WASHINGTON, D.C. – December 16, 2013 – (RealEstateRama) — Philadelphia’s City Council approved Bill No. 130156-A by a vote of 15 – 0, which creates a Philadelphia Land Bank. The Land Bank represents major reform of the City’s broken system for putting vacant properties back into productive use.
“Philadelphians who have been plagued by vacant properties in their neighborhoods will soon have a powerful tool in the Philadelphia Land Bank. The Land Bank will make it easier and quicker for individuals, community groups, small businesses, community development corporations and market rate developers to turn vacant, blighted properties into vibrant, usable spaces,” said Rick Sauer, Executive Director of the Philadelphia Association of Community Development Corporations (PACDC). PACDC is part of the Philly Land Bank Alliance, a diverse coalition of groups that came together to advocate for a transparent, efficient, accountable, equitable and predictable Land Bank.
Councilwoman Maria Quiñones-Sánchez, who sponsored the Land Bank legislation, commented, “This Land Bank will finally give Philadelphia the tools we need to reclaim our neighborhoods from blight, abandonment, and tax delinquency, and to get properties back into productive reuse. Credit for this historic step is due to the leadership of Mayor Michael Nutter’s administration, Council President Darrell Clarke, State Representative John Taylor, and an unprecedented coalition of organizations and individuals who came together to advocate for reform.”
“This is an historic day, and all those who’ve worked for years toward creation of a Philadelphia Land Bank – not least of whom is Councilwoman Sanchez – are right to savor it,” Council President Darrell L. Clarke said. “Now comes the difficult work of reorganizing an aging, ineffective bureaucracy and ensuring it has adequate resources and qualified staff. It is my hope that Mayor Nutter puts the full weight and might of his Administration behind this great and difficult task.”
Some of the key elements of Bill No. 130156 include:
One public entity to hold the nearly 10,000 publicly owned properties.
Power to efficiently acquire tax-delinquent properties.
A diverse, qualified board with community representation.
Approvals of property transfers by City Council, the Vacant Property Review Committee, and the Land Bank, with public notice and opportunity to comment.
A requirement for the Land Bank to develop a strategic plan each year to ensure land use decisions are equitable.
Flexible pricing to incentivize development for community-beneficial uses.
“City Council, the Nutter Administration, for profit and non profit stakeholders came together to pass this game-changing legislation. By continuing to work together over the next year, we can implement a Philly Land Bank that revitalizes our communities,” said Sauer.
The Philly Land Bank Alliance includes:
Building Industry Association • Campaign to Take Back Vacant Land • City Wide NAC Alliance Community Design Collaborative • Design Advocacy Group