Can Private-Investment Community Land Trusts increase local autonomy and respect for the commons?

The private-investment community land trust is an alternative system for private land-holding, for generating community revenues, and for encouraging better land use. Essentially, land users lease the land, rather than purchase it, from a land trust. The trust then uses lease revenues to pay investors, to provide community services, to rebate taxes levied against occupants of trust land by larger taxing bodies, and to acquire additional land. It has many advantages over our traditional land tenure system, and particularly over urban-renewal projects, to the occupants, the investors, and the communities in which they are located. Dan Sulluvan proposes a community-centered way of re-development that will support rather than damage the fabric of the local community. There is no use of eminent domain (expropriation) in this plan, rather, local owners can choose whether they want to sell their plot to the community land trust or stay independent, simply having land trust members as neighbors… There will be no speculation, and so there will be more value that stays in the local community. doublehouseproptaxcolor Our current tax system punishes good behavior with high taxes and rewards idle speculation with low taxes. Wage taxes, sales taxes, income taxes, business taxes and the building portion of the property tax all fall on those who putting their land to good use and making the community more dynamic. Each land speculator minimizes his taxes and maximizes his profits by getting others to improve and operate their properties while he sits back and watches the value go up. That is, he becomes an enemy of the very revitalization from which hopes to profit. Urban renewal projects actually encourage idle speculators to hold on in hope that the redevelopment authority will buy them out for a project. The land trust reduces this. Every leaseholder pays a fair rent on the value of his land, and a large portion of the lease revenue is used to rebate taxes on his improvements and on desirable activities. Although one can speculate on shares of land trust itself, the shareholders have no control over land use. Their only powers are to demand that the terms of the trust be upheld and to bring additional land into the trust. Go and see the original proposal here

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