GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., June 15 (UPI) -- A plan to sell 163 tax-foreclosed properties to a land bank in one deal in Grand Rapids, Mich., offers a solution to potential blight, a city official said.
Deputy City Manager Eric DeLong said the city's best option for dealing with properties seized for failure to pay taxes was to sell them to the Kent County Land Bank Authority for $1.2 million with the stipulation that the properties be sold back into private hands within 18 months.
Mlive.com reported Saturday that the the land bank's Executive Director David Allen commented the organization was "prepared to handle a large volume" of properties, but he would not comment on the specific deal city commissioners are considering.
But one resident is angry that the city is considering bypassing the private auction option.
"It's irresponsible. It's sad that land bank officials are not going to allow private development," said Audrey Spalding of the Mackinac Center, a research center focused on state issues.
The proposal calls for the sale to the land bank "or the purpose of restoring blighted properties and neighborhoods."
But Spalding said the deal would cut private investors out of any opportunity to bid on the properties.
"This would effectively bypass the tax auction process," she said.