LIMA — With both a City of Lima Land Bank and the Allen County Land Bank in operation in the city, it was inevitable that the two entities would eventually be brought together concerning a property within city limits. During an Allen County Land Bank Board meeting Thursday, details of that meeting were outlined, revealing some procedural friction.
Allen County Treasurer Rachael Gilroy spoke about a group of three Kibby Street properties during the meeting, properties which were next to a group of properties already held by the county land bank. Each of the three properties were tax delinquent, Gilroy said, with delinquency going back as far as 1989 for one of the properties.
“Our county land bank applied to the city land bank for the acquisition of those lots,” she said. “We wanted to combine them with the lots we already have now.”
When the application was made, the county land bank listed “economic development” as the plans for the property, believing it was understood that the properties would be marketed for sale.
“I got a letter back from the city requesting more information because they don’t like speculation and they didn’t know if it was appropriate,” Gilroy said. “We’re set to market our two lots, and it would be nice to put that whole area out for development. At this point, we don’t have an end user.”
Lima Community Development Director Susan Crotty said that the city was simply looking for more details on the plan, saying the city land bank makes the same request of every property applicant.
“All we ask for is a plan,” she said. “All we got was a pretty generic ‘economic development.’”
Gilroy took exception with that, saying that the mission and track record of the county land bank should be sufficient to assure the city land bank that the properties would be utilized and marketed properly.
After some discussion, it was determined that the county land bank would include more detailed statements of intent in future applications. However, while the city land bank maintained that the letter was sent with the intention of treating everyone equally, county land bank officials maintained that the situation could have been handled differently without such formalities.
“We will cooperate, but we’re asking that maybe, in the future, we receive a little different form of communication than an official letter when we’re trying to work together,” Allen County Commissioner and county land bank board chairman Jay Begg said.