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House of Representatives
Session of 2013 - 2014 Regular Session


Posted: April 29, 2013 04:21 PM
From: Representative John Taylor
To: All House members
Subject: Amends Conservatorship Law to encourage private investment in efforts to remediate blight.
I will be introducing next Wednesday, May 8th, a bill that amends our conservatorship law to encourage private investment in efforts to remediate blight.

“Conservatorship” is the appointment of a third party to take control of a blighted and abandoned property and to make the repairs necessary to return the property to productive use. A court of common pleas appoints the conservator after a formal petition process and hearing, including notice to the property owner, all lien holders and all political subdivisions where the property is located. I am pleased to let you know that this newer law is in use throughout our state. As a result, formerly abandoned and/or blighted properties have new owners and are back on local tax rolls.

Specifically, my bill to amend the Abandoned and Blighted Property Conservatorship Act of 2008 is based on close observation of the law at work in cities, such as my own, and communities throughout our Commonwealth. One of our key findings is that private sector developers like the concept of the law and understand its purpose, but they also express fear about the risks they are taking once they petition the court and obtain conservatorships.

For example, we have had situations where a developer has filed a petition only to have the absentee owner decide he wants to sell the property after years of allowing it to sit unused and in disrepair and after causing the market values of neighborhood properties to plummet. My bill provides guidelines for the court to determine whether such an owner is seriously trying to sell the property or attempting to thwart the proposed conservatorship.

By encouraging the payment of costs and developer fees, by allowing the bundling of properties into one petition in limited and specific circumstances and by shortening the timeframe for court to hold the initial hearing, my bill encourages developers, non-profit entities and real estate professionals to initiate conservatorships on properties that meet the strict requirements set forth in the act.

My bill achieves the necessary balance between respecting the rights of property owners while ensuring that residents who invest in their properties do not have to live next to abandoned, unsafe, unsightly buildings and properties.

I will be glad to talk to you about how the law is having positive impacts throughout the state and to discuss why my proposed amendatory bill is necessary. House Urban Affairs Committee Executive Director Christine Goldbeck (cgoldbec@pahousegop.com or 7-7977) is also available to answer your questions and address your concerns.

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Introduced as HB1363