On April 18 I introduced, together with Councilman Patrick Dowd, a Will of Council calling upon the Pennsylvania State Senate to pass Senate Bill 1414, which allows for the creation of municipal land banks. I co-sponsored the Will of Council in my capacity as Chair of Land Use & Economic Development.
Senate Bill 1414 authorizes the creation of land banks, agencies whose primary mission is the transfer of delinquent property into productive uses. If the Bill is passed, municipalities will be free to create land banks that facilitate redevelopment while eliminating the ability of speculators to let vacant land or abandoned properties sit idle.
There exist approximately 25,000 vacant lots and structures in the City of Pittsburgh, the majority of which are abandoned and tax delinquent, and remain in private ownership, representing a blighting influence in every neighborhood where they exist.
The current Treasurer’s Sale process is an ineffective tool for acquiring these properties and making them available for redevelopment. Parcels tend to sit through years of physical and legal neglect while imposing significant costs on neighborhoods, lowering property values and undermining the quality of life for those residing nearby. The long- term vacant parcels also cost the City and its citizens by increasing police and fire protection costs and decreasing tax revenues.
It has been proven in other states that land banks are a tool that municipalities may use to facilitate the return of vacant, abandoned and tax delinquent properties to productive use. I have long advocated policies that effectively address issues of blight in our communities, and view Senate Bill 1414 as another piece to the greater puzzle of reducing blight by spurring economic growth in our communities.
Friday, April 20, 2012
Office of Councilman R. Daniel Lavelle
414 Grant Street, 5th Floor | City County Building
Pittsburgh, PA 15219
telephone: 412-255-2134 | facsimile 412-255-0737