NISKAYUNA, N.Y. — The Niskayuna Town Board last week approved a measure to create a vacant building registry and sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Capital Region Land Bank. Both measures are designed to pro-actively deal with the problem of vacant and abandoned properties in the Town of Niskayuna.
“We are excited to be one of the first communities in New York State to take advantage of a new law that allows us to take action on vacant and abandoned properties up to three years faster than before,” said Niskayuna Town Supervisor Jaime Puccioni. “We thank Schenectady County and the Capital Region Land Bank for entering into a strategic partnership with us to tackle zombie properties before they negatively impact our neighborhoods and homeowner property values.”
New York State amended the Real Property Tax Law to allow for abandoned or vacant properties to be foreclosed on after one year of tax delinquency instead of four years. By gaining access to these abandoned homes after one year it is much easier and much less costly to repair them than a house that has sat idle for four years.
Under the terms of the MOU, the Land Bank will provide legal support and technical assistance to assist the Town of Niskayuna’s code enforcement staff to register properties as vacant or abandoned. Training will be provided so that the required notifications are carried out correctly and that a vacant property registry is created.
“Despite the fact that Niskayuna is one of the most sought-after locations for housing in the Capital Region and beyond, the Town, like all municipalities, has to occasionally deal with vacant homes that quickly fall into disrepair and became a drag on neighborhoods and home values,” said Richard Ruzzo, Land Bank Chairman and a member of the Schenectady County Legislature. “This new joint effort will allow the Town and County to deal with this issue much sooner than before and fix problems before they start to impact neighboring properties and homeowners.”
In recent years, the Land Bank and Niskayuna have successfully addressed vacant properties on Mohawk Road, Cornelius Avenue, Rosendale Road, Balltown Road and Van Antwerp Road, resulting in the repair of four homes and the construction of one new home. The new MOU and vacant building registry are designed to expand this effort in the months ahead.
Schenectady County hopes to test the new program in Niskayuna before rolling it out to other towns and villages.
The Capital Region Land Bank is administered by Metroplex as part of Schenectady County’s unified economic development team.