Frequently Asked Questions
1. Is the Land Bank a governmental agency?
No. The Land Bank is a private not-for-profit community development corporation, incorporated in the State of Ohio.
Certificate of Incorporation
2. Is the Land Bank a charitable organization?
Yes. The Land Bank has been designated by the IRS as a 501(c)(3) corporation, exempting it from Federal Income Taxation and treating contributions made to the Land Bank potentially as tax deductible under Section 170 of the Code.
IRS Designation Letter
3. What needs to be done to have a building torn down in my neighborhood?
The answer depends on the legal status of the structure and a number of variables. Is the structure actually abandoned? Is the structure subject to a bankruptcy proceeding? Is the structure subject to a bank or In Rem (tax) foreclosure? Is the structure subject to probation? Each of these scenarios can have an impact on the ability to remove a blighted structure and the time it will take to do so.
If the Land Bank or a governmental entity acquires a structure, the ability to move forward with a demolition is much easier. However, property cannot be demolished without taking the necessary legal steps to ensure that the rights of all interested parties have been protected.
Initially, a community will identify a structure, generally abandoned and appearing to be in a serious state of disrepair. The building is inspected by someone qualified to issue zoning code violations who then notifies the property owner that appropriate steps must be taken to remedy the identified violations. A reasonable period of time, (30-45 days) is allowed to enable the owner to cure these violations and the owner is advised that a failure to timely respond may result in a condemnation order or a determination that the structure is unsafe for occupation.
If, after notification, a properly notified owner fails to respond or address the violations, a title search is done to determine if there are any other interested parties with a lien attached to the property. The owner and all lien holders are then notified of the condemnation and that the building is going to be torn down. Notification is by certified mail, regular mail and where a lien holder cannot be located, a public notice is published in the newspaper, once and sometimes twice.
Once this process has been completed, a community can enlist the aid of the Land Bank to use its resources to demolish the structure. This request for assistance is made in the form of a resolution, introduced by the community’s governing body, often times left on the council or trustees agenda for three considerations and may also be subject to a public hearing. Once the resolution is formerly considered and favorably voted on, it is forwarded to the land bank.
When the land bank receives this resolution, it is processed internally. The Land Bank then notifies the engineering firm we have contracted with to oversee our demolition program that we intend to demolish the structure. The engineer arranges for an asbestos assessment to be done requiring entry onto the property that is neither owned by the community or the land bank. Gaining entry typically requires the community in which the building is located asking its municipal court to issue an order to access or search warrant enabling entry and the asbestos sampling necessary to complete the assessment.
Once the asbestos sampling is obtained, it takes 2 – 4 weeks before we receive the results identifying how much asbestos must be properly abated or disposed of. This information is provided to pre-qualified contractors who then provide the Land Bank with competitive bids, which are reviewed by the engineer. A determination is made as to the best and lowest bidder, a contract is prepared and executed, and the contractor then has a sixty day period of time to complete the asbestos abatement, the demolition, removal of debris, backfill with clean fill, grading, seeding and applying straw .
The process outlined may take additional time if the status of the building is subject to litigation or if the property owner chooses to contest the decision by the community to condemn the building.
4. Does the Land Bank have Memorandums of Understating with the various Lake County Communities?
Yes. To facilitate a mutual understanding between the Land Bank and Lake County Communities, a memorandum of understanding has been entered into with many of the communities to date. While not obligatory, where a MOU has not been executed, the Land Bank’s position is to comply with the terms of the MOU as if one were in place, in hopes of avoiding any misunderstandings.
MOU- Memorandum of Understanding between Communities
5. Does the Land Bank have a Conflict of Interest Policy?
Yes. The Land Bank has a both a Conflict of Interest Policy and a Code of Ethics. All members of the Board of Directors and all employees are required to review and acknowledge that they fully understand both. Additionally, every three years, each of the aforementioned are asked to again review and acknowledge that they understand the obligations set forth in both documents.
Conflict of Interest Policy
General Ethics Policy
6. Does the land bank have guidelines in place regarding the acquisition, renovation, maintenance, demolition or disposition of a property?
Yes. The Land Bank has in place various guidelines regarding property it owns or may take ownership of.
7. Does the Land Bank have a Code of Regulations?
Code of Regulations
8. Does the Land Bank have guidelines regarding public records requests?
LCLRC Public Records