Oversight of the Lank Bank has been addressed in the O’Connor-Gross amendments by requiring the Land Bank Board to host a minimum of five community information meetings while it works to draft the Land Bank’s Policies and Procedures. These Policies and Procedures will act as the rules and policies that guide the Land Bank’s day-to-day operations, its neighborhood priorities, and internal staff structure. In addition to these public information meetings, the amendments mandate a 30-day public comment period to allow for community feedback on the draft Land bank Policies and Procedures. To ensure an additional layer of open participation and public oversight, the final draft of the Land Bank Board’s Policies and Procedures must be approved by City Council before they are officially adopted.
Community participation amendment provisions will add three community members from the three most affected Council districts. These board members will be required to either reside or work for community-based organizations in these three Council districts, ensuring representation for communities where the land bank will operate most frequently. City Council will appoint three additional Land Bank board members, and the Mayor’s office will appoint the remaining three seats, for a total of nine Land Bank board seats.
The O’Connor-Gross amendments also provide the opportunity for extensive community engagement throughout the sale/disposition process, including procedures for notification and opposition, as well as a community-based petition process to allow for a public hearing to discuss controversial property dispositions. Public concerns about the Land Bank’s ability to take owner-occupied land resulted in several amendments to ensure protection for homeowners.
The O’Connor-Gross amendments will require that the City provide hardship payment plans and additional protections to owner-occupants who are unable to pay their current taxes. The Land Bank will make every effort to refrain from purchasing Owner - Occupied housing so as not to displace individuals or families. Finally, the Land Bank will not look to acquire Owner-Occupied properties without first confirming that an appropriate payment plan has been offered for any municipal taxes or claims, including evaluation for an income-based payment agreement.
Concerns about Land Bank staff being able to approve sale of property under $50,000 resulted in an amendment that removes any ability of staff to approve sale of property in its entirety. Every disposition of property will be required to be approved by the Board. Finally, after receiving feedback from Locally- Sourced and Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprises, preference shall be given to minority and women-owned business enterprises by the Land Bank.
Greater community participation on the Land Bank Board of Directors and input towards the development of Policies and Procedures
Community-driven processes for objecting to disposition of properties; community plans and priorities given great consideration
Stronger language to provide greater protection and services for owner-occupants, including, but not limited to hardship payment plays, social services and life estates
Limited City Council and political influence with protections to ensure checks and balances
Community Participation on the Board:
Amendments made to Board Structure Section:
Board will consist of 9 members; 3 appointed by the Mayor, 3 appointed by City Council, and 3 community members elected by the other Board Members.
Amendment says that the 3 community members shall be residents of, or work at the community-based organization, in the three Council Districts with the greatest number of vacant and distressed properties; one member shall be designated from each of the three Council Districts.
Mayor’s appointees shall have expertise in planning, real estate, and financial management.
Council’s appointees shall have expertise in community development and/or community organizing.
Oversight of the Land Bank, particularly in relation to Policies and Procedures:
Amendments require Land Bank Board to host no less than 5 community information meetings to present the draft Policies and Procedures.
Amendments allow for a 30 day public comment period.
Amendments provide City Council the ability to approve or reject the Policies and Procedures.
Concerns about Land Bank’s ability to take owner-occupied land:
Amendment references the Foley Settlement Agreement, in which the City is required to provide hardship payment plans to eligible owner-occupants who are unable to pay their current taxes.
Amendment states that “the preference of the Land Bank is to support homeownership and to avoid acquisition of Owner-Occupied residential property.”
Amendment says that the Land Bank shall ensure that there has been direct outreach to Owner-Occupants and offers of supportive homeowner services and social services, including but not limited to an application for a hardship payment plan or an appropriate payment plan on delinquent real estate taxes…
Amendment states that “The preference of the Land Bank upon acquisition of Owner-Occupied properties is to keep former Owner-Occupants in residential property…by way of a lease contract or the creation of life estate…”
Community involvement in the disposition (or sale) of property:
Amendments provide opportunity for community members to be notified of, and oppose, the disposition of property:
Community members will be notified via posted signage at the property and information will be made available electronically.
Community members will be responsible for filing a petition within 30 days of notice of sale; 15 signatures from nearby residents (radius to be determined by Land Bank Board) are required for it to be considered a valid petition.
Upon receipt of petition, the Land Bank will be required to hold a pre-disposition Public Hearing in the neighborhood. The Land Bank may approve a disposition request only if it determines, based on the testimony received, that the disposition would be consistent with the goals and needs of the neighborhood that is likely to create a beneficial impact on the residents of the neighborhood.
Amendments state that the Board of Directors shall be guided by neighborhood plans, input from City Council Representative, and input from community groups in decisions regarding disposition of property.
Included in the amendments it states that if the neighborhood plans/priorities reflect a desire for low-income and affordable housing, the Land Bank Board shall give priority to those plans.
Concerns about staff being able to approve sale of property under $50,000:
Amend legislation to remove this in its entirety. Every disposition of property will be required to be passed by the Board.
Locally-Sourced, Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprises, and Workforce Development Opportunities for Youth:
Amendment to Maintenance and Management Section: In addition to giving preference for locally sourcing its partnerships, joint ventures, contracts, etc. for maintenance, amendments add that preference shall be given to minority and women-owned business enterprises and to organizations that provide workforce development opportunities for youth.
The Land Bank shall also give preference to companies that provide prevailing wages to its employees.