Nebraska’s largest city is taking steps to rid neighborhoods of vacant, abandoned and run-down houses.
The Omaha City Council approved the creation of a Municipal Land Bank that can either purchase or accept donations of those properties, clean them up, and resell them. One of the goals is to rid neighborhoods of these eyesores.
John Chatelain, president of the Metropolitan Omaha Property Owners Association, says this could open the door to a lot of creativity. He says the land bank will have what is known as automatically accepted bidding and that crowds out other offers on the property. He says they could get very creative and purchase apartment buildings, malls and other business complexes and since it is city owned they don’t have to pay property tax.
Chatelain says, “The statute specifically says they don’t have eminent domain but this automatically accepted bid approaches that.”