Assemblymember Didi Barrett’s Bill to Expand Access to Land Banks in New York Becomes Law

January 8, 2019

Assemblymember Didi Barrett (D-Columbia, Dutchess) announced that legislation she authored to increase the maximum number of land banks in New York from 25 to 35 was signed into law (Ch. 508 of 2018). The measure will allow more communities to create land banks to revitalize and repurpose foreclosed and neglected properties.

“Land banks are critical tools to help redevelop abandoned properties and give new life to communities,” Barrett said. “I championed this new law so more municipalities in the Hudson Valley and across the state can get properties back on the tax rolls, increase public safety and turn the page for struggling neighborhoods.”

Land banks are not-for-profit corporations that take neglected buildings and bring them back to livable condition so that they return to the tax rolls and to productive use. Assemblymember Barrett sponsored this legislation after local and county officials in both Columbia and Dutchess counties expressed interest in bringing a land bank to their communities. There are currently over 500 vacant buildings in the Poughkeepsie area alone, and even more in the surrounding areas of Dutchess County. On Dec. 3, four people were tragically killed in a fire at one such property.[1] The new law will provide local leaders an additional tool to combat blight and prevent future tragedies like fires, Barrett noted.