Land Bank Progress

A Land Bank is a useful tool to tackle Ohio’s problem with vacant and abandoned properties. A land bank is set up to hold vacant, abandoned, or tax delinquent properties with the goal of returning these properties back into productive use. House Bill 313 (Sponsored by Representative Ujvagi of Toledo) would take the existing land bank structure and lower the population threshold to allow more counties the option to form a land bank. HB 313 is making progress in the General Assembly. Last week witnesses testified in favor of the land bank legislation in the House and Senate.

Greater Ohio’s Co-Director Lavea Brachman testified in support of the bill in both House and Senate Committees. Brachman said that Ohio “can no longer afford to operate under a series of systems that were designed to address an entirely different reality in the issues of foreclosure, vacancy and abandonment.” She called HB313 the “right fix” for the problem.

Other proponents include Frank Alexander, professor of law at Emory University School of Law; Eric Schertzing, Ingham County treasurer; Aaron Sorrell, housing and neighborhood development manager of Dayton; and Chris Eilerman, special projects coordinator for the city manager’s office in Cincinnati.

Frank Alexander praised the bill as “a model for the country” in terms of land banks and focus on surplus public property, “below water” properties, abandoned properties and tax delinquent properties. He said the goals of the bill are to eliminate blight, maximize short- and long-term revenue, create affordable housing and stabilize neighborhoods.

If you support the Land Bank legislation, please contact your Representative and Senator and let them know!