Land Bank Projects

Overview
One of the main functions of the Grand Traverse County Land Bank (GTCLBA) is to work closely with the County Treasurer's Office to serve as a tool to address abandoned properties that have been foreclosed upon per Public Act 123 of 1999 for non-payment of property taxes. At the end of tax foreclosure process, the GTCLBA assists by notifying the city, township, or village the property is in to determine if there is a desired public use of the property. If so, the property may be transferred to the governmental unit. If there is no interest from local governmental units, the GTCLBA notifies area housing nonprofits soliciting interest in the property for development of affordable housing. If so, the GTCLBA may work with the nonprofit to transfer them the property to support the proposed project.

In the event that governmental units and nonprofits are not interested in the property, the GTCLBA may work with the Treasurer to have the property transferred to the GTCLBA if it is determined that it is in the best interest of the community to do so. Otherwise, the Treasurer may offer the property through an auction service. The GTCLBA is also enabled to purchase property from other parties as well. The reasons for GTCLBA taking title to a property vary from addressing environmental contamination, clearing a cloudy title, eliminating neighborhood blight, promoting affordable housing or redevelopment, to advancing economic opportunities. Two projects summarized below help illustrate this.
Green Lake & Blair Brownfield Plan
In 2010, the GTCLBA took title to a total of 6 properties in Green Lake and Blair Townships through the tax foreclosure process briefly outlined above. Per Public Act 259 any property acquired by a Land Bank Authority is eligible to be defined as a "blighted property," enabling the use of brownfield tools through Michigan law - primarily tax increment finance capture. Utilizing this tool the GTCLBA created a Brownfield Plan and Work Plan, which were approved by the GTC Brownfield Redevelopment Authority and the State of Michigan's Economic Growth Authority (MEGA). The approved plans allowed the GTCLBA to conduct lead paint and asbestos abatement, demolition, quiet title actions, and site preparation activities and be reimbursed for those costs through increased future tax revenues made possible by GTCLBA involvement on those properties. These actions helped reduce neighborhood blight and barriers to private investment in these properties.
Abandoned property in a Blair Township neighborhood that was unsecured, vandalized, and had extensive water damage. The LBA took title to this property, conducted lead and asbestos surveys, had asbestos containing materials abated, and demolished the property.
Boardman Lake Avenue Brownfield Plan
Watch our video on the Land Bank's participation in developing Boardman Lake Trail. The Bright Side also provides a video about land banks in Michigan.

The City of Traverse City has been contemplating the development of a new roadway on the west side of Boardman Lake since the 1970s. The conceptual roadway would provide an important connection between 8th and 14th Streets, thereby reducing traffic on primarily residential Cass and Union Streets. It also provides for opportunities to embrace Boardman Lake as an asset.
Crews removing 2,210 tons of contaminated soil from the bottom of the lake
Historically, dating back over a 160 years Boardman Lake's shore was utilized for industrial purposes ranging from lumber production, dish and furniture manufacturing, food processing, to tool and die manufacturing. The planned new roadway will foster redevelopment and associated environmental cleanup of legacy industrial uses. In addition, a planned pedestrian and bicycle path on the west side of the lake will enable the completion of the trail around the entire 339 acre lake as well as enable connections to important area destinations through Traverse Area Recreational Trails's regional trail network.

The LBA is serving as an important partner in this project through the creation of a Brownfield Plan and Work Plan that allow for the GTCLBA to acquire properties or rights of way for the construction of the roadway and trail, which will ultimately be transferred to the City of Traverse City and TART for construction and maintenance. The plans also enable Tax Increment Financing to be used to reimburse parties involved for costs involved with the project.
Properties for Sale
From time to time, the Grand Traverse County Land Bank has parcels for sale. If you are interested in purchasing any of these properties, contact the Planning & Development Department at (231) 922-4573.