Land bank procedures changed

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The Highland County Land Reutilization Corporation (land bank) approved multiple updates to its policies and procedures at its monthly meeting.

Todd Book, the land bank’s legal counsel, said the biggest focus was on Section 4 of those policies.

He said one of those is on Section 4.02, which said that the minimum a piece of property could be sold for was $300, which has now been updated to $500. Book also said there has been an update to the language of the policies and procedures that would look to give more guidance on how the land bank could sell property.

“That language states, when determining the fair market value, the land bank will reference the current county auditor assessed value for the real property,” Book said, reading from the policies verbatim. “Also taking in consideration any improvements to the lots including, but not limited to, water and sewer taps and improved street access. The land bank will attempt to dispose of the real property for no less than two-thirds of set auditor value. However, the land bank can sell for less than two-thirds of auditor’s valuation when such a sale is deemed appropriate by the land bank.”

Book said the reasoning for the change is because he wants the land bank to have “as much discretion as possible,” but he also wanted to give the land bank some guidelines to “work off on.”

Book said the next update was a modification to Section 4.04 related to the Side Lot Program. He said the land bank realizes the Side Lot Program is a “discretionary” program and it isn’t mandatory to put properties into the program. He said the land bank has to determine that first and put some parameters in place to help that, such as a property must “contain” less than 0.15 acres.

Another change was to Article 4.04 B, which previously said properties in the Side Lot Program could be sold for $100, with that changed to $500, with any additional parcel beyond two at $300 per lot.

The last change specifically mentioned was on Section 4.05, which has to do with the Vacant Lot Program. Book said the update puts another burden on the land bank to let people know about the vacant lots.

In other news, the land bank approved four separate asbestos abatement packages, all from H&H Environmental, which are as follows:

*The first bid package totaled $3,100 for 226 East South St. in Hillsboro for $1,350, 264 East Beech St. in Hillsboro for $1,550 and 112 West Collins Ave. in Hillsboro for $200.

*The second bid package totaled $1,800 for 8293 U.S. 50 East in Hillsboro for $100, 8321 U.S. 50 East in Hillsboro for $1,500 and 7377 Beechwood Rd. in Hillsboro for $200.

*The third bid package totaled $8,350 for 2580 S.R. 134 in Mount Orab for $1,050, 2850 U.S. 50 in Hillsboro for $100, 114 North Main St. in Lynchburg for $6,000 and a property on North Main Street in Lynchburg for $1,200.

*The fourth bid package totaled $3,000 for 11884 S.R. 771 in Leesburg for $1,730, 419 Market St. in Leesburg for $100, 8531 U.S. 62 N. in Hillsboro for $720 and 651 Jefferson St. in Greenfield for $450.

Jason Johansen, the land bank coordinator, said they gave the contractors until July 31 to finish everything.

For other updates related to the Building Demolition and Site Revitalization Grant Program (BDSRGP), Johansen said the land bank has its 12 bid packages ready for the 41 different properties previously approved for the program, with the 12 bid packets approved by the board at Thursday’s meeting. However, he said the application hasn’t been approved by the Ohio Department of Development yet, saying it “should” be out by the end of the month. He said that the land bank has “every intention” of using the full $650,000 for those properties and also drawing down another $50,000 in administrative funding.

For those bid packages, Johansen said packages 11 and 12 include all of the previously discussed “hot” demos for asbestos abatement so that anyone interested in that could save money on dumpsters and costs of that nature.

He said the land bank would like to put the demolition bid packets out by at least next week, with submittals available until Wednesday, July 17, 2024, at 4 p.m., with them to be opened the next day at the land bank’s monthly meeting.

The land bank board also discussed two Leesburg properties that could possibly be given to the land bank. Johansen said he’s spoken to Amy Palmer of the Village of Leesburg who said a solicitor would like the land bank or a CIC would like them to be the receiver of 125 1/2 West Main St. and 21 South Fairfield St, with the demolition quotes are $6,700 and $12,800 respectively.

Palmer said that she needs to go back to a judge to discuss the two properties in mid-July and let them know what their intentions are for the properties. Book said maybe he or Johansen could maybe attend the hearings to listen in and offer guidance at the board’s next meeting.

Johansen also delivered an update on the Brownfield Remediation Program. He said the land bank is still working on its applications and getting them approved. He said more information was required on a couple of the projects.

He also said the land bank is still waiting to hear back and would “hopefully” know by the end of the month, with the county having requested just the set aside $1 million.

The land bank board also discussed updates on multiple other properties, which are as follows:

*For 6747 and 6749 Heather Moor Tl. in the Highland Holiday Association, Book said the land bank didn’t become the owner of the property until around a year ago. He said the land bank received unpaid homeowner’s dues for 2024 that go back to 2019 unpaid bills. He said the land bank planned to work with the association to see what they can do about it.

*For U.S. 62 in Leesburg, Johansen said the land bank acquired this as forfeited property. He said the land was valued at $28,700 with 16.48 acres, with that measured to be $1,741.50 per acre, but the actual acreage was found to be 1.703 acres. He said that acreage was extrapolated to a cost of $2,965.78. The land bank moved to sell the property for $3,000 to Mark Shelton.

*For 6761 Heather Moor Tl. in Hillsboro, Johansen said it’s an abandoned double wide. He said a title search has been done on the property, and multiple liens were found. He said there isn’t any other movement on it yet.

The next meeting of the land bank is scheduled to be on Thursday, July 19, 2024, at 9 a.m.

Reach Jacob Clary at 937-402-2570.

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