Tuesday, January 29, 2013

New state law spurs Philadelphia to create a 'Land Bank'

"The redevelopment of vacant and blighted parcels has been a cumbersome, frustrating and, in many cases unsuccessful, process for municipalities and developers alike. Pennsylvania’s new land bank legislation could change all that. Philadelphia, with its own land bank legislation is poised to take advantage of the state legislation. "

In  news alert to his law firm's clients and friends, Alfred R. Fuscaldo,
a Director in the Gibbons Real Property & Environmental Department, reports:
In October 2012, Governor Tom Corbett signed into law House Bill No 1682, enabling legislation, which opens the door for municipalities throughout the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to establish land banks. Land banks create a vehicle to return vacant, abandoned or tax delinquent properties back to productive use. Over 75 municipalities throughout the United States have turned to land banks as means to battle blight, rebuild neighborhoods and spur economic growth. 

Frequently, multiple agencies within a city, borough or township hold title to vacant, abandoned or tax delinquent properties, complicating procedures to deal with those parcels. In sharp contrast, a land bank serves as the central repository for such government-owned properties within its boundaries so as to better position them for redevelopment.
 Once created by a municipality (or multiple municipalities) by ordinance, land banks are governmental entities. Land banks are governed by a board of between five and eleven members, at least one of which must be a non-municipal employed resident of the jurisdiction who is a member of a recognized civic association in the jurisdiction. Title to the properties is held in the name of the land bank, and the land bank must make its inventory of properties available for public review and inspection 
Fuscaldo explains what land banks can do and how the City of Philadelphia is working to develop its own land bank. Read his entire article here

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