Abandoned Properties

Posted on Posted in My Platform
  • Start a land bank
  • Pass abandoned property ordinances
  • Open and fund our Planning and Economic Development department

Poughkeepsie Land Bank

Our city has over 700 abandoned and underutilized properties. Many of them are owned by large banks or corporate investment interests who have very little incentive to sell or develop the land/building. The city council today can work to sell these properties one-by-one, but the process is tedious and prolonged.

Poughkeepsie needs a Land Bank. This quasi-governmental non-profit organization can work to acquire and sell properties in the city to developers and/or citizens who wish to purchase them. Instead of allowing banks to hold onto properties until the economy improves, we can get them back onto the tax rolls and into the hands of real people who want to make Poughkeepsie a better place.

Land banks work as both “carrot and stick” to property owners who don’t fully utilize their properties today. The land bank can consolidate connected properties and sell them together saving the individual owners a great deal of hassle. It can also work with local community organizations to supply funding and equitable lending terms so properties can be purchased affordably by local individuals.

Blighted Property Ordinances

Until very recently, the City of Poughkeepsie had no means to recoup its costs when caring for blighted properties. Thanks to Councilman Tracy Herman we now have a Foreclosure Bond Ordinance which gives the city $10,000 for each vacant property.

The Foreclosure Bond Ordinance is the first of a set of local laws and ordinances that we can use to remedy our blighted property problem. Poughkeepsie needs its council to continue to push to eliminate these vacant properties from our streets. When elected, I intend to pursue absentee landlords and foreign investment interests who fail to maintain their properties. I will use tax inducements and even the possibility of eminent domain (see the Land Bank above) to compel property remediation.

Planning and Economic Development

The city’s current administration has slashed the budget for our departments of building, zoning, planning, and development. This is a disastrously short-sighted decision that needs to be remedied ASAP.

Poughkeepsie needs a unified Planning and Economic Development department. Such a department can work to enforce building and zoning rules while simultaneously working to assist and entice those who want to develop and invest here in Poughkeepsie.

When I am elected, I intend to re-fund and reorganize our development departments. Our city’s budget may be in peril, but there is no way it can improve without new investment and smart development.