Darrell Clarke’s Land Bank Amendments Are Nuts

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Any successful land bank bill needs to have less Council member discretion than the current system, not more. Yes, having four agencies in charge of land distribution and maintenance is a big problem, as is the lack of a central inventory. But the biggest unforced problem in this area is District Council members’ “Kiss the Ring” attitude on land sales, where they don’t not let parcels people want out the door for political reasons. The land bank can either become a tool to subvert NIMBY political power, or a tool to enable it. These amendments turn the land bank into a NIMBY-guarded fortress, politicizing land disposition even more than it presently is.

Here’s Isaiah Thompson on Council President Clarke’s office’s Thanksgiving Eve news dump:

Council President Darrell Clarke has advanced amendments to the long-anticipated land bank bill that includes changes supporters of the bill have called “deal-breakers.”

Clarke circulated the proposals to Council members via email late Wednesday, on the eve of the Thanksgiving weekend.

If adopted, the effect of the amendments would be to inject the need for Council approval in a number of steps before a vacant property is acquired and sold.

Among them is a provision that would require Council to approve not only the disposition (a fancy word for “sale”) of every piece of land but also to approve, by signature, every transfer of land into the land bank in the first place.

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