Grove City Record

Agreement joins city in countywide land bank program

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Grove City Council has adopted a program designed to address vacant and abandoned properties and convert them into something useful.

At its meeting Tuesday, Feb. 19, the City Council of Grove City voted unanimously for an ordinance adopting and implementing procedures for a "land reutilization program" and authorizing City Administrator Chuck Boso to execute a master memorandum of understanding with the Central Ohio Community Improvement Corp.

"This is the county land bank (program)," said city Law Director Stephen Smith. "It just gives the city options. It doesn't require us to do anything."

The program is designed to take land considered "unproductive" and subject to foreclosure and helps convert it into tax-generating property or property for public use, according to language in the ordinance.

"This basically (refers to) unoccupied houses in foreclosure," Smith said.

The agreement outlines the shared goals of the city and the land bank to strengthen neighborhoods by "returning vacant and abandoned property to productive uses, strategically acquiring properties to reduce blight, promoting economic development, increasing property values and thereby improving quality of life."

Under the terms of the agreement approved by council, the city will have the first right of acquisition on property the land bank wishes to acquire.

"There's no obligation on our part," Smith said.

For properties in foreclosure within the city's boundaries, the land will deed those properties to the city upon foreclosure or acquisition if the city requests them.

"All we would pay is the transfer cost," Smith said.

The agreement also establishes demolition protocol.

At least 10 days prior to any property it intends to demolish, the land bank must notify the city. In addition, the city will have the authority to demolish, and be reimbursed if it demolishes, structures on land bank-owned land where the structure has been declared unsafe or hazardous.

In other news, council also voted at its meeting to provide municipal services upon annexation to the city to two Jackson Township parcels -- 4.4 acres at 2050 Holton Road and 24.1 acres at 3385 and 3395 London-Groveport Road.

The services will include police protection, water service, solid waste collection and zoning.

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