Countywide land bank reform was passed last year in the form of Senate Bill 353, which allowed Cuyahoga County the authority to establish a County Land Reutilization Corporation (CLRC) along with specific financing tools to make the entire structure financially feasible. Thomas J. Fitzpatrick IV, as part of the Federal Reserve’s Policy Discussion Papers series, wrote Understanding Ohio’s Land Bank Legislation, which is an excellent primer on where Ohio was before the passage of SB 353 and what the bill did to help address the growing problem of vacant properties. As of now, the authority is only granted to Cuyahoga County; however, after talking to people throughout the state we see a need to expand this authority and allow other counties the option of forming a CLRC. As we prepare to make the case for expanding this authority, Greater Ohio recognizes that additional changes are needed to make the program more effective for a greater number of counties. Some of the additional changes we are exploring include:
- Permitting two or more counties to form a single CLRC;
- Allowing, on a permissive basis, changes to the existing CLRC Board makeup to better meet community needs; and
- Addressing land use planning to ensure that this powerful tool remains with the municipality where the subject land is located.
We are still gathering suggestions and would like to know what it would take to make county land bank successful in your community. Please send us your suggestions.