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        PRIOR PRINTER'S NO. 254                       PRINTER'S NO. 1260



No. 221 Session of 2007


           APRIL 16, 2007

                                     AN ACT

     1  Providing for the establishment of the Historic Preservation
     2     Incentive Grant Program for historic commercial and
     3     residential sites.

     4     The General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
     5  hereby enacts as follows:
     6  Section 1.  Short title.
     7     This act shall be known and may be cited as the Historic
     8  Preservation Incentive Grant Act.
     9  Section 2.  Definitions.
    10     The following words and phrases when used in this act shall
    11  have the meanings given to them in this section unless the
    12  context clearly indicates otherwise:

     1     "Applicant."  A commercial applicant or a residential
     2  applicant.
     3     "Commercial applicant."  Any natural person, corporation,
     4  foundation, organization, business trust, estate, limited
     5  liability company, licensed corporation, trust, partnership,
     6  limited liability partnership, association or any other form of
     7  legal business entity that owns an eligible commercial property.
     8     "Commission."  The Pennsylvania Historical and Museum
     9  Commission.
    10     "Department."  The Department of Community and Economic
    11  Development of the Commonwealth.
    12     "Eligible building improvements."  Exterior rehabilitation or
    13  restoration work performed on an eligible commercial property or
    14  an eligible residential property, including work involving
    15  windows, consistent with the Standards for Rehabilitation of the
    16  Secretary of the Interior.
    17     "Eligible commercial property."  A building used or zoned to
    18  be used for income producing purposes which is listed on the
    19  National Register of Historic Places, is a contributing property
    20  in a National Register historic district or is located in a
    21  local government historic district. The term includes a building
    22  used or zoned to be used for commercial purposes which is also
    23  used for residential purposes. The term also includes a for-sale
    24  condominium project.
    25     "Eligible property."  An eligible commercial property or an
    26  eligible residential property.
    27     "Eligible residential property."  A single-family dwelling or
    28  a building which:
    29         (1)  is a single family dwelling used as the owner's
    30     principal residence or is a building that is divided into no
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     1     more than four residential units, one of which is used as the
     2     owner's principal residence;
     3         (2)  is owned by one or more natural persons; and
     4         (3)  either:
     5             (i)  is listed on the National Register of Historic
     6         Places or is a contributing property in a National
     7         Register historic district; or
     8             (ii)  is located in a local government historic
     9         district.
    10     "Elm Street area."  A geographically defined portion of a
    11  municipality designated as an Elm Street area by the Department
    12  of Community and Economic Development in accordance with the
    13  terms and conditions of the act of February 9, 2004 (P.L.61,
    14  No.7), known as the Elm Street Program Act. The term includes an
    15  area which has exited the official program but still has a
    16  program functioning to revitalize the designated areas pursuant
    17  to the department's program guidelines.
    18     "Enterprise zone."  A geographic area designated by the
    19  Department of Community and Economic Development as an
    20  enterprise zone. The term includes an area which has exited the
    21  official program but still has a program functioning to
    22  revitalize the designated areas pursuant to the department's
    23  program guidelines.
    24     "Historic district."  A local government historic district or
    25  an area in this Commonwealth which has been designated as a
    26  historic district under the National Historic Preservation Act
    27  (Public Law 89-665, 80 Stat. 915).
    28     "Historic structure."  A building listed in the National
    29  Register of Historic Places, either individually or as a
    30  contributing building within a historic district.
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     1     "Local government historic district."  A historic district
     2  designated by any of the following:
     3         (1)  Section 2 of the act of June 13, 1961 (P.L.282,
     4     No.167), entitled "An act authorizing counties, cities,
     5     boroughs, incorporated towns and townships to create historic
     6     districts within their geographic boundaries; providing for
     7     the appointment of Boards of Historical Architectural Review;
     8     empowering governing bodies of political subdivisions to
     9     protect the distinctive historical character of these
    10     districts and to regulate the erection, reconstruction,
    11     alteration, restoration, demolition or razing of buildings
    12     within the historic districts."
    13         (2)  The Historic Preservation Ordinance, Section 14-
    14     2007, of the Philadelphia City Code.
    15         (3)  Title 11 of the Pittsburgh City Code, Chapter 1,
    16     Section 3, as amended by City Council on July 22, 1997.
    17         (4)  The City of Scranton under the City of Scranton
    18     Commission for Architectural and Urban Design Review
    19     ordinance.
    20     "Main Street community."  A geographic area designated as a
    21  Main Street community by the Department of Community and
    22  Economic Development. The term includes an area that has exited
    23  the official program but still has a program functioning to
    24  revitalize the designated areas pursuant to the department's
    25  program guidelines.
    26     "National Register."  The National Register of Historic
    27  Places established under section 101 of the National Historic
    28  Preservation Act (Public Law 89-665, 16 U.S.C. § 470a).
    29     "Residential applicant."  One or more natural persons who own
    30  an eligible residential property.
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     1     "Standards."  The Secretary of the Interior Standards for the
     2  Treatment of Historic Properties, excluding reconstruction, set
     3  forth at 36 CFR 67.7 (relating to Standards for Rehabilitation).
     4  Section 3.  Historic Preservation Incentive Grant Program.
     5     (a)  Establishment.--There is established a program in the
     6  department to be known as the Historic Preservation Incentive
     7  Grant Program. The program shall provide grants to owners of
     8  eligible properties located within this Commonwealth that
     9  undertake eligible building improvements.
    10     (b)  Application.--To participate in the program, an
    11  applicant must submit an application to the department
    12  requesting a grant for the reimbursement of costs associated
    13  with eligible building improvements to an eligible property
    14  owned by the applicant. The application must be submitted on a
    15  form developed by the department in consultation with the
    16  commission and must include all of the following:
    17         (1)  The name and address of the applicant.
    18         (2)  The location of the property.
    19         (3)  Proof of ownership of the property by the applicant.
    20     The applicant may satisfy this requirement by providing
    21     evidence satisfactory to the department that the applicant
    22     will own the property at some point in time following
    23     submission of the application and has sufficient control of
    24     the property at the time of submission to perform the work
    25     described in the application.
    26         (4)  A description of the property providing sufficient
    27     information to establish that the property meets the criteria
    28     for either an eligible commercial property or an eligible
    29     residential property, including information specified in the
    30     commission's guidelines.
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     1         (5)  A detailed description of the proposed work to be
     2     performed, including plans, drawings and specifications as
     3     appropriate.
     4         (6)  A detailed estimate of the cost of the work to be
     5     performed.
     6         (7)  Proof that the applicant is current with respect to
     7     the payment of all real estate taxes assessed against the
     8     property or evidence that the applicant is contesting the
     9     taxes in good faith and has set aside sums to cover any tax
    10     liability in the event the contest fails.
    11         (8)  Evidence of the source of matching funds to be
    12     utilized for the project. If the source of matching funds is
    13     a loan from a financial institution, the applicant must
    14     provide a copy of the loan application and commitment or
    15     other evidence satisfactory to the department of the
    16     applicant's ability to obtain the necessary financing.
    17         (9)  Any other information required by the department or
    18     the commission.
    19     (c)  Review and recommendation by commission.--The department
    20  shall forward the application to the commission for review. If
    21  the commission determines that the property qualifies as an
    22  eligible property and that the proposed improvements would
    23  qualify as eligible building improvements, then the commission
    24  may recommend approval of the property for the program and shall
    25  notify the department of its recommendation within 45 days
    26  following receipt of a completed application by the commission.
    27     (d)  Award of grant by department.--Upon receipt of the
    28  commission's recommendation for approval as provided in
    29  subsection (c), the department may award the applicant a grant
    30  and shall notify the applicant and the commission of its action.
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     1     (e)  Certification and disbursement.--
     2         (1)  Following completion of the work, the applicant
     3     shall file a certification with the commission stating that
     4     the work has been completed. The certification shall be
     5     accompanied by photographs showing the completed project,
     6     evidence of the actual expenditures made by the applicant and
     7     evidence, in the form of a letter or letters from local code
     8     enforcement officials, that the property, as improved,
     9     complies with all local building, fire, safety and health
    10     codes.
    11         (2)  The commission shall complete its review of the
    12     certification within 90 days of receipt of the certification
    13     by the commission. The commission may request additional
    14     information and conduct a site inspection as it deems
    15     necessary to determine compliance with the requirements of
    16     the program established by this act.
    17         (3)  If the commission is satisfied with the
    18     certification submitted, it shall notify the department of
    19     the approved eligible building improvements. The department
    20     shall calculate the amount of the grant and disburse the
    21     grant funds to the applicant.
    22     (f)  Agreement.--The department is not required to enter into
    23  a grant agreement with an applicant prior to awarding and
    24  disbursing a grant.
    25     (g)  Special rules relating to eligible residential
    26  properties.--An application for a grant for eligible building
    27  improvements for an eligible residential property must include
    28  one of the following statements from the applicant:
    29         (1)  That the applicant has owned the eligible
    30     residential property for at least five years prior to the
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     1     date of submission of the application.
     2         (2)  That the applicant has owned the eligible
     3     residential property for less than five years prior to the
     4     date of submission of the application but agrees to continue
     5     to own the property for a total of at least five years.
     6  Section 4.  Exemption from State taxes.
     7     Grant amounts awarded by the department for eligible
     8  residential properties shall not be considered income to the
     9  applicant under section 303 of the act of March 4, 1971 (P.L.6,
    10  No.2), known as the Tax Reform Code of 1971.
    11  Section 5.  Allocation of grant funds; limitations; priorities.
    12     (a)  Source.--Funds for this program shall be provided to the
    13  department from funds authorized for this purpose.
    14     (b)  Proration.--If the total amount of grants to be awarded
    15  exceeds the amount of funds available for the program in any
    16  year, the amount of grants may be prorated among the successful
    17  applicants.
    18     (c)  Minimum.--At least 31% of the funds available in any
    19  year shall be reserved by the department for grants to
    20  successful residential applicants. If reserved funds are more
    21  than are needed to satisfy the total amount of such grants
    22  awarded in any year, the department may utilize the excess funds
    23  for grants to successful commercial applicants.
    24     (d)  Limitations.--
    25         (1)  Subject to the other limitations set forth in this
    26     subsection, a grant awarded to a successful applicant shall
    27     not be more than 70% of the total amount of expenditures made
    28     for eligible building improvements.
    29         (2)  In no event shall any grant be awarded unless:
    30             (i)  the applicant is current with respect to all
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     1         local real estate taxes assessed against the applicant's
     2         eligible property; or
     3             (ii)  the applicant, in good faith, is contesting
     4         local real estate taxes assessed against the applicant's
     5         eligible property, provides the department with evidence
     6         of the contest and has set aside sums to cover any tax
     7         liability in the event the contest fails.
     8         (3)  Up to $15,000 may be awarded to a residential
     9     applicant in connection with a single project, and up to
    10     $500,000 may be awarded to a commercial applicant in
    11     connection with a single project.
    12         (4)  In order to receive money from a grant, the
    13     applicant must complete the project being funded by the grant
    14     within two years of receipt of notification from the
    15     department of the award.
    16     (e)  Priorities.--Priority for the award of grants may be
    17  given to properties located in Elm Street areas, Main Street
    18  communities, enterprise zones and in local government historic
    19  districts. The department shall take into account geographical
    20  distribution of grants in making awards.
    21  Section 6.  Administration.
    22     (a)  Guidelines.--The department and the commission shall
    23  jointly develop guidelines for the implementation of the program
    24  established by this act.
    25     (b)  Expenditures.--The department may utilize up to an
    26  aggregate of 3% of the funds available for the program annually,
    27  not to exceed $500,000, as allocated by the Governor, for
    28  expenses incurred in administering the program established by
    29  this act. The department and the commission shall enter into an
    30  agreement for the payment to the commission of a portion of sums
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     1  for expenses incurred by the commission.
     2  Section 7.  Repayment.
     3     The department, at its discretion, shall be entitled to a
     4  return of all grant funds paid to the applicant if, within five
     5  years following completion of the project, either ANY of the      <--
     6  following occur:
     7         (1)  The owner of the eligible property makes
     8     improvements to the exterior of the property which do not
     9     meet the standards.
    10         (2)  The eligible property is removed from the National
    11     Register, either individually or as a contributing building
    12     within a historic district, whether or not as a result of the
    13     owner making improvements to the exterior of the property
    14     which do not meet the standards.
    15         (3)  The eligible residential property is transferred in
    16     violation of the agreement made by the owner under the
    17     provisions of section 3(g)(2), if applicable, unless the
    18     transfer occurs as a result of the death of the owner or is
    19     otherwise involuntary.
    20  Section 20.  Effective date.
    21     This act shall take effect in 120 days.

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