Flynn Wants Land Bank Properties Cleaned Up

Jul 20, 2017

Update 7/20/17 at 6:15 pm: Council Member Kevin Flynn emailed and said a crew, with four workers, was cleaning up the property on Colerain Avenue across from Mt. Airy Forest.

Original story: A Cincinnati council member is suggesting withholding city funds for the Port Authority of Greater Cincinnati and Hamilton County until it cleans up vacant properties it manages for the Hamilton County Land Bank. 

Kevin Flynn says some of the properties are blighted with tall weeds and grass.

"The properties surrounding your property affect that value in a very real and tangible way," Flynn said. "So, when you have blighted property on your street, it devalues the whole street. And when you devalue a whole street, you in essence are devaluing a whole neighborhood."

Flynn estimates the land bank owns about 750 parcels in the city, and he is working to determine how many others are blighted. He's bothered by one property located in Mt. Airy on Colerain Avenue.
 
"I thought how shocking is this that this property is owned by an entity whose purpose is to eliminate blight in our community," Flynn says. "To get property out of bad property owners hands that are causing this blight in our community."

Flynn is sharing a list of land bank parcels with neighborhood community councils so they can check the status of properties.

Port Authority Vice President of Communications Gail Paul says at least one property near Mt. Airy is an honest mistake.

"There's a clerical error unfortunately and when we were transferring some properties over to one of our contractors that takes care of the landscaping and mowing and general maintenance, it unfortunately was left off," Paul says.

Flynn doesn't buy the clerical error. He says the Colerain property has been a problem for a couple of years.  

Paul also says the Port recently hired a full-time facilities manager to look after land bank properties.

"I'm sure there are others out there. We are doing a holistic assessment right now of our entire inventory," Paul says. "These are going to become smaller and smaller."

That assessment includes creating a photo inventory of the properties.

Paul says residents with complaints about land bank parcels can call the Port at 513-621-3000.

A web post indicates the Hamilton County Land Reutilization Corporation was formed in 2011. Its board of directors includes all three Hamilton County commissioners, the county treasurer, representatives from two townships and two municipalities, and a member of the real estate community. In 2012, the Port was contracted to serve as the management company for the land bank.