• Bill Raines

Lawrence County Commissioners Tables Land Banking Resolution

LAWRENCE COUNTY - JULY 21, 2022 - The Lawrence County Commissioners tabled the vote on agreeing to join Daviess, Greene and Martin Counties in joining Rebuild Indiana Uplands Regional Land Bank.


Lawrence County Commissioners Wally Branham, President Rodney Fish, and Dustin Gabhart


Greg Jones, Executive Director, Southern Indiana Development Corporation presented the commissioners with information on the program to Lawrence County Commissioners on Tuesday.


However, Lawrence County Commissioner Dustin Gabhart stated this was the first he heard of the proposal and wanted more time to be informed on the program.


The State of Indiana enacted legislation in July 1, 2016, in Senate Enrolled Act 232 which added the legislation in 36-7-38 allowing the use of land banks.


Each county that joins the Regions Land Bank will have a representative from each county, and each county will be able to add a minimum of $5,000 as seed money for the projects.


Money from the APRA can also be used for land banking. Lawrence County has received a total of $8.8 Million in APRA funding.



HOW DOES A LAND BANK WORK?


Land banks are designed to acquire problems properties and then transfer them back to responsible ownership and productive use in accordance with local land use goals and priorities, creating a more efficient and effective system to eliminate blight.


In order to accomplish these tasks, land banks are granted special powers and legal authority pursuant to state enabling statues. Generally, the statues garant land banks the following powers.

  • Obtain property at low or no cost through the tax foreclosure process

  • Hold land tax free

  • Clear title and extinguish back taxes

  • Lease properties for temporary uses

  • Negotiate sales based not only on the highest bid but also on the outcome that mostly aligns with community needs, such as workforce housing, a grocery store, or expanded recreational space.

HOW WILL THE REBUILD INDIANA UPLANDS LAND BANK BE CREATED


  • A Not for profit entity will establish a Regional Land Bank

  • Counties will purchase services of the land bank to establish the program and start moving eligible sites into the land bank. Land banks are created by public entities by a local resolution, interlocal agreements between counties and establishing a article of incorporation.

  • Land bank boards will ideally have one member per county appointed by the count

  • A local advisory committee will give recommendations to priority sites

WHAT KIND OF PROPERTIES DO LAND BANK ACQUIRE


Most Land bank acquisitions are vacant, residential, tax delinquent properties. In addition, to tax foreclosed parcels, land banks can acquire real estate owned properties and receive private donations and public land transfers. Although most properties are typically vacant land transfers. Although most properties are typically vacant residential single-family homes or vacant lots, land banks can also acquire multifamily dwellings, commercial and industrial properties, and in rare cases, occupied rental properties. The South Indiana Development Corporation would work with the land bank or brownfield sites to acquire large scale, former industrial properties.


WHAT ARE SOME OF THE CORE POWERS OF A LAND BANK?

  • Obtain property at low or no cost through tax foreclosure

  • Hold land tax free

  • Clear title and or extinguish back taxes

  • Lease properties for temporary uses

  • Negotiate sales based on not only the highest bidder but also the outcome that mostly aligns with community needs, such as workforce housing, grocery store or green space

Using there special powers land banks can streamline blight removal and create a nimble, accountable, and community-driven approach to returning nimble, accountable and community driven approach to returning problem properties to productive use.


* Land banks do not have the power of eminent domain.


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