What is a Land Bank?
As common denominator, we describe the land bank as a public authority created to efficiently hold, manage and develop tax-foreclosed property. Land banks act as a legal and financial mechanism to transform vacant, abandoned and tax-foreclosed property back to productive use. In addition, a land bank is a powerful locational incentive, which encourages redevelopment in older communities that generally have little available land and neighborhoods that have been blighted by an out-migration of residents and businesses. Through the Fulton County/City of Atlanta Land Bank Authority, we plan to revitalize blighted neighborhoods and direct reinvestment back into the Atlanta and Fulton County neighborhoods to support their long-term growth.
Why have a Land Bank?
Land is one of the most important factors in any local economic development and must be well managed to improve existing land use practices, enhance livability of communities and support local community development. In a certified study by the Brookings Institute, it was cited that on average 15% of the land in major American cities is vacant. Vacant and abandoned land does not produce sufficient property tax revenue and this lack of funding impedes a city’s ability to sustain its operations, programs and services. Additionally, it discourages property ownership, depresses property values, attracts crime and has the potential to create health hazards.
By transferring vacant and abandoned properties to responsible land owners through a land back program, local governments benefit because they:
- Avoid the significant cost burden of property maintenance, like mowing and trash removal.
- Increased revenue due to new property owners paying taxes on their property.
- Schools receive additional funding due to increase in property owners in their school districts.