It is time to spend down some of the land bank.
Mow to Own is a new City initiative to allow residents to
take immediate ownership of LRA-owned parcels adjacent to their homes. The property came under LRA control,
generally, because their original owners failed to pay taxes. The result is an
underutilized resource, and – too often – a frustrating eyesore that costs the City about a million dollars a year to maintain.
Not every LRA lot is in the program. Eligible lots must be less than 30 feet across
and under LRA control for at least three years, because those small lots
sitting in the land bank for that long are not as likely to be developed to
create new housing, industry or jobs. There are approximately 4,000 such lots
in the City.
Taking ownership of a lot is not free. Prospective new owners must agree to
maintain them regularly for two years. And there’s a $125 fee that covers the cost of
a title transfer and a lien that protects taxpayers.
I like the idea. So do many neighbors tired of
complaining about unmowed lots. This may