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The Suburbanite
  • Land bank approves side-lot program

  • The Stark County Land Reutilization Corp. has approved new rules to allow county landowners to acquire adjoining, vacant side lots that are tax-delinquent.

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  • The Stark County Land Reutilization Corp. has approved new rules to allow county landowners to acquire adjoining, vacant side lots that are tax-delinquent.
    The program is expected to place hundreds of small lots back into productive use. The Land Reutilization Corp. will eat the cost to foreclose on the properties.
    A property owner who wanted to acquire a side lot would make a request to the Land Reutilization Corp., which would take title of the property in order to clear it of any delinquent taxes or assessments. They would give the property owner clear title to the lot for a $100 fee.
    There are some stipulations. The person acquiring the lot cannot themselves be tax delinquent or have any code violations at any of the property they own. Also barred are people who own a corporation, limited liability company or partnership.
    The program will be offered throughout Stark County, including the city of Canton. City officials will have the right to approve each transfer.
    “This is going to be pretty advantageous to the property owner and pretty advantageous to the city,” Lem Green, a member of the land bank board told Canton City Council this week. “A typical situation is that you guys have torn down a house where there was a fire 10 years ago. Taxes haven’t been paid in 18 years, and there’s a $5,000 tax delinquency and there’s a $12,000 tear-down assessment.
    “Under present law, the treasurer can’t sell the property for less than the imposition on it, which is now $17,000,” he said. “The property is worth $500 on a good day.”
    Canton Service Director Warren Price hopes the program helps the city unload thousands of unkempt properties. Price said the city maintains nearly 5,000 vacant properties that have been abandoned by property owners.
    “Every lot we can get into the hands of a productive land owner who will mow it and maintain is another property we don’t have to care for ourselves,” Price said.
    The Land Reutilization Corp. has steered a $1 million Moving Ohio Forward Grant to the city, which it will match with another $1 million. The city will use the $2 million to tear down 250 or more homes this summer. Price said the side-lot program could help residents who want to expand their lots, but otherwise wouldn’t have the money to pay the delinquent taxes and transfer fees.
    “It could be the difference between people being able to pick up a lot and maintaining it or not,” he said.
    For more information on the program, call the Stark County Land Reutilization Corp. after March 18 at 330-451-7986.
    Reach Matthew at 330-580-8527 or
    matthew.rink@cantonrep.com.
    On Twitter: @mrinkREP