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Political Subdivision Committee considers Land Reuse Agency Authorization Act

HB 4390 out of committee but right-of-first-refusal removed

WVPA Report

Political Subdivision
Chair Erikka Storch, R-Ohio, oversees discussion with Huntington’s Christal Perry during West Virginia House of Delegates Political Subdivision Committee’s consideration of HB 4390 today.

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Proponents of HB 4390 wanted use of municipal land banks and the right of first refusal, enabling the land bank to buy any properties at tax sales.

W.Va. House of Delegate’s Political Subdivision Committee said “no” to first refusal. On an amendment by Delegate Walter Duke, R-Berkeley, the committee struck the section of the bill – West Virginia Land Reuse Agency Authorization Act – granting the right of first refusal. Duke said the amendment still allowed the bill to permit the use of land banks.

Delegates Michael Fulk, R-Berkeley, and Patrick Lane, R-Kanawha, both questioned why land banks should be given special consideration when buying problem at auction. A situation, they said, that allows property to sell for less than the possible highest auction value.

Christal Perry, Huntington’s administrative assistant for development and planning, said the reality is that city’s will take action to improve the properties and the surrounding communities, which is not always the case when private investors, especially those from outside the community, get the properties.

Asked if the right of first refusal gave the land bank an unfair advantage, Perry said delegates could view it that way, but added she would “not apologize” for trying to improve her city, calling right of first refusal a tool for the cities.

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