The following excerpt is from an article written by Staff Writer Aaron Besecker at The Buffalo News and published on May 17, 2012.
Erie and Chautauqua counties to get state land bank
A tool many believe will help deal with abandoned and distressed properties and cut out speculators is coming to Erie and Chautauqua counties.
The Empire State Development Corp. on Thursday approved a joint application from Erie County and the cities of Buffalo, Lackawanna and Tonawanda, as well as one from Chautauqua County, giving the area the ability to start two of the state's first land banks.
Proponents have touted land banks as a way to deal with vacant properties on a regional basis and with a coordinated strategy.
Their creation "will truly have a transformational impact on our struggling upstate cities," said Sam Hoyt, regional president for Empire State Development, who as an assemblyman sponsored the bill that allowed for land banks.
Thursday's vote allows for the creation of the Buffalo Erie Niagara Land Improvement Corp., a nonprofit organization with the power to own and dispose of property, as well as maintain the properties it does own. A land bank can bid on properties at tax foreclosure auctions and would automatically win the auction if it bids the amount equal to what's owed in back taxes and fees on the property.