Below are presentations from the 2018 Ohio Land Bank Conference.


Alternative Acquisition Strategies:  Beyond Board of Revision

Board of Revision tax foreclosure on vacant property is the primary way that land banks in Ohio acquire distressed property and redirect it to a beneficial outcome.  But there are cases where it’s strategically desirable to be proactive and acquire a property that is not yet certified delinquent.  Or, the property may be delinquent but there is a need to move more quickly to prevent deterioration, or to facilitate strategic land assembly for a large development project.  This session will explore alternative approaches, such as using Ohio’s vacant property receivership statute, and acquiring distressed liens or properties directly from financial institutions.   The session will include a discussion of the National Community Stabilization Trust, a program that facilitates transfers of foreclosed property from banks to community development organizations.

Speakers: Shawn Carvin, Frank Ford, David Mann, Dawn Stockmo


Beyond Blades of Grass: A Comprehensive Approach to Greening

Greening is about more than landscaping on vacant lots, and PechaKucha presentations are more than a simple PowerPoint presentation. Drawing upon examples from multiple Ohio communities, panelists will explore the components of a comprehensive approach to greening from the regional perspective down to a single residential yard. All of this information is conveyed through a rapid fire presentation style that consists of 20 slides that are shown for 20 seconds each. They will discuss the role that land banks play in transferring control to local groups and individuals, digging into specific projects and personal theories about what constitutes vacant land and who has the right to own and implement projects on this resource. The five presenters will highlight projects ranging from side lot expansions, community spaces, tree plantings, stormwater infrastructure, and even farmland preservation.

Speakers: Debora Flora, Isaac Robb, Lilah Zautner, Matt Martin, Jacqueline Gillon


The Challenge of Our Divided Cities

Speaker: Allen Mallach


Comprehensive Neighborhood Revitalization in Franklin County

Since 2012, the City of Columbus and the Franklin County land bank authority (COCIC) have worked together, and with community partners, to address the various components of neighborhood decline. Through the Moving Ohio Forward, the Neighborhood Initiative Program, and their DTAC funding, this land banking partnership has plugged into comprehensive neighborhood revitalization efforts. This panel will discuss how COCIC and the City of Columbus have developed innovative programs that address all aspects of neighborhood revitalization and how they have formed partnerships with place-based partners.

Speakers: John Collier, Eric Skidmore, John Turner, Curtiss Williams


Expediting Foreclosures Using the Board of Revision

HB 294 became law in 2005.  This new tax foreclosure procedure became a useful tax foreclosure tool.  Its architect Gus Frangos will discuss the basic features of HB 294 reforms; what makes it “expedited” and a unique tax foreclosure reform. Attorney Frangos will also share some amendments he will be proposing to the Ohio General Assembly. One of the counties most successfully using HB 294 is Lucas County under the leadership of Lucas County Tax Foreclosure Supervising Assistant Prosecutor Suzanne Mandros. Ms. Mandros will address practice issues, evidentiary presumptions and the efficient use of BOR tax foreclosure. She will share how her office interfaces with the Lucas County Land Bank. Only a few cases have been reported by the Courts relating to BOR tax foreclosure. Ms. Mandros will discuss relevant tax foreclosure cases generally.

Speakers: Gus Frangos, Suzanne Mandros


Field Servicing of Land Bank Properties

Providing field service/vacant property maintenance is a critical part of managing land bank properties.  The Cuyahoga Land Bank over the past year has maintained over 4,000 properties in its inventory. Each of these properties is properly managed at all times. In this workshop, participants will learn how to identify qualified field service companies, how to manage those companies and some strategies necessary to perform quality control.  Participates will also learn how to effectively manage the removal  of debris from various properties as those structures are prepared for renovation or demolition;  this forum  will also include a brief discussion about how tires are systematically collected from land bank properties and then transported to proper disposal locations.  Finally, participants will learn  the role of technology relative to uploading photographs,  contractor communications, billing, invoicing  and a host of other important property maintenance related features.

Speaker: Dennis Roberts


Get ALL the Work Done: Comprehensive Neighborhood Revitalization Strategies

The Youngstown Neighborhood Development Corporation collaborates with the Mahoning County Land Bank and many other partners to comprehensively address neighborhood conditions in Youngstown. YNDC will present several of the neighborhood revitalization strategies utilized by the partners and discuss how deploying multiple strategies in tandem as part of a comprehensive neighborhood action plan impacts market conditions and overall neighborhood health, as well as provide a case study from their recent work in one action area.

Speakers: Ian Beniston, Tiffany Sokol


Historic Restoration and Stabilization

Best Practices

Restoration and Stabilization

Recognizing Historic Structures

Add mothballing of historic properties to your toolkit!  The unique buildings of your community can be safeguarded now to support future plans for authentic place-making and community building.  This session will help you recognize historic structures and share best-practices to safely stabilize them.  Session presenters include members of the Cleveland Restoration Society, a leading non-profit historic preservation organization, and Coon Restoration and Sealants, a private company supporting their work.  Representatives from Hamilton County Land Bank will illustrate its work in mothballing historic structures in the West End neighborhood, a successful effort that is attracting private investment.

Speakers: Kathleen Crowther, Megan Meyer, Brian Potasiewicz


Housing Rehab for Smaller Land Banks

Not every house that comes to a land bank needs to be demolished. Yet getting houses renovated and back on the market can be a large undertaking for smaller land banks with limited resources. This session will explain how the Mahoning County Land Bank in Youngstown determines which houses are saved instead of razed. We also will discuss some key elements to ensure investment that will stabilize properties long term before transfer to new owners. Representatives of smaller, new and emerging land banks are encouraged to attend and ask plenty of questions.

Speakers: Tom Hale, Roger Smith


How Data Integration & Cloud-based Software Can Improve Decision Making

Many suburbs must rekindle market appeal to build confidence in their future. This project used a property survey and market research to measure assets and conditions of five of Cleveland’s first-ring suburbs within the context of the region's larger economic and social trends. It also used data integration and predictive modeling delivered in a cloud-based SaaS platform to quantify the impact of property interventions on property value and tax base. Most homes were built about 60 years ago—not old enough to seem “historic’ to many buyers but aged to where remodeling is often necessary. Further, most houses are well built and maintained, but don’t always align with preferences of contemporary home buyers. The session outlines data collection/integration and research methods along with discussion, demonstration, and Q&A of use in the cloud-based SaaS platform.

Speaker: Frank Ford, Nigel Griswold, Sally Martin, Isaac Robb


Land Bank 101

County Land Banks 101 is designed to introduce new, newer, and future land banks to issues related to governance, property acquisition, property disposition, revenue and budgeting, human resources, Neighborhood Initiative Program compliance, and community engagement for county land reutilization corporations from the perspective of the Lucas County Land Bank, based in Toledo, Ohio and Ohio's second oldest operating land reutilization corporation.  The session will be focused on support for new and emerging land banks in Ohio, but will be beneficial for Ohio land banks at any stage of development.  Robust Q&A will be encouraged during and after speaker presentations. Additional slides can be found here through 11/30/2019.

Speakers: David Mann, Josh Murnen


Land Banks and Brownfields

Land Banks are often asked to participate in non-residential revitalization projects. Whether it’s an old gas station or the neighborhood dry cleaner, Land Banks can play an important role and even undertake these projects with help from state and federal resources. In this session, speakers will discuss the brownfield revitalization process, available funding sources and examples of Land Banks’ participation in revitalization.

Speakers:  Katie Courtright, April Stevens


Land Banks and Code Enforcement

Housing and Building Code Enforcement has traditionally been a community’s first line of defense against housing deterioration and devaluation.  In many communities, the fallout from the foreclosure crisis led to abandonment and blight that was beyond what anyone could have imagined 20 years ago, and beyond the resources of communities to deal with it.  Land Banks have given communities a powerful new tool, and resources, to combat blight that undermines homeowner equity and housing market stabilization.  But land banks can’t address every troubled property.  This session will explore the opportunities for land banks to collaborate with their local housing code enforcement partners, and will highlight some of the best examples of how communities around the state are creatively employing their code enforcement systems to restore housing markets.

Speakers: Shawn Carvin, Debora Flora, Frank Ford, Josh Harmon, Jessica Powell


Land Banks Working with Land Conservancies

Western Reserve Land Conservancy is the largest land trust in Ohio and noted as one of the top in the country given its work to provide the people across diverse landscapes with essential natural assets through land conservation and restoration. In addition to the critical work of its Thriving Communities program, Western Reserve Land Conservancy permanently conserves vibrant natural areas as well as working farms and forests. To date, the Land Conservancy has worked with public and private landowners to permanently protect 715 properties totaling more than 53,000 acres. Drawing upon years of experience in land acquisition, conservation, and restoration, as well as complex real estate transactions, this plenary session will provide insight on ways land conservation organizations and land banks can work together to help communities thrive.

Speakers: Andy McDowell, Brett Rodstrom


Legislation & Legal Issues for Land Banks

County Land Bank Bells and Whistles Subsequent Amendments and Upcoming Proposed Amendments

S.B. 353 Ancillary Bells and Whistles

Since the passage of HB 294 tax foreclosure reforms and SB 353 establishing Land Banks, changes, clean-ups and enhancements have occurred several times since 2009, such as with SB 172 in 2014. Many of these changes provide greater tools that promote land bank operations. Some Land Banks and practitioners are still unaware of these additional tools or need explanation as to their applicability. Also, many of the Land Bank statutes are complex and can be interpreted differently by prosecutors, treasurers, Land Banks and auditors. This session will discuss and explain some of the bells and whistles that have been added to the tax foreclosure and land bank statutes, discuss some interpretation questions that have arisen since last year’s conference, and allow for discussion of any interpretive issues amongst the various county offices and county land banks. Lastly, there will be a presentation and discussion of the next round of legislative changes that will be submitted this year with an opportunity to suggest practice changes that should be included.

Speakers:  Gus Frangos, Suzanne Mandros


Leveraging the Tools of the Land Bank to Support Affordable Rehabs & Homesteading

This panel will cover 2 CDC's unique approaches to affordable homesteading. Stephanie Moes is an attorney at Cincinnati Legal Aid who represents Price Hill Will (PHW), a CDC that runs a homesteading program that provides access to homeownership to families that would otherwise be unable to purchase a home. Deborah Robb is the Greater Cincinnati Redevelopment Authority’s director of the Homesteading and Urban Redevelopment Corporation (HURC), which is focused on community housing improvement & in particular, the renovation of homes in low & moderate-income areas.  Both PHW & the HURC work with the Landbank to repurpose vacant homes for affordable reuse.

Speakers: James Downing, Stephanie Moes, Jessica Powell, Deborah Robb


Lobbying 101 and Beyond

Land banks have limited financial capacity but are asked to deal with some of the most serious and costly problems in the county.  Through the Moving Ohio Forward program and the Hardest Hit Fund program, substantial resources have been raised - but those monies are almost all spent. Josh Rubin has worked in government and as a lobbyist at the state and federal level. He played a critical role in helping obtain the Hardest Hit Funds for Ohio County Land banks. He will talk to us about his work, the changed and changing political landscape and how we can work together to obtain more resources from Columbus and Washington.

Speaker: Josh Rubin


Mitigating Danger: Combating Predatory Land Contracts and the Risk of Neighborhood Blight

Land installment contracts have long served as an alternative route to homeownership by allowing buyers to make direct payments to the seller over time until the house is paid in full.  While fair land contracts have existed and do exist in Ohio, many more contracts exist that are predatory and exploit vulnerable families who are liable to lose the home they are attempting to buy.  Land banks around Ohio and beyond believe much of the recent blight occurring in neighborhoods is due to predatory land installment contracts and other legal variations on land contracts.  This panel will explain how a predatory land contract is usually structured; how prevalent land contracts are across the state; what land banks can do to limit the damage done by land contracts in neighborhoods; and what policy changes are needed at the state-level to better regulate them.

Speakers:Ian Beniston, Erica Faaborg, Lisa Nelson, Jason Warner


Neighborhood Redevelopment Projects

East Akron Neighborhood Development

Evanston and Walnut Hills -Hamilton

Thriving Neighborhoods - Montgomery

Urban Infill - Franklin County

As land banks mature they frequently look to larger projects that will have long term impacts on neighborhoods.  This session will describe successful neighborhood development projects in Hamilton, Franklin, Summit and Montgomery counties and provide attendees with ideas to take back to their communities.

Speakers: Will Basil, Mike Grauwelman, Hope Kingsborough, Robert Sander, Cheryl Stephens


Ohio Land Exchange: Collaborative Site Planning for Vacant and Abandoned Land

This session introduces the latest updates and findings of the collaborative site planning framework OH/LEX (Ohio Land Exchange), as developed by faculty at Ohio State University's Knowlton School and OSU Extension. New mapping functions of our integrated mapping tool Prospector" and a rapid soil-testing kit will be presented.

Speakers: Nancy Bowen Ellzey, Phillip Downing, Mattijs van Maasakkers


Partner Organizations Managing County Land Banks - Does It Work?

Land banks are most effective when they have established good working relationships with local governments, agencies and non-profits.  What happens when land banks are managed by these agencies?  This panel discussion will cover the positive and negative (if any) aspects of land banks managed by a regional planning agency, an economic development corporation and a community development agency.

Speakers:  Stacy Adam, Matt Martin, Bob Nau, Jennifer Robeson


Pop-Up Projects for Vacant Lots

Temporary events bring empty buildings and vacant sites to life, while helping people envision future development alternatives. This session will showcase temporary projects for vacant houses and commercial storefronts. It will also include temporary projects for vacant land and underutilized infrastructure, and  and offer guidance about how to design, fund, and implement a pop up project in your community.

Speaker: Terry Schwarz


Sunshine Law for Land Banks

Open Records - Open Meetings

Records Retention Strategies for Everybody

Paper management! Public records requests! Open meeting requirements! --all exhilarating and profound topics for land banking organizations! You have to deal with it, so come get your free “sunshine law” toolbox from us. This presentation will not be boring!

Speakers: Jacqui Knettel, Sarah Norman


Tax Certificate Purchase and Foreclosure

COCIC (the Franklin County Land Bank) has purchased and foreclosed on more than 450 tax lien certificates in coordination with its county treasurer and private legal counsel. Tax lien certificate foreclosure can be a valuable alternative to traditional county prosecutor expedited tax foreclosures. This session will explore how land banks, county treasurers, and private law firms can partner to quickly acquire the worst of the worst properties through tax lien certificate foreclosure.

Presenters:  Glenn Alban, Cris Sturtz, Alyssa Taylor


Universities as a Land Bank Resource

Program Evaluation and Internships - Butler County

Internships - Clark County

Data Repository - Cuyahoga Land Bank

County land banks need to use all available resources to further their mission.  Local colleges and universities can be excellent partners in a multitude of ways.  This session details how several universities have enhanced the work of county land banks.  Participants should come away from this session with ideas on how they can engage their local college or university in reducing blight and revitalizing the community.

Speakers: Ethan Harris, Michael McNamara, Isaac Robb, Michael Schramm


Vacant Lot Stabilization through Ecological Restoration

Speakers: Colby Sattler


Western Reserve Land Conservancy works to transform some of the areas hit hardest by the foreclosure crisis by revitalizing and restoring safe, green, vibrant communities. These efforts include our work to support county land banks. Learn more by visiting our website.