rain
Friday July 3rd, 2015 8:25AM

Gainesville City Council likes the idea of land bank authority

By B.J. Williams News Director
GAINESVILLE - Saying now is the right time, Gainesville City Council appears ready to move forward with the formation of a land bank authority.

Council members heard from two land bank authority experts at a work session Thursday afternoon. Sara Toering, an attorney with the Project on Affordable Housing and Community Development at Emory Law School led the discussion. Mara Register, the Assistant to the City Manager of Valdosta, joined the discussion via Skype; Valdosta and Lowndes County operate a land bank authority in the south Georgia city.

Essentially, a land bank authority gives a city and partnering county the ability to clear a municipality of abandoned, foreclosed or tax delinquent properties. A land bank may purchase the property or receive it through donation, and the buildings on said properties can either be refurbished or destroyed. In either case, the goal is to return property to the tax roll.

Currently, there are 15 land bank authorities in the state of Georgia.

Toering spent almost an hour reviewing with Council the benefits of creating a land bank authority, and Register explained how the formation of an authority in Valdosta has ridded her city of hundreds of blighted properties.

City Planning Director Rusty Ligon and his staff have been working since the first quarter of 2013 on a housing inventory for Gainesville, searching to see which houses may be viable for land bank acquisition.

"It's only a 'windshield' survey, so we have city staff out and they are taking pictures of every single house," said Ligon. "They're also documenting the exterior conditions of all the houses from the roof to the walls to the foundation - condition of the property overall."

Ligon estimated there are 7,000 residential properties in the city.

He said if all goes as planned, then the Gainesville land bank authority could be ready to go by fall. But, in order to comply with the 2012 Georgia Land Bank Act, the city will have to partner with Hall County to create such an authority.
Despite tension on other matters between the city and county, Ligon said he feels sure the county will be on board with partnering on a land bank authority.

"Much of the county staff is up to speed with land bank authorities and how they can benefit, so I see it as a positive and I think they would be happy to work with us."

© Copyright 2015 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Missing Ga. bank director arrested in Brunswick
A bank director accused of losing millions of investors' dollars before vanishing last year was arrested Tuesday during a traffic stop in a city in south Georgia.
7:00PM ( 1 year ago )
S&P 500 index has its best year since 1997
The stock market closed out a record year with more all-time highs on Tuesday, giving U.S. indexes their biggest annual gains in almost two decades.
6:56PM ( 1 year ago )
Colorado readies for 'Green Wednesday' pot sales
Police were adding extra patrols around pot shops in eight Colorado towns that plan to allow recreational sales to anyone over 21 on Jan. 1.
1:52PM ( 1 year ago )
Business News
Sex offender held in Hall County for failing to register
A 47-year-old man was booked into the Hall County Jail Tuesday, being held without bond for allegedly failing to register as a sex offender, his second such arrest.
6:09PM ( 1 year ago )
Pharmacy robberies may involve same suspect
Oakwood Police Tuesday afternoon released details in a pharmacy robbery they're investigating, similar to one that happened in the Hall County Tuesday morning.
5:46PM ( 1 year ago )
Victim critical following apartment fire
A 41-year-old woman was in critical but stable condition Tuesday after being rescued from an apartment fire in Forsyth County late Monday afternoon.
3:16PM ( 1 year ago )
Local/State News
Medicaid growth creates gap of 5M without coverage; 409K in Ga.
About 5 million people will be without health care next year that they would have gotten simply if they lived somewhere else in America.
7:30AM ( 1 year ago )
Vandals spray graffiti against Kerry in West Bank
Suspected Jewish vandals set fire to three vehicles in a West Bank village early on Tuesday and sprayed threatening graffiti referring to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry ahead of his expected visit to the region, police said.
7:28AM ( 1 year ago )
Feds announce test sites for drone aircraft
The Federal Aviation Administration announced six states on Monday that will develop test sites for drones, a critical next step for the march of the unmanned aircraft into U.S. skies.
2:23PM ( 1 year ago )
Politics
UNG, Ga. Tech students team-up to solve special needs
Nine students from Georgia Tech’s School of Industrial Design and fourteen students from the University of North Georgia’s doctoral program of Physical Therapy are spending the week on the Dahlonega school’s campus, collaborating to meet the needs of some special north Georgians who face unique physical and sensory challenges.
8:27PM ( 11 hours ago )
Homicide investigation continues in Banks County
A death discovered in Banks County early Thursday has been ruled a homicide.
8:20PM ( 12 hours ago )
UPDATE: Three suspects arrested on Lake Lanier on drug, weapons charges
The Department of Natural Resources recovered a quantity of methamphetamine, cash and weapons during a bust on Lake Lanier early Wednesday morning.
5:53PM ( 14 hours ago )
Gainesville lawyers, Hall Co. Sheriff read aloud Declaration of Independence
Twenty-four Gainesville area attorneys, their sons and their daughters, and Hall County Sheriff Gerald Couch, read aloud Thursday in Kenyon Plaza downtown the words that started it all for America.
5:26PM ( 14 hours ago )
GPD, Crime Stoppers offer reward in Atlanta Street Apt. murder
The Gainesville Police Department is hoping the offer of reward money will prompt someone to come forward with some information in a homicide that happened at a city apartment complex last month.
3:44PM ( 16 hours ago )