Shelby County approves land bank moratorium

This resolution bars any purchases of land from the bank for 90 days.

Monday, Shelby County commissioners unanimously approved a moratorium on the Land Bank. This resolution, passed 11-0, bars any purchases of land from the bank for 90 days.

The county attorney’s office defended the land bank purchase delay as legal – as commissioners and citizens debated the next steps.

“In my personal opinion, a huge win for Shelby County,” commissioner Britney Thornton who proposed the resolution said. “So, we know that the land grab has become more aggressive.”

Thornton said recent trends strayed from the program’s original intent to acquire and rehab dilapidated, tax-delinquent properties, and some Memphis who spoke out Monday agreed.

“The landbank has basically been used by the nonprofit industrial complex as a big giant grab from the citizens of Shelby County,” one attendee said.

Other citizens argued that recently the Shelby County Land Bank played a role in pricing some residents out of their own neighborhoods.

“We were getting properties from the lank bank before; four, five thousand dollars. The properties are fifty, sixty thousand dollars,” another attendee said. “So that takes us out of the playing field. It’s supposed to be an equal situation but in our own communities, we are being robbed and the developers do not live in the community that’s there.”

Commissioner Thornton said now that the vote is done true reform can begin to make the purchasing process more transparent.

“The moratorium being established we now get to move into work mode, Thornton said. “We already have an ad hoc committee that was approved and now we will convene around the issues that have been expressed. We want to come out of this three-month period with policy and procedure recommendations.”

In the coming months, the committee will look at the process the Land Bank uses for selling properties, who they are sold to, and how much they sell for. The body will also consider the impact those sales have had on blighted areas of the city such as the commissioner of Thornton’s Orange Mound district.

Similar Posts