Municipalities consider joining county land bank


(Posted April 20, 2023)

By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor

Municipalities in Madison County are starting to consider membership in the newly formed Madison County Land Bank.

The Madison County commissioners formed the land bank late last year and filed paperwork with the Ohio Secretary of State. Since then, a governing board has taken shape and is working through the start-up phase.

A land bank is a public authority or non-profit organization that acquires unproductive properties for the purpose of returning them to productive use in the community. Land banks acquire land through tax foreclosures, municipal government transfers, auctions, donations, and open-market purchases. By Ohio law, land banks can acquire properties for little to no cost through foreclosures and can hold properties tax-free. The idea is to turn around the abandoned or blighted properties as quickly as possible.

Madison County’s land bank board is getting the word out to city and village officials, explaining how land banks work and what they can expect should the land bank acquire a property in their area. The board is asking municipalities to pass memorandums of understanding (MOU) so that everyone is one the same page when it comes to land bank operations.

On April 10, Mount Sterling village council held a first reading on a resolution to join the land bank and accept the MOU. Plain City village officials and London city officials have reviewed the MOU language and likely will bring similar resolutions before their councils for consideration, said David Kell, Madison County’s director of economic development and planning. He said he will be providing West Jefferson village officials with the MOU language soon.

The land bank is still in its formative stage. It has not acquired any properties to date.

“We are starting to go through a list of delinquent properties that might be eligible for the land bank to take on,” Kell said. “We are still in the early stages, however we are making some progress.

The land bank board has met three times this year. Meetings typically take place at 10 a.m. on the last Thursday of the month in the basement conference room at the Madison County Courthouse in London.

The board members are: Madison County commissioners Mark Forrest and Tony Xenikis; Madison County Treasurer Stacey McKenzie; London’s safety service director, Rex Castle; Shannon Treynor representing the real estate segment; Mount Sterling council member Andy Drake; and Jason Stanford, Plain City’s development manager.


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