Blair's Magazine of Lost History | Charlottesville, Virginia |

Land Bank Is Latest Urban Renewal Real Estate Scheme. Monday November 20, 2017.

12 years ago almost to the day, City Council passed 4 to 1 the Charter Amendment Section 50.7 Housing and Community Development. 7 new powers to seize and sell real estate. 4 new powers to fund the felonies. Va. Senate stripped out the Eminent Domain powers, leaving the low-income homeowner subsidy program, which usually has a surplus because qualified owners choose not to apply.

The Land Bank deals with a specific problem. How to entice a developer to purchase Housing Authority (urban renewal) property seized and for sale since the '60s and '70s, which has many strings attached. They won't sell at auction. The hope is a developer will buy the urban renewal land from a Land Bank but not from the urban renewal agency.

Sort of like when the City donated "surplus public land" to Habitat. Because that was illegal at the time, the transfer went through Piedmont Housing Alliance. Land Trusts also have come up as possible solutions to the shortage of affordable housing caused by the Housing Authority urban renewal agency and other housing charities. A land trust creates a bureaucracy to own the land, where tenants have lifetime rights but not full Due Process of ownership.

The Land Bank appears to serve as a middle-man for real estate transfers. The public is more sophisticated today than 12 years ago. 11 citizens expressed concerns. The City Treasurer warned the ordinance would set a precedent of ear-marking general tax funds to a particular non-profit agency. 50% of property tax would funnel back to the Land Bank program.

The public questioned why we need a new committee to duplicate the work of HAC - Housing Advisory Committee. Because status quo housing charities are eliminating affordable housing in a specific way, mentioned by 2 speakers. Affordable for 50% of Area Median Income means your current home affordable at 25% AMI just doubled in price. No housing cost is being REDUCED to 50% AMI.

The most disappointing was to see Brandon Collins' fall from respectability. Collins was arrested earlier this year in connection to local Antifa. Collins started out advocating for residents of public housing. When the landlord began to fund PHAR, the neighborhood association began to work in the interest of the landlord (City Council Housing Authority).

So Collins is now part of the corruption where affordable housing charities are eliminating affordable housing. In 2013 City Council raided the public housing redevelopment fund.

The links below tell the story. This post is based on the video. I haven't looked at the Agenda yet.

Land Bank 11-20-2017. 56 min includes 15 min recess. Action is deferred. From City's TV10 Archive.

Blair Hawkins

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