Washington DC– Today Smart Growth America applauded New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo for signing an innovative new policy into law. The Land Bank Act will give localities across New York State new tools for redeveloping vacant and abandoned properties. The “land banks” will be created and run by local authorities with the purpose of reducing the high number of vacant properties in many upstate towns and cities and returning those abandoned parcels to a more productive use.
Geoff Anderson, President and CEO of Smart Growth America, said: “I am thrilled that Governor Cuomo has signed this important bill into law. As the Governor noted in his urban agenda, blighted properties bring despair to communities and land banks are an innovative way to restore struggling neighborhoods. Also, I want to congratulate former Representative Hoyt, Senator Valesky, the Center for Community Progress, CenterState CEO and Empire State Future for their vision and commitment to getting this bill passed and signed into law.”
Albany, Binghamton, Buffalo, Rochester, Schenectady, Syracuse, Troy and Utica all face vacancy rates over ten percent, according to recent census data. Vacant properties pose a serious threat to New York communities by lowering surrounding property values, attracting crime, cutting into local tax revenues and perpetuating cycles of disinvestment.
By giving local governments the authority to establish land banks – entities that can remove barriers to redevelopment and make properties more attractive to investors – the Land Bank Act gives cities and towns across New York a critical tool to return vacant and abandoned properties to productive, income‐generating use. Land banks are already successfully revitalizing vacant properties in places like Flint, Michigan and across several counties in Ohio.
Land banks can promote reuse of existing land, spur downtown investment, and speed neighborhood revitalization. And land banks put control in the hands of local leaders, making it possible to work with specific community circumstances and goals. It is also worth noting, New York’s Land Bank Act is revenue neutral, and will not put any additional burden on New York taxpayers. You can read Governor Cuomo’s official statement about signing the Land Bank Act here.
Smart Growth America is the only national organization dedicated to researching, advocating for and leading coalitions to bring smart growth practices to more communities nationwide. From providing more sidewalks to ensuring more homes are built near public transportation or that productive farms remain a part of our communities, smart growth helps make sure people across the nation can live in great neighborhoods. For additional information visit www.smartgrowthamerica.org.