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The City of Rochester plans to form the Rochester Land Bank Corporation to deal with vacant and blighted properties. City Council will vote on the measure this month.

The land bank would be a nonprofit, public entity run by the city and funded by the city. In 2011, the state authorized the creation of 10 land banks. If Rochester wants in on the action, it has to submit an application by the end of the month. There’s no cost estimate attached, but the city indicates it has an existing and staff budget for this kind of work. Syracuse and Buffalo already have land banks.

Land banks give governments more flexibility. Rochester’s land bank will not have eminent domain power. From a state site supporting land banks:

Land Banks have the ability to clear titles and forgive back taxes,  expediting the process of bringing properties in New York back to market.  Properties can be held and combined into larger tracts to make development more attractive for investors. Giving more control to local governments means that strategies can be tailored to meet the needs of communities with different conditions, needs and goals.

Rochester has indicated it wants a land bank for its Project Green strategy, which calls for abandoning entire blocks. (No one at City Hall likes to talk about Project Green, even though the city’s has an entire website devoted to it.)

The legislation for Rochester’s land bank suggests it will be limited in scope in the beginning. It will focus only on properties for which the city has identified a use. The land bank is only estimated to tackle 50 properties in the first couple years. The city has a couple thousand problem properties.

Links of the Day:

– Siena Research Institute wants us to believe Ted O’Brien has gained 19 points since its poll last month. I don’t doubt O’Brien has made gains. The latest poll sampled more Democrats and added a question about negative ads, which favors O’Brien.

– Have you noticed abortion hasn’t been an issue in campaigns in Upstate New York? Until now.

– A Buffalo area state senator’s 2005 bankruptcy came to light less than a week before Election Day.

– Check out this interactive photo Hurricane Sandy’s impact on the Jersey Shore. Be sure to scroll to the bottom.

“It’s global warming, stupid.”

– Redheads might get skin cancer, even when they avoid the sun!

6 Responses to Land Bank Proposed

  1. they gonna buy the Kodak properties?

  2. The “godfather” of land banks, Dan Kildee of Genesee County, Michigan, has said that NY’s long-awaited land bank legislation is the “gold standard” of such legislation among states that have such legislation. But the challenge is that cash-strapped NY adopted the legislation in the middle of a recession and provided no funding to aid municipalities in getting their State-authorized land banks up & running. Once land banks have gotten established, they should be able to be self-supporting — but like any business (although not for profit), they’ll never get to that point without some initial funding.

    What to do? Representatives of the 5 NY municipalities that had land banks authorized by the State in the spring will be meeting on Monday in Syracuse to press the State to provide at least some initial start-up funding — even if it’s in the form of loans, perhaps through Empire State Development.

    To the best of my knowledge, no Rochester officials are aware of this meeting, but if Rochester is indeed serious about moving ahead to apply for a land bank, officials at City Hall would do well to make some inquiries (I’d start with Duffy’s office) to find out about Monday’s meeting & make sure they’re represented.

    Bret Garwood & Carlos Carballada, I’m looking in your direction.

  3. Rochester needs to learn from its former mistakes, this landbank could be a great thing or horrible. If paired with that moronic project green idea it’ll be a disaster on par with 1960s urban renewal. Basically its the wholesale destruction of neighborhoods while making the excuse that the vacant wasteland left behind is a “park” or “green space”. The only way to fix the problems many neighborhoods have is intellegent investment and the rehabbing and repopulating of the areas. It brings people in and keeps those alreay living there in place. Bulldozing blocks will only drive people away, green spacing can be done on a small scale but only where appropriate and when it will look natural to the neighborhood, not a shoehorned after thought that we have to be told is a park.

  4. What Steve said.

  5. City Hall needs to stop the suburbanization of the city, and keep it a dense urban area. All we try to do is turn Rochester into some weird qausi-suburban dump. I got news for city hall, those of us living in the city by choice do it because it is dense and urban, you’ll never compete with the suburbs or exburbs so stop trying. Be what you are. Now if we could fix the schools and some other issues that actually drive people out, a lot more people would stay or come into Rochester. The inner ring suburbs look a lot like City neighborhoods, they just have been schools and seem safer.

  6. Bill, you really understand what’s going on with the City. Even urban renewal back in the sixties predicated ite subsidized housing on 40 units/acre suburban townhouse and garden apt. projects with 20-40′ setbacks and rear parking lots.

    Unsubsidized lower density like in Cornhill developments continue to have that 3P’s faux victoian or English cottage look.

    The only true higher density araes were necessitated by the housing crunch after WW11 which created the mid-rise apts along the trolly trail on Park Ave and Alexander where the bildings were clustered at the trolly stops near commercial/retail intersections like Park/Oxford and Berkley.

    On other unsubsidized high density area interestingly is at the 16 corners in Brighton (East/Linden/Highland) which catered to transplants from NYC who were used to living that way.

    Then of course, there were the scattered and dis-jointed subsidized mid- and high-rise public and subsidized housing project that were built post-war to house the elderly and poor. hanover Homes, the worst of them, was bravely torn-down and many of the senior citizen projects ahve been amended to house disabled and tenants down to age 55 as seniors chose not to live at them after the word got out that they stunk.

    Rochestererians have the 3 P’s gene embedded in their phyche. They long for the Elysian Fileds of Pen. I used to be an urban kid from the 10th Ward. I marvel at how folks who migrate to downtown for the urban experience do so without the complete package of urban amenities inherent in that experience.

    Why would you live on Gibbs street and trek up to the East Ave. Wegman’s to shop for food? Or to Marketplace or Eastview for a total shopping experience?

    Or to Pittsford Plaza for a Trader Joe’s? I just don’t get it.

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