The Oakland County Land Bank has been launched to support economic development and help revitalize communities and neighborhoods.
“The Oakland County Land Bank Authority enables us to expand our economic development toolkit so that we can directly address property vacancies, support new developments, and return foreclosed properties to the tax rolls,” says Robert Wittenberg, treasurer of Oakland County. “It gives us the ability to strengthen our communities and neighborhoods by creating housing, public spaces, or other creative community uses.”
Land banks acquire title to properties — most commonly through the tax foreclosure process — and transfer the properties to new, responsible owners in a manner consistent with community-based plans that also return the properties to the tax roll.
For land bank properties, additional resources and funds may be available to help with infrastructure, roads, and utility costs for economic development projects including affordable and market-rate housing along with commercial activities.
“The State Land Bank Authority has been supporting the creation of county land banks since 2004 and we see the application of land bank tools in Michigan communities in 2022 as important as ever,” says Emily Doerr, executive director of the SLBA.
On June 23, the Oakland County Board of Commissioners approved the Intergovernmental Agreement between the State Land Bank Authority and the Oakland County Treasurer’s Office to establish the Oakland County Land Bank Authority. A board will be established to direct the land bank.
“This is a big deal — the new Oakland County Land Bank will improve housing, increase home values, and help build an economy that works for everyone,” says David T. Woodward, chairman of the Oakland County Board of Commissioners.
“A land bank is such a useful tool to help strengthen our neighborhoods and communities,” says Oakland County Executive David Coulter. “In these times of soaring housing prices, efforts to put property back into productive use will also help build the inventory of affordable housing in Oakland County, which is a key priority for our communities and our residents.”
Residential and commercial developers with projects in Oakland County can contact Jill Robinson, deputy treasurer and property specialist, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org for assistance.