Amherst council hears how land bank could target abandoned properties

Last updated: April 22. 2014 10:39AM - 616 Views
By - news@theoberlinnews.com



Jason Hawk | Amherst News-TimesBuilding inspector David Macartney details how membership in the county land bank could be used to abate nuisance properties in Amherst. He said there are a specific few in the city that would be candidates for demolition, but would not say where they are located.
Jason Hawk | Amherst News-TimesBuilding inspector David Macartney details how membership in the county land bank could be used to abate nuisance properties in Amherst. He said there are a specific few in the city that would be candidates for demolition, but would not say where they are located.
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Several abandoned Amherst houses could soon be demolished.


Nuisance properties long left vacant and in disrepair could be targeted if city council agrees to join the Lorain County Land Revitalization Corporation.


The land bank program razes unsafe homes and turns them over to developers at no cost to cities. So far, it’s been a tool to redevelop run-down lots in Lorain and Elyria.


The most recent tear-down was April 15 at an Avon Lake home declared to be a health concern because it was overrun by raccoons.


Amherst is fortunate to only have a few nuisance properties, building inspector David Macartney told city council’s building and lands committee Monday.


He told the News-Times there are “three or four” properties that could fall under the land bank’s purview, but refused to say where they are located.


Building department secretary Tammy Paterson said no record has been committed to writing that details which properties could be demolished, though the office does keep a long list of complaints about properties.


Macartney said candidates for demolition have long been neglected, left empty, with utilities disconnected. He called them “magnets” for trespassers and vandalism.


If council joins the land bank, demolition costs would be covered by the state. Macartney compared the process to a grant with virtually no expense to Amherst.


The average home demolition costs around $10,000 to $15,000, he said, plus another $1,000 for reseeding.


While houses could be targeted, “white elephant” commercial properties likely would not be, Macartney said.


For instance, the long-empty Central School — which at one time was set to be transformed into assisted living condos for older adults — probably would not be eligible for land bank redevelopment, according to law director Tony Pecora.


Jason Hawk can be reached at 440-988-2801 or on Twitter at @EditorHawk.

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