Clarion County creates land bank

Clarion County commissioners passed an ordinance at their meeting Tuesday that will create a county land bank.

The ordinance designates the Clarion County Redevelopment Authority to act as the land bank.

“The best way to describe a land bank is that they will acquire problem properties to rehabilitate the properties and to transfer them back to private ownership,” said Penny Campbell, executive director of the Housing Authority.

Campbell said there are no properties in the land bank at this time.

“Now that the ordinance has passed, the Redevelopment Authority can begin to look at these problem properties and acquire them,” she said.

Campbell said the authority would look at properties that are vacant, abandoned, or tax delinquent for inclusion in the land bank.

“These are properties that private developers are not interested in,” Campbell said. “The properties might have environmental concerns or significant tax liens against them. These properties would be more costly to acquire and rehab than they can recapture.”

To acquire properties, Campbell said the authority would look at tax sales and the repository list.

The land bank doesn’t have the power of eminent domain, but the Redevelopment Authority has that power.

Campbell said the land bank would rely on state grants and some federal grants to rehab the properties.

“The goal is not to make a profit,” said Campbell. “Any money that does come back the land bank could use for future properties.”