform the Land Bank and City of Flint if the user has performed maintenance on the property, including mowing the grass, removing trash, or boarding open windows.
The property updates and maintenance messages, once reviewed and validated by the City of Flint and the Land Bank, will appear on the website’s property feed.
In addition to the map presets, Flint residents can color-code the map by selecting property criteria. Properties meeting these criteria will be colored purple on the map. This color-coding can be of Flint as a whole or only a part, according to zip code, census tract, city ward, or section.
The impetus for creating the Flint Property Portal came from Flint residents themselves. According to Kevin Schronce, lead planner for the City of Flint, city residents recommended more transparency regarding property data. He said residents voiced these suggestions at outreach meetings for “Beyond Blight: the Comprehensive City of Flint Blight Elimination Framework/”
“Beyond Blight” is a report on the extent and types of blight in Flint and the cost of eliminating it. The framework was formally approved by the Flint Planning Commission in February, 2015.
In a recent presentation about the new portal to the Flint Planning Commission, Schronce said, “It’s unique to Flint and created for Flint.” He added the new portal will help the City of Flint and the Land Bank maintain up-to-date information regarding housing and building conditions.
Such information was the basis for a Michigan State Housing Authority grant for $500,000 awarded to Flint to combat blight, including the property on the southwest corner of Averill Avenue and Davison Road, the Ballenger Court Apartments, and a commercial building at the corner of Wood and Saginaw streets.
More information on the training sessions and the Flint Property Portal is available from Raynetta Speed, community outreach coordinator at the Land Bank. Her number is (810) 257-3088, Ext. 536, and her email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
EVM staff writer Dylan Doherty can be reached via email at email@example.com or @dylancdoherty on Twitter.