Land Banks for New York State

There was good news for smart growth in New York State last week, thanks to long term advocacy by Empire State Future, a statewide smart growth coalition, of which NRDC is a member. The legislature passed the Land Bank Act, allowing cities and counties to create land banks that are able to deal with problem properties in ways that benefit the community by taking control of the properties and managing them effectively. Distressed properties can lead to a spiral of decline in communities, and land banks provide an effective and proven tool to deal with those properties by redeveloping them or finding alternative uses that benefit the communities they’re in. The alternative to land banks is often that tax foreclosed properties are auctioned off to absentee owners that may not have the same interests as the community, leading to further decline. The high vacancy rates in some cities in New York State makes this a critical time to empower communities with additional tools to participate in an essential component of community revitalization, reducing blight. Read more about land banking at the Center for Community Progress.

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