The board for the Montgomery County Land Bank has accepted a request that would allow the land bank to accept four parcels of land in Trotwood that will eventually be turned over to the city for redevelopment.
William S. Weprin, president of Trotwood Commercial Properties, Inc. owns the vacant parcels that total over 35 acres and are located on East Main Street. Some of this land adjoins Trotwood’s government center.
These parcels have a tax delinquency of $72,095, according to Mike Grauwelman, executive director of the Montgomery County Land Reutilization Corporation.
Weprin stated in a letter dated Oct. 10, 2012 to Montgomery County Treasurer Carolyn Rice, that he wanted to donate the tax-delinquent parcels to the MCLRC with the understanding that the land would be turned over to the city of Trotwood after the delinquent real estate taxes were cleared.
The MCLRC board voted to accept the request during the board’s Tuesday meeting.
“The land bank has certain authorities under state law that are unique to it. One of them is the ability in conjunction with the county auditor to extinguish real estate taxes, back taxes on property,” Grauwelman said. “The reason we’re doing this is to get the property in a position where it can be reused.”
When Weprin submitted his letter to Rice, the MCLRC board had approved a motion to initiate the tax foreclosure process, butit was not completed. This prompted Trotwood City Manager Michael Lucking to submit a letter dated Oct. 24, 2013 to Doug Trout, a director in the county auditor’s office. The letter stated, “To date, the public record reflects that the real estate tax liability has never been cleared despite action taken by the Land Bank. Nor have the parcels been conveyed to the city.”
The Dayton Daily News contacted Lucking and Carl Daugherty, Trotwood’s Planning and Zoning administrator, but they did not immediately respond.
The board also tabled a similar request regarding a vacant commercial structure at 8500 North Main Street in Clayton.
The property is in mortgage foreclosure and has a tax delinquency amount of $161,814, according to Grauwelman.
“The last time the full amount of property taxes were paid on this property was in 2006,” said Clayton City Manager Richard Rose.
In a letter dated May 6 to Grauwelman, Rose stated that the city was interested in having this property, which is “one of the the portions of a city project to attract new businesses to Main Street. Infrastructure improvements to Main Street are planned for the area.”
There is a county court case that resulted in this tax delinquent property being taken from the receiver George Fels to the land bank, according to Grauwelman. Common pleas court records indicate that Lehman Brothers Bank, FSB in California granted Fels permission to sell the North Main Street property by transferring it to the MCLRC, free and clear of liens except real estate taxes.
“In the case of Clayton, the courts have found that the debt on the property is encumbering its ability to be reused. Nobody wants it because there is so much real estate tax hanging off of it,” Grauwelman said.
The transfer of the property to the land bank is on hold until some issues with the property’s tax increment finance district can be worked out. Those issues were discussed during the Tuesday board meeting.
“There was a question on the Clayton item in terms of a tax increment finance district, which is an economic development tool that overlays this property, and how the real estate taxes would be treated because of that,” Grauwelman said.
He added that traditionally, properties that have this type of designation have tax money that is diverted away from their normal recipients like a school district or human services levy, for example, and put into an area of redevelopment.
“So it might help to build a new road, put new lighting on a road, to help that area economically,” Grauwelman said.
“The city of Clayton apparently had made a commitment to the school district to make them whole or somehow provide them with some portion of the funds,” Grauwelman said. “We’re not familiar with that secondary agreement to the tax increment district. So, we want to make sure what’s going to happen on the other side of this transfer.”
County auditor records show that California resident Noam Kashanian of NK Real Estate Investments, LLC, owns the property, which Rose said is in need of repairs.
Rose also noted that the city has maintained the grass for the last year.
“Our interest would be to take possession of the property and provide incentives for new retail development. However, there are numerous factors still being reviewed as to the availability of the property being transferred to the land bank,” Rose said.