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Land Bank

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NEWS
December 14, 2013 | By Claudia Vargas, Inquirer Staff Writer
City Council on Thursday unanimously approved the long-awaited land-bank bill, and Mayor Nutter promptly vowed to sign it - clearing the way for Philadelphia to become the largest city in the country with a land bank. The goal of the bank is to cut through City Hall red tape and create a comprehensive system for confronting blight by turning vacant and tax-delinquent parcels into tax-producing properties. Thursday's vote was something of a formality, since the tough part of agreeing on the bill's amendments was hashed out last week between its primary sponsor, Councilwoman Maria Quiñones Sánchez, and Council President Darrell L. Clarke.
NEWS
December 3, 2014 | BY JENNY DeHUFF, Daily News Staff Writer dehuffj@phillynews.com, 215-854-5218
THE PROPOSED master plan for the Philadelphia Land Bank cleared a major hurdle yesterday when it gained the approval of City Council's Public Property and Public Works Committee. The land bank - Philly's first - is a budding quasi-governmental agency that will soon consist of a smorgasbord of vacant, blighted and tax-delinquent public-owned properties across the city. Its purpose is to streamline the acquisition and disposition of vacant real estate and transform it into productive use. The proposed Land Bank Strategic Plan offers recommendations in its executive summary, such as reporting the sale and reuse of property during its first year of operations and beginning the complex process of transferring all city-owned properties to the land bank, for starters.
NEWS
March 20, 2012
AS THE sponsor of the "Land Bank" legislation now before Council, I am pleased that this issue is gaining traction and attention, but I am disappointed in the flawed, ill-informed opinion offered by Adam Lang and recently published in your paper. Far from encumbering or adding an extra layer to the vacant-land process, this bill will strip away the layers of bureaucracy and disjointed policies that make land acquisition so challenging to for-profit and nonprofit developers, and to average citizens trying to invest in their communities.
NEWS
December 12, 2013
It's a Christmas tree Regarding the front-page picture of what the city calls its Holiday Tree, may I suggest that the city also describe the season's menorah as a Holiday Candelabra ("Light that tree," Dec. 5)? However, if we are to celebrate Hanukkah by the lighting of the menorah, then we should celebrate Christmas by the lighting of the Christmas tree. That's only fair to both celebrations. Dianne C. Boldt, North Wales Bank on land plan The region's Realtors are grateful for City Council President Darrell L. Clarke's leadership as Council prepares to pass legislation that would create the nation's largest land bank.
NEWS
January 8, 2015
GOOGLE a few terms - like "cheesesteak" or "Rocky" - and you'll get few references outside Philadelphia. The same holds true if you search for "councilmanic prerogative" or "councilmanic privilege" - the practice that gives elected lawmakers supreme power over development in their fiefdoms, er, districts. Other cities around the country have city councils, but privilege appears to be a strictly Philly thing. Council prerogative is not codified in the city charter, but in use nonetheless.
NEWS
October 29, 2013
THE CITY'S 40,000-plus vacant properties are the ghosts of Philadelphia's past. It is a past when we were an industrial center called "Workshop of the World," with more than two million people crowded within our borders. Those days are long gone. We have to escape those ghosts and move forward. A giant step in that direction is a bill now in City Council to establish a citywide land bank to collect and dispose of vacant properties. The land bank would start with the 10,000 or so properties owned by city agencies, and expand over time to include privately held properties.
NEWS
December 4, 2013
DARRELL Clarke apparently thinks that it is time to school Maria Quinones-Sanchez on what it means to be a good team member. The Council president and the councilwoman have been at odds lately over a bill that they co-sponsored to create a land bank to handle the sale of vacant properties in the city. Everyone agrees that change is needed: There are more than 40,000 vacant properties in Philadelphia and the system of disposing of them simply does not work. It can take 3 1/2 years from expression of interest in a parcel of land to signing the papers that close the deal.
NEWS
January 15, 2014 | BY JENNY DeHUFF, Daily News Staff Writer dehuffj@phillynews.com, 215-854-5218
WITH THE STROKE of his pen, Mayor Nutter signed the land-bank bill into law, making Philadelphia the largest U.S. city to have a streamlined procedure for land disposition. Supporters of the land bank packed the mayor's reception room yesterday to witness the bill signing - the outcome of a six-year campaign for Philadelphia to do something with its blighted and abandoned plots of land. City Council President Darrell Clarke and Councilwoman Maria Quinones-Sanchez, the prime backers of the legislation, congratulated each other on reaching an agreement to bring the measure to life.
NEWS
October 16, 2014 | BY VALERIE RUSS, Daily News Staff Writer russv@phillynews.com, 215-854-5987
SOME affordable-housing advocates are preparing to tell the new Philadelphia Land Bank that its draft strategic plan needs toughening. The new land bank, which won't be fully operational until 2015, is having a public hearing today on a draft strategic plan that outlines how it will acquire and distribute city-owned vacant land and tax-delinquent properties to new owners. "We think it can be improved," Nora Lichtash, of the Philadelphia Coalition for Affordable Communities, said of the plan.
NEWS
January 18, 2013
Philadelphia's plans for a land bank took a symbolic step forward Thursday when Gov. Corbett formally signed a bill, sponsored by Rep. John Taylor (R., Phila.), that will allow the city to centralize its sales of vacant properties. Corbett signed the bill in October but appeared Thursday at Impact Services, a job training and community development program in Kensington, for a ceremonial signing because he says the legislation is crucial to reducing an estimated 40,000 vacant parcels in the city.
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NEWS
June 26, 2015 | By Claudia Vargas, Inquirer Staff Writer
The city's auctioning of liens on tax-delinquent properties began Wednesday morning with what officials said was a quiet but promising start. More than 150 investors registered to participate in the online auction of 900-plus tax liens, all of which have a minimum bid requirement of the full delinquent property-tax bill plus interest. The liens are for property-tax bills that have gone unpaid for from two to 20 years. If successful, the sale of those liens could generate millions of dollars in city revenue.
NEWS
June 25, 2015 | Inquirer Editorial Board
A vacant Port Richmond lot fetched $120,000 at a recent city auction. The Sheriff's Office has slightly picked up the sluggish pace of delinquent property sales. City Council is considering making a quick buck on a tax-lien sale, while the Nutter administration plans to sell 1,400 liens this month. Meanwhile, a businessman who wants to buy lots to expand is lost in Philadelphia's property maze. These disjointed events, and many more across a variety of city agencies and offices, are occurring without much forethought or consideration of the bigger picture.
NEWS
January 25, 2015
ISSUE | CITYSCAPE Target all areas Joel Naroff's contention that the new Philadelphia Land Bank's work should be concentrated in limited areas misses the mark ("A targeted approach to urban renewal," Jan 18). The land bank must benefit every neighborhood, using strategies targeted to specific conditions in each. For some neighborhoods, side yards and development on individual lots are key. For others with stronger markets, assembling parcels for market-rate, mixed-use, or affordable housing will make more sense.
NEWS
January 13, 2015 | Inquirer Editorial Board
Philadelphia's new land bank may still be in beta mode, but that's apparently good enough for a test spin to see if it really can transform the city's broken property management system. The idea's primary sponsor, Councilwoman Maria Quiñones Sánchez, is the first to step up to select publicly owned properties in her district for transfer to the bank. Last week, the bank started working on selling the 17 parcels along North Bodine Street, just south of Cecil B. Moore Avenue. Bids on the properties are due next month, meaning the transactions could become the first in a new era for Philadelphia.
NEWS
January 8, 2015
GOOGLE a few terms - like "cheesesteak" or "Rocky" - and you'll get few references outside Philadelphia. The same holds true if you search for "councilmanic prerogative" or "councilmanic privilege" - the practice that gives elected lawmakers supreme power over development in their fiefdoms, er, districts. Other cities around the country have city councils, but privilege appears to be a strictly Philly thing. Council prerogative is not codified in the city charter, but in use nonetheless.
NEWS
January 6, 2015 | By Claudia Vargas, Inquirer Staff Writer
A year after the Philadelphia Land Bank was signed into law, the first 17 parcels are being sold, signaling that the new quasi-government body is open for business. However, its merchandise still hasn't arrived. The transfer of properties can't happen until City Council returns to session Jan. 22. And even then, the process might not be so easy. The land bank is meant to streamline the system for turning nearly 30,000 tax-delinquent, often-vacant parcels throughout the city into productive properties.
NEWS
December 3, 2014 | BY JENNY DeHUFF, Daily News Staff Writer dehuffj@phillynews.com, 215-854-5218
THE PROPOSED master plan for the Philadelphia Land Bank cleared a major hurdle yesterday when it gained the approval of City Council's Public Property and Public Works Committee. The land bank - Philly's first - is a budding quasi-governmental agency that will soon consist of a smorgasbord of vacant, blighted and tax-delinquent public-owned properties across the city. Its purpose is to streamline the acquisition and disposition of vacant real estate and transform it into productive use. The proposed Land Bank Strategic Plan offers recommendations in its executive summary, such as reporting the sale and reuse of property during its first year of operations and beginning the complex process of transferring all city-owned properties to the land bank, for starters.
NEWS
December 2, 2014
CITY COUNCIL'S Public Property Committee is scheduled to hold a hearing today on a resolution to officially establish a Philadelphia Land Bank. The Land Bank law passed late last year. This new resolution takes it a step further and lays out a five-year plan on the goals of the new agency. We urge Chairman Bobby Henon and the committee members to approve the resolution and send it on to the full Council, where we also urge its passage before the end of this year. The legislation is crucial to the future of Philadelphia.
NEWS
October 16, 2014 | BY VALERIE RUSS, Daily News Staff Writer russv@phillynews.com, 215-854-5987
SOME affordable-housing advocates are preparing to tell the new Philadelphia Land Bank that its draft strategic plan needs toughening. The new land bank, which won't be fully operational until 2015, is having a public hearing today on a draft strategic plan that outlines how it will acquire and distribute city-owned vacant land and tax-delinquent properties to new owners. "We think it can be improved," Nora Lichtash, of the Philadelphia Coalition for Affordable Communities, said of the plan.
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