The Union Recorder

Local News

June 12, 2013

City joins land bank talk



“The city has clear code to address those issues,” Craig said. “The county does not and has work to do in that category.”

A working land bank authority has access to federal housing funds, as well as offering more streamlined access to state property that Milledgeville knows all too well. A mechanism to move state property to a government sector is easier.

“Those examples exist and are used regularly. It takes about four years to move any state property to the public. Instead of years, it’s months for the property to move,” Craig said.

Central State Hospital Local Redevelopment Authority Executive Director Mike Couch said a functioning land bank with the right people who understand real estate development offers a quick, nimble approach to property. Couch saw an Indianapolis, Ind. land bank turn dangerous neighborhoods into 1,700 moderately priced homes boosting the community, he said.

“You can get to projects a lot quicker via land bank than any other mechanism I know,” Couch said.

The CSH authority is supportive of the concept for Swint Avenue and potentially for nine homes at the back end of the hospital property ideal for a Habitat for Humanity community.

“A land bank could allow Habitat to get to those,” Couch said.

Once Councilman Steve Chambers, District 6, heard the information Tuesday, he was on board as long as the land bank didn’t infringe on individuals’ right to further their business or development plans.

Chambers cited past property owners turning a profit on tax sale homes though they only put enough into the blighted residence to pass code.

A communicated vision will avoid past development quagmires, according to Chambers.

“We need to put prime emphasis on a vision and plan before this starts,” he said.

Under the Georgia Land Bank Act, counties can create a land bank with at least one participating city within its geographical boundaries. 

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