Liens prove thorny for land bank in Pine Grove Twp.

A property with a federal lien in excess of $10,000 has presented a challenge for the Warren County Land Bank.

The land bank board met Tuesday morning and discussed 106 Cottage Place in Pine Grove Township.

County Chief Clerk Pam Matve cited communication challenges with the owner as indication that they “don’t intend on doing anything.”

She said there are a couple smaller liens but also an IRS lien in the range of $10,000 to $12,000 associated with this property.

The liens left the land bank few options.

Chair Phil Gilbert said the guidance he received from colleagues was to “stay away” from the property. “Conservatorship probably is a better way to go.”

That’s a process where the property goes before the court, who can grant the authority to the Redevelopment Authority or land bank to address the blight without taking ownership.

But Matve noted that the process is expensive and that the land bank would not be likely to be paid first if the property were to sell.

Deputy Planning Director Michael Lyon said that means the property “sits there and rots away for eternity.”

“(There’s) no other option really,” Gilbert said.

Board member Michael Boyd noted that the value of the liens is “far more than the property would be worth.”

There was some question regarding whether the lien follows the property or the owner but discussion centered on the likelihood that the lien is attached to the property.

The land bank ultimately tabled action against this property as well as a property in Sheffield.


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