Bill Will Prevent ‘Contagious Blight’
HARRISBURG – Legislation aimed at reducing the number of vacant, tax delinquent and troubled properties in Pennsylvania was approved today by the state Senate, according to Senator Gene Yaw (R-23), who chairs the Senate Urban Affairs and Housing Committee.
House Bill 1682, sponsored by Rep. John Taylor, will establish public ‘land bank’ authorities that can acquire, manage and develop vacant, abandoned and tax delinquent properties. This bill was approved by the Senate Urban Affairs and Housing Committee on April 2, 2012.
“The overall mission of a land bank is to find new and responsible owners to acquire distressed properties, while engaging the market on terms that the market can actually absorb,” Yaw said. “Essentially, a land bank is the intermediary between the previous owners of an abandoned or tax delinquent property and new responsible owners who will contribute in a beneficial way to surrounding properties of an area.”
House Bill 1682 enables a county, city, borough, township or incorporated town with a population of 10,000 or more to establish a land bank. It also allows two or more municipalities with populations less than 10,000 that enter into an intergovernmental cooperation agreement to establish and maintain a land bank. The bill establishes the framework by which a land bank must operate.
Pennsylvania has about 300,000 vacant and abandoned properties. Of these properties, 35,000 are in Philadelphia, 19,000 are in Pittsburgh and the remainder are scattered throughout the state.
The legislation now moves to the House of Representatives for concurrence.
Contact: Nick Troutman