Sullivan County Applying to Form a Land Bank
Land Bank Update
June 20, 2016
MONTICELLO — Sullivan County officials are preparing to file an application with the state to form a land bank that will initially focus on blighted areas in the villages of Monticello and Liberty.
County Manager Joshua Potosek said the application to New York State Empire State Development will be made in the next week or two.
If approved, the county land bank would be one of just 20 allowed by the state.
“The biggest challenge right now is getting an application in before the 20 authorized land banks are approved,” Potosek said Monday. “… We think there are only a few slots left. Assuming we can get our application in before the 20 slots are exhausted, I’m confident that we can demonstrate the need for this in our county.”
In a recent press release announcing the application, Potosek defined land banks as “government-created, not-for-profit corporations established to acquire and stabilize vacant, abandoned and derelict properties. After eliminating barriers to redevelopment, land banks transfer properties to responsible ownership and productive use in accordance with local land use goals and priorities.”
The proposed Sullivan County Land Bank would be a tool to help correct market deficiencies and encourage neighborhood reinvestment, particularly in the villages of Monticello and Liberty, along with other efforts such as code enforcement, zoning updates, planning and community involvement, Potosek said.
The county Legislature last week approved spending $100,000 a year for two years as start-up money for the endeavor.
In addition to Potosek, eight other people have been named to the land bank’s board of directors: Sullivan County Treasurer Nancy Buck; Sullivan County Commissioner of Planning Freda Eisenberg; county Legislators Alan Sorensen, Terri Ward and Ira Steingart; Liberty Village Trustee Daniel Wright; Monticello Village Manager David Sager; and Jacquelyn Leventoff, senior director of community and employee relations for Granite Associates.
They will each serve an initial term of at least two years.
The state has no time frame within which to make a decision on the county’s application, Potosek said. “Informally, we have heard it could take around 60 days,” he said.
Source: Times Herald-Record