Ruiz, Cruz-Perez Bill to Permit Municipal Land Banking Clears Senate

TRENTON – Legislation sponsored by Senator M. Teresa Ruiz and Senator Nilsa Cruz-Perez, which would permit municipal land banking in conjunction with online property database development, cleared the Senate today.

“Creating land banks and posting available properties online will allow municipalities to create positive redevelopment plans for our communities,” said Senator Ruiz (D-Essex). “Repurposing abandoned properties as quickly as possible can prevent them from becoming areas that potentially attract negative activity.”

The bill, S-1214, would permit municipalities to designate a non-profit entity, a redevelopment entity or themselves as a land bank. The land bank entity would be required to develop and maintain an online database of current and former land bank properties.

“Getting these properties into the hands of developers and homeowners will make our neighborhoods safer places to live and play, reducing the prevalence of squatters and the risk of fires,” said Senator Cruz-Perez (D-Camden/Gloucester). “Renovating foreclosed or abandoned homes promotes economic development and expands housing opportunities.”

The bill would require the municipalities designate the land banking entity through a formal agreement, adopted by the municipality and the entity after receiving community input.

Land banking is the practice of aggregating parcels of land for future sale or development. Land banks are private entities created and overseen by counties or municipalities to effectively manage and repurpose underused, abandoned or foreclosed properties.

The bill was released from the Senate by a vote of 27-10.