In an effort to help revitalize struggling communities throughout the state with high numbers of abandoned properties, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, Local Government Committee Chair William Magnarelli, and Assembly Members Sam Hoyt and Donna Lupardo announced today the passage of legislation that would allow municipalities to create land banks. This measure (A.373A/Hoyt) would establish a program to turn vacant, abandoned and tax-delinquent properties into productive use.
"Whether urban, suburban or rural, our communities are struggling to cope with vacant, abandoned and tax-delinquent properties which create a haven for illicit and dangerous activity and diminish the values of surrounding property," said Silver (D-Manhattan). "This legislation is intended to help strengthen and revitalize the communities struggling with the burden of vacant and abandoned properties."
The primary function of a land bank is the acquisition of real property that is tax delinquent, tax foreclosed, vacant or abandoned. These properties will then be redeveloped with the long-term interest of the community in mind. When possible, buildings will be rehabilitated and put back to productive use. A land bank is managed by a board of directors made up of members appointed by the municipality or municipalities that created it, and who would be responsible for overseeing all of the activities and projects of the land bank.
"I represent the city in New York State with the most vacant and abandoned housing," said Hoyt (D-Buffalo, Grand Island). "This bill represents an opportunity to turn around Buffalo's image as an old, manufacturing city that has lost jobs and population, and transform it into an area that has creatively reused and redeveloped its vacant land. Land banks represent the opportunity to boost housing markets statewide by reusing land for green space, housing developments or public works projects."
The city of Buffalo has an estimated 13,000 vacant parcels, 5,000 vacant structures and an estimated 22,290 vacant residential units.
"As our cities and surrounding neighborhoods deteriorate, it is essential that we find new and innovative tools to address urban blight," said Magnarelli (D-Syracuse). "This legislation allows local governments to renew deteriorating property without raising taxes or requiring additional funds from the state."
"This legislation will help put an end to the blight that plagues so many of our communities, while at the same time putting property back on the tax rolls and revitalizing neighborhoods for the betterment of the community," said Lupardo (D-Endwell).