The Erie County Legislature approved today a measure to create Buffalo Erie Niagara Land Improvement Corporation, a land bank that is charged with curbing the problems of vacant and abandoned properties in Erie County. The measure was unanimously approved 11-0.
“I am pleased that the land banking legislation was approved by a unanimous vote of the Legislature. This is a very urgently needed initiative the Legislature approved. I am ecstatic that the Cities of Buffalo, Lackawanna and Tonawanda are on board and decided to submit a single, joint resolution instead of separate resolutions in support,” Chairperson Betty Jean Grant (D-Buffalo) said. “This shows Governor Cuomo that we want to coordinate our efforts, which will give it a greater chance at implementation.”
This historic agreement will establish a long-term strategy that specifically targets the problem of blighted properties that has touched all municipalities in Erie County. Land banks provide for the purchase and collection of vacant properties into one list, or “bank.” The properties are then maintained and prepared for redevelopment and put back on the tax rolls. Erie County has roughly 20,000 vacant parcels spread throughout all municipalities that would be eligible for inclusion in the land bank.
“The County Legislature is creating a terrific tool for dealing with foreclosed properties by approving the creation of a county land bank, which will help prevent blight in areas that need to be redeveloped,” County Legislator Terrence D. McCracken (D-Lancaster, Depew, South Cheektowaga, Alden) said.
The Buffalo Erie Niagara Land Improvement Corporation will be governed by an 11-member board, comprised of representatives from the Cities of Buffalo, Lackawanna and Tonawanda, Erie County and New York State.
“I would like to commend all of those involved with formulating the land banking legislation; they contributed a lot of hard work,” Legislator Timothy R. Hogues (D-Buffalo) said. “I am excited for the possibilities of this law and look forward to hearing from the board on its plans and goals. I hope this moves the City of Buffalo and Erie County in the right direction so we can rebuild our city, county and region.”
The Democratic Majority worked closely with County Executive Mark Poloncarz and Commissioner of the Department of Environment and Planning Maria Whyte over the past several months to fine-tune the bylaws. Cooperation and support was also received from numerous municipalities across Erie County who passed resolutions supporting the creation of the Buffalo Erie Niagara Land Improvement Corporation.
“This will give a municipality such as the Village of Angola the opportunity to address the need of blighted properties,” Chairperson Grant continued. “I commend County Executive Mark Poloncarz and Commissioner of Environment and Planning Maria Whyte for working with all of the governmental officials and getting this legislation to the table and up for a vote.”