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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session


Posted: April 3, 2017 10:45 AM
From: Senator Patrick J. Stefano
To: All Senate members
Subject: Expanding Pennsylvania’s Land Bank Program
In the near future, I plan to introduce legislation that will grant redevelopment authorities the same powers currently allotted to land banks through the Pennsylvania Land Bank Act. This proposal will in no way eliminate the ability of a community to create a land bank or affect existing land banks in any way.

A land bank is an independent public entity created by a municipality to expedite the process of acquiring and rehabilitating blighted, dilapidated, and abandoned properties. In many instances, land banks and redevelopment authorities work in unison to eliminate blight in communities. While land banks have been crucial in this fight, many of the Commonwealth’s counties have active Redevelopment Authorities which have been performing these same functions since 1945.

Granting Redevelopment Authorities the same powers allotted to land banks through the Pennsylvania Land Bank Act would allow them to acquire tax delinquent properties at a judicial sale without competitive bidding, to discharge tax liens on those properties, and to share up to 50% of the real property taxes for five years after conveyance of authority-owned property. It would also eliminate the need to form an entirely new entity in these municipalities; which can be redundant and cost-prohibitive given the lack of resources and funding for these initiatives.

Under my proposal, land banks can, and most certainly will, remain a useful tool for municipalities. It would, however, provide benefit to those municipalities with active redevelopment authorities, particularly those that are already actively engaged in blight elimination and redevelopment initiatives; while saving time, money and precious resources on the creation of new, duplicate boards, audits, committees, bylaws, and other mechanics that may stymie ongoing redevelopment efforts.

I hope you will join me in co-sponsoring this important piece of legislation. If you have any questions regarding this information, please contact Mark Fetzko of my office.

Introduced as SB667