Ever since the Bush administration’s national economic and housing crisis, foreclosed and abandoned properties have been afflicting thousands of communities across the U.S.
Recently, the town of Dewitt, New York took the first steps in combating this problem through and combination of eminent domain, land banking, and restoration. DeWitt is a township in Onondaga County, New York, with a population of about 26,000. It’s an eastern suburb of Syracuse.
“It’s a common theme almost everywhere. It’s been a long time coming and people want to see these [zombie] properties improved,” said Town Supervisor Ed Michalenko.
Zombie properties are buildings that have been abandoned by the owner — typically after a foreclosure notice — and are left in the hands of banks until the foreclosure process is complete, which can take years. Often, these properties go into a state of disrepair and cause an eyesore and decreased property values in neighborhoods.
The town will combat this blight by acquiring the properties, and turning them over to the Greater Syracuse Lank Bank, which will restore them.
Michalenko said he doesn’t expect there to be a cost to taxpayers because the town intends to sell the restored properties to cover the costs from acquiring the property.
Photo of zombie property in Dewitt via Google Maps.