Baltimore does this because Baltimore's Maryland Assembly pols passed laws that PRETEND all these groups of taxes can ignore TAX UNIFORMITY LAWS and they cannot. This of course hits the same developer/building corporations that built corporate campuses that now are moving to build multi-family homes ---remember, these are apartment buildings and not individual homeowner/landlords. This promotes the very kind of development with the very kind of development corporation we do not want. Yesterday's example of luxury college housing would qualify for these tax credits.
Now Baltimore pols are telling us we will extend corporate tax breaks from corporate building to residential building complexes. Baltimore City Department of Planning is Johns Hopkins and Hopkins happens to be heavily invested in global construction corporations.
Baltimore Development writes these laws----Maryland Assembly and Baltimore City pols pass them---and this is the ongoing inequity even as these same Baltimore Development Wall Street players run for office shouting----AFFORDABLE HOUSING----AFFORDABLE HOUSING---
Everyone in Baltimore knows the only REAL tax policy around housing is REDUCING property taxes for all homeowners and that is only done with a Mayor of Baltimore that will revisit all these bond deals and Wall Street financial instruments tied to our taxes.
Housing Policy Watch
Working to ensure fair and healthy housing for all Marylanders.
April 21, 2014
City to Offer Tax Credit for Market-Rate Housing
I received this missive today from Thomas Stosur, Director of Baltimore City’s Department of Planning:
RE: CITY COUNCIL BILL #14-0359 / TAX CREDITS – CITYWIDE HIGH-PERFORMANCE MARKET-RATE RENTAL HOUSING
For the purpose of providing a Citywide property tax credit for certain newly constructed or converted high-performance market-rate rental housing projects; imposing certain limitations, conditions, and qualifications; providing for the administration of the credit; defining certain terms; setting a date for termination of the program; and generally relating to property tax credits. (Citywide)
The Department of Planning will present information and a recommendation on the above-mentioned matter for consideration by the Planning Commission at a meeting on May 1, 2014.
Because of your interest, you may wish to attend this Commission meeting which will begin at 2:00 p.m. at 417 East Fayette Street, 8th Floor.
Please note that the security procedures in the Benton Building require that you bring photo-identification with you.
If you require special accommodations to attend or participate in the Planning Commission hearing, please provide information about your requirements at least five business days in advance of this event. The building and hearing room are wheelchair accessible.
If you have any questions, please call Alexandra Hoffman of my staff at 410-396-8484 for further information.
Thomas J. Stosur,
I find it distressing that the City is willing and able to use our tax dollars to fund market-rate housing, especially in light of the fact that Maryland is now the 4th most expensive state for renters, as reported in 247/Wall Street. As detailed here, Baltimore is in dire need of middle-income housing — the median income in Baltimore City is far below that of the rest of the state, and a frightening number of people are spending well over the recommended 25-30% of their monthly net income on housing costs. It is far less expensive (and therefore less of a burden on taxpayers) to prevent people from sliding into poverty and homelessness than it is to help them climb back up the mountain towards financial stability.
Tell your elected officials on the City Council, and tell Thomas Stosur, Director of Planning, that we need middle-income housing — and we need to encourage its development. With 30,000+ vacant structures in Baltimore City, there’s no reason why middle-income working families should be struggling to keep a roof over their heads!
Yes----this is why Baltimore City Hall allowed all those vacants to sit for decades----holding out for real estate boom prices. Breaking laws to do that means-----YOU ARE NOT ENTITLED TO THOSE HOUSING GAINS----
Seems like the community and city needs those gains to recoup having to live around these vacants-----especially those homeowners in these communities having lost market-value from community decline.
THAT'S WHAT I WOULD BE TALKING ABOUT IF I WAS RUNNING FOR CITY HALL ON ISSUE OF HOUSING.
Upper West Side Eyesore Sells for Millions Owner of Once Elegant Brownstone, Beseeched to Fix Up the Place, Paid $5,000 in 1976
ENLARGE The home at 118 W. 76th St. Adrienne Grunwald for The Wall Street Journal By Josh Barbanel Sept. 5, 2014 12:25 p.m. ET 3 COMMENTS For decades along West 76th Street, neighbors watched with mounting alarm as a vacated brownstone, traces of its 19th-century glory still etched into in its facade, fell into deeper and deeper disrepair.
The front stoop's brownstone banisters crumbled, floors collapsed and stonework cracked
Now the Upper West Side property has been sold by $6.6 million to a developer who plans to restore it as a single-family mansion, brokers say.
City records show that the seller, Diane Haslett Rudiano, paid $5,000 for the home in 1976 in a government-supervised estate sale. The sale follows years of complaints by neighbors, preservationists and elected officials.
Ms. Rudiano said she didn't sell the house for many years because she had an emotional attachment to it. She said her late husband, Jean, had "a lot of plans of trying to do something with the house" and dreamed of living there and renting out part of the space.
"It is a very emotional thing for me," said Ms. Rudiano, the chief clerk of the Board of Elections in Brooklyn. "Life doesn't always turn out the way you wish. I am satisfied that the buyer is going to do a very fine job of renovation."
Mike Sieger, a broker at Fenwick Keats Real Estate who handled the sale, said Ms. Rudiano sold the property in a private transaction without listing it after he approached her with a recent offer.
He said he had been trying to reach out to Ms. Rudiano year after year ever since he became a broker 20 years ago.
"Everybody has been trying to get this lady to sell because the building is falling apart," he said. "I was successful in getting her to say yes."
The four-story house at 118 West 76th St. is at an end of a row of five Renaissance Revival row houses built in 1890 between Columbus and Amsterdam Avenues. The homes are now part of the Upper West Side / Central Park West Historic District.
A rear view of the structure Rachel Levy/Landmark West!
The house has a large bay window on the second floor and a curved window and entry way on the ground floor. A sculpted head looks out over a doorway under the front stoop.
By the early 1940s, the house was converted to a rooming house. City records show it was vacant by February 1978.
The the building had tens of thousands of dollars of unpaid violations, including two for failure to maintain a building in a landmark district, one for failure to properly seal the building, and another for an unsafe building. Over the years, neighbors complained about graffiti, garbage, and rats. The house is adjacent to a synagogue and a preschool.
Judith Samuels, a teacher who has lived in a brownstone next door since 1984, said the rodent problem was once so bad that she put up a "rat crossing" sign.
She said she had to spend $3,000 to repair a wall damaged by water seeping into her third floor apartment from snow accumulated in the vacant building through an open skylight. She said she was excited by prospect of seeing the building restored. "It is such a beautiful building," she said.
Judith Bronfman, who has lived across the street since the 1960s, said neighbors had long been pressing Ms. Rudiano to either fix up or sell the building. "It simply deteriorated ever since, it has become an eyesore," she said.
Gale Brewer, the Manhattan Borough President who previously represented the neighborhood in the council, was among those who complained. In the end, but Ms. Rudiano, it was Ms. Brewer who persuaded her to sell.
After speaking with Ms. Brewer, she said she decided that "it would be a better thing for my husband's memory to give it to somebody who could enjoy it," she said.
The buyer of the property was an investment group, Holliswood 76 LLC, headed by Dana Lowey Luttway, a developer and daughter of U.S. Rep. Nita Lowey (D, N.Y.).
Ms. Luttway said that while the home's exterior "was a disaster," its shell was structurally sound. "We have plans drawn up and are ready to go," she said. "We want to make it a gorgeous new addition to the neighborhood.
PUGH, STOKES, THE MARYLAND ASSEMBLY AND CITY HALL USED THE SCHOOL BUILDING BOND NOT ONLY TO GAME THE STOCK MARKET WITH BOND DERIVATIVE FRAUD----BUT AS THE EXCUSE TO CLEAR COMMUNITIES BEING MADE GLOBAL CORPORATE CAMPUSES---INCLUDING FREDDIE GRAY'S COMMUNITY----AND ENDORSING AN ESTABLISHMENT CANDIDATE MEANS YOU SUPPORT THIS ATTACK ON OUR COMMUNITIES.
Raise your hand if you understand Baltimore's vacant to value program was never meant to solve this problem. We all know those houses could have been part of a huge rehabbing community development strategy -----we know enforcing property laws would have brought absentee homeowners to sell or fix and occupy.
As this lady says---just let people have them and fix them up over time. Baltimore does not do this because they are holding large real estate parcels to sell on the cheap to Wall Street real estate investment/development firms----TELESIS is one garnering much real estate in Old Goucher for example---right in what they plan to be the most wealthy city center.
Reinvestment to Wall Street Baltimore Development means finding a big investment corporation for residential city center----and hold that vacant and decaying real estate for global corporate campuses. We all know any profit made from selling these market-value needs to come to our communities---and not sold on the cheap to Wall Street.
ALL OF THESE CITIES SEEING THIS DECLINE ARE SLATED TO HAVE GLOBAL REAL ESTATE FIRMS TAKING THE BULK OF LAND----THIS IS A MASSIVE AMOUNT OF PROPERTY OWNERSHIP LOST TO CITIZENS.
Here we see the Master Plan of global corporate campus over needs of community going so far as to close public schools under the guise of UNHEALTHY neighborhood status. What Baltimore Development and Johns Hopkins was saying is----we are handing this huge parcel of real estate to Wall Street investment firms. This article shows how easy it becomes for an UNHEALTHY neighborhood with low population density to become HEALTHY----with a re-opening of a public school in each community---
AND YES-----BALTIMORE CITY HAS PLENTY OF REVENUE TO DO THIS!
Neighborhoodsby Fern Shen10:39 amApr 7, 201641
More than 11,000 vacants are within walking distance of Baltimore schoolsAnalysis
– including one school surrounded by 722 vacants – comes as collapsing rowhouses spur concern about the dangers of blight and need for demolition
Above: Data showed 722 vacants within a quarter-mile radius of one West Baltimore school. (Fern Shen)
With at least five vacant buildings collapsing in West Baltimore since March 28, including one that fell on and killed a man, city officials acted quickly to allay concerns that one of the dangerously slumped buildings was across from an elementary school.
The next day they razed 1625 North Payson Street, which is just opposite Matthew A. Henson Elementary School.
But their quick reaction and assurances that they are doing their best to protect citizens from the impact of nearly 17,000 vacants obscures the scope of the problem, especially when it comes to children.
About 68% of Baltimore’s vacant buildings are within a quarter of a mile of a public school, according to an analysis of publicly available data by civic blogger Justin Elszasz.
That works out to about 11,537 vacant buildings that children could potentially be walking past every day, says Elszasz, a mechanical engineer who crunches data about social and environmental issues in his spare time.
What does that mean for individual schools?
Elszasz’ analysis found 358 vacants within a quarter-mile radius of Matthew Henson Elementary at 1600 North Payson Street.
But that West Baltimore school’s grim numbers are topped by another’s: “The school with the most vacant buildings within a quarter of a mile is the Roots & Branches School with a whopping 722 vacant buildings surrounding it,” Elszasz said in his blog, The Training Set.
“Unfortunately it shouldn’t come as a surprise that it’s in West Baltimore, just a few blocks south of where Freddie Gray lived,” he adds in a post he titled “Bmore Schools Surrounded by Blight and Danger.”
“Context is everything and the story these data tells us about what it’s like to be a school-aged kid in Baltimore is harrowing.”
Hazardous Vacants “an Emergency” Over the last year, politicians in City Hall and the Statehouse have been debating what to do about Baltimore’s desperately poor neighborhoods and focusing on one of the most glaring symbols of them – boarded-up, dilapidated rowhouses.
The city now spends $10 million a year on demolition, and the legislature this session approved millions more for additional Baltimore blight-clearing.
MAP of all of Baltimore’s vacants
How many vacant buildings are there?
Elszasz used the city’s official count of 16,897 vacant structures, last updated on March 21, but some groups say that official tally vastly undercounts the total.
With the recent blow-downs and fatality, calls for the city to speed up demolition plans have increased, with City Council members and candidates demanding the swift razing of the 500 buildings deemed most unstable.
Trying to articulate alternatives to demolition, Elszasz suggested offering some close-by lots or buildings to schools.
Once they were cleaned up and certified safe, he said, they could be used for greenhouses, gardens, art and sculpture classes or other activities.
He recognized that his idea would “hardly put a dent in the problem, but at least we’d be doing something with a few.”
Overall, he wrote in his his piece, which was posted months before the recent incidents, the situation dire. He cited studies that found abandoned buildings are not only safety hazards but “magnets for serious crime, including gang activity, drugs, murder, assault and rape.”
“The obvious concern is the exposure of children to serious hazards in and around these lots and buildings,” he said. “Based on the numbers this is nothing short of an emergency of the highest order.”
Campaign Signs and “RIP Tyree” Yesterday that danger was apparent outside Roots & Branches at 1807 Harlem Avenue.
Directly across the street from the school stands a block of occupied and boarded-up buildings, including one on the corner of Kirby Lane with blown-out windows and a sagging porch roof projecting out over the sidewalk.
In full view of the grassy area in the front of the school is the bedraggled backside of another vacant, with jagged broken window glass and vines overtaking the side of it.
Around the corner on Fulton Avenue, and throughout the neighborhood, more abandoned houses. Their fronts were like an urban trauma-themed art show, considering the signs and fliers tacked to doors and plywood window-coverings.
“We buy houses – cash fast!” were on several. “RIP Tyree” was spray-painted on one.
Neon green “LEAD PAINT WARNING: NO OCCUPANCY” notices from the Baltimore City Health Department were plentiful.
So were faded-orange signs for the city’s Vacants to Value program. And on several unoccupied structures, bright red campaign signs for mayoral candidate Nick Mosby.
Sitting on marble steps of a house across from the school, a man who gave his name as Keith said the squalid places were clearly dangerous to children and the entire neighborhood.
“People get up in there messing around and smoking. They could set one of these things on fire,” Keith said. “How long is it going to take them to do something?”
What should be done?
“Just take ’em down, I guess,” he said. “But you know, I wish they didn’t get this way in the first place. Why did they?”
I spoke about this in detail a few weeks ago but it is critical in the creation of a building strategy for each community with mixed-income housing. Sadly, as with all social Democratic policy this LAND TRUST issue is being turned into a wealth real estate management tool-----in Baltimore the goal with Land Trusts will be to hold real estate under the guise of affordable housing-----to later hand it to wealthy developer/global corporation as that global corporate campus is ready to be built.
THAT IS NOT HOW LAND TRUST WAS USED DURING SOCIAL DEMOCRATIC 20TH CENTURY!
It is critical that as we downsize communities and open green spaces that they remain PUBLIC and it is critical that this policy of land trust only be used to inject some multi-family housing into a mixed-income community. When we have such a power hold by corporations in this city----targeted use of land trusts with more public real estate space assures real estate stays with citizens and with later community development.
THE UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND AND GLOBAL GREEN CORPORATION PARTY ARE PROMOTING THE GLOBAL CORPORATE CAMPUS LAND TRUST.
Baltimore Development simply wants to use Land Trust to hold real estate in a tax-/personal shelter fashion.
Seven reasons to use land trusts for titling property to real estate.
You wouldn’t walk around with a financial statement taped to your back, would you? Then why are you holding title to your real estate in your own name? Whether it’s your personal residence or your rental properties, you are a “sitting duck” for disgruntled tenants, ex-employees, ex-spouses, the IRS and their attorneys. Real estate is very public, and ownership is public record for anyone to view online.
Land trusts are a very powerful tool for the savvy real estate investor. A land trust is a revocable, living trust used specifically for holding title to real estate. Each property is titled in a separate trust, affording maximum privacy and protection.
Here are seven reasons to use land trusts for titling property to real estate.
1. Privacy. In today’s information age, anyone with an internet connection can look up your ownership of real estate. Privacy is extremely important to most people who don’t want others knowing what they own. For example, if you own several properties within a city that has strict code enforcement, you could end up being hauled into court for too many violations, even minor ones. Having your real estate titled in land trusts makes it difficult for city code enforcement to find who the owner is, since the trust agreement is not public record for everyone to see.
2. Protection from liens. Real estate titled in a trust name is not subject to liens against the beneficiary of the trust. For example, if you are dealing with a seller in foreclosure, a judgment holder or the IRS can file a claim against the property in the name of the seller. If the property is titled into trust, the personal judgments or liens of the seller will not attach to the property.
3. Protection from title claims. If you sign a warranty deed in your own name, you are subject to potential title claims against you if there is a problem with title to the property. For example, a lien filed without your knowledge could result in liability against you, even if you purchased title insurance. A land trust in your place as seller will protect you personally against many types of title claims because the claim will be limited to the trust. If the trust already sold the property, it has no assets and thus limits your exposure to title claims.
4. Discouraging Litigation. Let’s face it, people tend to only sue others who appear to have money. Attorneys who work on contingency are only likely to take cases which they can not only win, but collect, since their fee is based on collection. If your properties are hard to find, you will appear “broke” and less worth suing. Even if a potential plaintiff thinks you have assets, the difficult prospect of finding and attaching these assets will discourage litigation against you.
5. Protection from HOA Claims. When you take title to a property in a homeowner’s association (HOA), you become personally liable for all dues and assessments. This means if you buy a condo in your own name and the association asseses an amount due, they can place a lien on the property and/or sue you PERSONALLY for the obligation! Don’t take title in your name in an HOA, but instead take title in a land trust so that the trust itself (and thus the property) will be the sole recourse for the homeowner’s association’s debts.
6. Making contracts assignable. The ownership of a land trust (called the “beneficial interest”) is assignable, similar to the way stock in a corporation is assignable. Once property is title in trust, the beneficiary of the trust can be changed without changing title to the property. This can be very advantageous in the case of a real estate contract that is non-assignable, such as in the case of a bank-owned or HUD property. Instead of making your offer in your own name, make the offer in the name of a land trust, then assign your itnerest in the land trust to a third party.
7. Making Loans “Assumable”. A non-assumable loan can become effectively assumed by using a land trust. The seller transfers title into a land trust, with himself as beneficiary. This transfer does not trigger the due-on-sale clause of the mortgage. After the fact, he transfers his beneficial interest to you. This latter transaction does trigger the due-on-sale, but such transfer does not come to the attention of the lender because it is not recorded anywhere in public records. This effectively makes a non-assumable loan “assumable”. As you can see there are many creative and effective uses for the land trust, limited only by your imagination!