Among the 39 bills that accidental Governor David Patterson vetoed over the weekend was a proposal to establish land banks to help municipalities deal with the increase in vacant structures. As we wrote here before, we had some concerns about how the program would be structured, but no doubts that such an innovative plan was necessary. Land Banks allow localities to drive development, rather than watch their housing stock auctioned off to slumlords and speculators.
Many of the accidental Governor’s vetoes are related to the state’s fiscal crisis. However, the land bank veto is all about bare knuckle politics. The Buffalo mayor wants to control their potential Land Bank and cut the Erie County folks out. The scuttlebutt around Buffalo is that this is also a power play between legislation author NY State Assemblyman Sam Hoyt and Mayor Byron Brown for top dog status.
A city like Buffalo certainly has enough vacant houses to go it alone, but most places do better if the problem is addressed on a regional basis–more inventory, more bang for the buck. So the rest of the state is stuck for another year, waiting for the accidental Governor to write a bill that passes muster with the Mayor of Buffalo.