When does it make sense to use land banking?

Any community considering the creation of a land bank should assess a number of factors to determine if a land bank is needed or likely to be successful. Some common triggers for creating a land bank include:

  • Large inventories of vacant and abandoned property
  • Properties with little to no market value
  • Properties with delinquent taxes in excess of fair market value
  • Properties with title problems
  • Inflexible policies that dictate the disposition of public property, denying local governments the chance to be strategic and nimble
  • The speculation and uncertainty inherent in the auction sale of tax-foreclosed properties

Some jurisdictions may already have an entity or agency (e.g. a redevelopment authority) that is empowered with tools to effectively take control of large inventories of problem properties and return them to productive use, obviating the need for a land bank. In some cases, however, such entities are focused primarily on development, rather than on blight elimination and stabilization strategies in more distressed neighborhoods. Where this is the case, the community may still want to consider creating a land bank or land banking program.

The Cattaraugus County Land Bank ...