Garden State governor signs New Jersey “land bank” reform bill

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New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy signed into law last week a measure that will allow municipalities to designate a “land bank” to obtain vacant, abandoned and neglected properties for productive purposes, multiple outlets reported. The measure, which became effective on July 11, enables entities such as redevelopment agencies, county improvement authorities and department agencies to secure the land bank designation. The designation also permits municipal entities to purchase liens at a tax sale, carry out lien foreclosures and reposition abandoned properties for sale. Land bank-designated entities are required to form community advisory boards that will be updated and allowed to comment on decisions made by the designated entity. An online, publicly accessible database of current and former land bank properties is also required for all designated entities. The enactment of the measure into law comes four years after the bill was introduced into the legislature. NJ.com reported last year that the Garden State has 391,428 vacant housing units, of which the highest concentration exists in Newark. The passing of the land bank measure comes as the legislature and Murphy, a former Goldman Sachs executive, grapple over the future of the state’s commercial tax credit law. [PIX11]