State officials have approved a regional land bank for Niagara and Orleans counties, according to an announcement Saturday from Niagara County.
The Niagara-Orleans Regional Land Improvement Corp. also includes representatives from the cities of Lockport, Niagara Falls and North Tonawanda.
The corporation will be able to take over properties that have been foreclosed upon because of unpaid property taxes. Instead of auctioning them, it could set rules for redevelopment and sell the properties as it sees fit.
The land bank also could acquire brownfields without making the municipalities responsible for a cleanup. For many years, Niagara County has resisted foreclosing on brownfields for that reason.