At its December meeting, the Peoria Area Association of REALTORS® (PAAR) Government Affairs Committee hosted Peoria At-Large City Councilman Chuck Weaver who presented his proposal of a land bank for Peoria. He recently visited the Genesee County Land Bank in Flint, Michigan, and is beginning to examine the land banking concept as a way for the city of Peoria to deal with vacant and abandoned property. Key to the discussion for REALTORS® was determining if the city was more concerned about eliminating blight or had the desire to simply create a land bank.
The meeting with Councilman Weaver is an example of local REALTORS® being proactive on an issue and working with the city to establish good public policy, rather than having to react against something.
This issue is in its infancy stage, but REALTORS® are already involved. According to the Illinois Association of REALTORS®, local governments in Illinois currently have the tools they need to deal with blight. So, land banks in Illinois are really about government acquiring and holding parcels in the hopes of one day developing, trading or selling them when the market improves. IAR is opposed to that idea.
More will be reported on the local angle of this issue as it develops.