We Passed Bill 11-12 (Land Disposition)

The council recently passed Bill 11-12, which is important legislation that affects how public property is sold and leased by the county. I co-sponsored this bill and was one of six Council Members who voted to pass it.

Under the procedures outlined by this new law, the County Executive must declare a property to be “surplus,” or no longer necessary for the county to own, before selling or leasing it. The County Council must approve this decision or the property cannot be sold or leased. If the Executive intends to sell the property for less than full market value, he must obtain a waiver from the council. Only after receiving these approvals may the Executive proceed to negotiate a transaction.

The law contains some important exemptions. Properties excluded from this process include those intended to be used as residential projects with more than 30% affordable units; those sold to the Housing Opportunities Commission for affordable housing; right-of-way to be used for road and transit projects; and properties valued at less than $100,000. For these kinds of properties, the Executive retains authority to lease or sell.

I worked hard to ensure that this law enhanced government accountability while at the same time not unduly burdening the county’s ability to do business or impeding construction of affordable housing. I hope you agree that its passage accomplishes those goals.