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April 13, 2022

Legislature advances bill to create Maine Redevelopment Land Bank Authority

File The Maine legislature is advancing a bill to create a statewide land bank.

A bill that would create a statewide land bank for bringing properties into more productive uses has advanced through the state Legislature and has received overwhelming bipartisan support.

In a vote of 117-16 on Monday, the House gave initial approval to LD 1694, which would establish the Maine Redevelopment Land Bank Authority. The Senate passed the bill unanimously on Tuesday. The legislation is sponsored by state Rep. Melanie Sachs, D-Freeport.

The Maine Redevelopment Land Bank Authority would help communities bring abandoned, environmentally compromised or functionally obsolete properties into productive use by using federal and technical resources.

Municipalities would work with the land bank to determine the best use for the distressed property, often resulting in housing development or the creation of parks. The land bank would also provide technical assistance to communities as they explore their options, both in the form of best-practice guidelines developed by a statewide Development Ready Committee and through access to the land bank’s staff to address barriers to the projects.

“LD 1694 presents a solution to a statewide problem — how to help communities deal with compromised and abandoned properties and address issues such as our housing crisis. These properties, due to title, tax or lien complications, environmental issues, functional obsolescence or other factors, are prohibitive to private investment or municipal redevelopment,” Sachs said.

“Land banks are proven models to redevelop properties that cannot be resolved by other means. LD 1694 also provides needed technical support to municipalities to determine what path works best for them."

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