County Land Bank organizes to help ‘stressed land’

By Martin Graham -

Members of the Fayette County Land Re-utilization Corporation (FCLRC) met this week to discuss various aspects of operating the FCLRC, including agreements for administrative services and the procedures to acquire and rehabilitate a parcel of land in the county.

The FCLRC, referred to as the Fayette County Land Bank, is a group of dedicated public servants consisting of local leaders that seek to revitalize the community by finding land that could use work to prepare it for another use. Whether the lot will be used by the City of Washington Court House, the Community Action Commission of Fayette County or local residents and developers, the goal is to find parcels of land that are troubled and figure out a way to help return them to working order.

“(The land bank) is new for the county,” county commissioner Dan Dean said Wednesday during an interview. “The Ohio Revised Code introduced it a few years ago, but it was for larger population areas. They changed the Ohio Revised Code a few years ago to allow it to be at a county level. It is just an easier way to get parcels of land that owe back taxes and are not productive for the community back into the hands of people who may want to build on them or improve the property so they can start paying property taxes again.”

The Land Bank, according to Dean, had to have certain officials on the board to be able to become active, as per the Ohio Revised Code. Two commissioners, a representative from the largest city in the county, and the county treasurer must be on the board, but besides those individuals, three additional members were invited to the board.

Currently, Dean, commissioner Tony Anderson, treasurer Susan Dunn, Washington C.H. City Manager Joe Denen, auditor Aaron Coole, Buck Minyo and Branen Weade make up the seven-member board. Fayette County Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Dan Drake, and Community Action Commission of Fayette County Executive Director Bambi Baughn also attended the meeting.

As part of its meeting Monday, the FCLRC discussed an agreement for administrative services through the Community Action Commission of Fayette County, reviewed the FCLRC Code of Regulations, reviewed a scope of services document, reviewed insurance coverage information and finally, started discussion on the procedures for accepting properties as “Land Bank eligible.”

“I would suggest, if there is a parcel of land available near you that owes back taxes, has homes that are in disrepair, or another reason to be considered, to first contact trustees if it is in the townships, the city council if it is in Washington Court House, or the various village councils if it is in the villages, to bring to the board,” Dean said. “We first have to have Susan (Dunn) and Aaron (Coole) look and make sure that the property is having taxes paid on it, as those homes would not really be eligible. If a home seems abandoned or the owner is out of state or passed on, if the house seems to be in bad repair and no taxes have been paid on it for years, this is just a way of rehabilitating stressed properties and getting them back into the tax rolls again.”

Currently, according to Dean, the plan is to find parcels of land that require very little to no work and flip them in order to begin making money for the Land Bank to use on parcels that may require more work to return them to a taxable state. The FCLRC will meet again this coming Monday to continue to discuss the procedures for acquiring new properties.

Stay with the Record-Herald for regular updates from the Fayette County Land Re-utilization Corporation.

By Martin Graham

Reach Martin Graham at (740) 313-0351 or on Twitter @MartiTheNewsGuy

Reach Martin Graham at (740) 313-0351 or on Twitter @MartiTheNewsGuy