Philly coalition pushing for city land bank

Screen shot 2013-03-21 at 5.57.40 PMLast year, a coalition of realtors, architects, developers, non-profit developers and environmental groups lobbied for changes to the process of buying and developing vacant, city-owned land.

A new bill that would create a city land bank was introduced two weeks ago. The bill must first be heard in a committee before going to the City Council for a final vote. The 13-member Land Bank Alliance is awaiting a committee hearing date, which the group hopes will be in April.

With the revitalization of the effort, the coalition branded itself. They relaunched the effort with a name, as well as a website and new social media tools last week.

Alliance member Andrew Sharp, of the PennFuture environmental group, said out of the 10,000 city-owned properties, there are four agencies that act as gatekeepers. The four agencies use their own procedures for granting land development.

“Our theory is the land bank would create a transparent, accountable, predictable process for folks who want to invest inland and who want to rebuild neighborhoods whether that’s with a home or a community garden or a new business,” Sharp said.

City Council President Darrell Clarke at the March 7 council meeting said when the new bill was introduced, “City-owned vacant properties are a drain on our budget to the tune of $20 million. We must create incentives for developers, businesses and residents to bring those properties back online so they are once again contributing to the community.”

Sharp said now is the perfect time for change.

“We think this is pretty timely with AVI and the tax issue—also the school issues,” he said. “Because when you add productive reuses, you’re increasing the tax roles, and therefore generating revenue for our city and our school district.”

By the Numbers

10,000 city-owned vacant properties

40,000 vacant properties

Quoted

Sharp said the current process for obtaining land is a deterrent for other businesses and contractors to build in the city.

“It’s not easy; it’s confusing,” he said, “It may take a year. It may take several years to obtain a city-owned property. We think by creating one agency, one entity to manage and transfer property in a predictable, transparent way, that would greatly improve the vacancy and the blight problem.”



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Sprint and T-Mobile offer further price discounts

Sprint unveiled a plan on Thursday that gives subscribers access to unlimited data for $60 a month, the industry's cheapest unlimited data offering.

National

Hundreds pay it forward at Florida Starbucks in…

The spontaneous chain of kindness continued for about 11 hours, totaling 457 transactions by the time it ended.

National

Weather system east of Caribbean could turn into…

An area of low pressure located east of the Caribbean Sea has a 50 percent chance of becoming a tropical depression or storm in the next 48 hours, U.S. forecasters…

National

U.S. hospital to discharge doctor treated with experimental…

An American doctor who contracted Ebola treating victims of the deadly virus in Liberia has recovered and will be discharged on Thursday by the Atlanta hospital that treated him with…

Movies

Review: 'When the Game Stands Tall' is both…

The high school football saga "When the Game Stands Tall" fumbles around for a focus while Jim Caviezel offers the most low-key coach in history.

Movies

Girlfriend in a coma: Chloe Grace Moretz

Chloe Grace Moretz is the best cheerleader "If I Stay" could ask for. As the star of the film adaptation of the successful YA novel…

The Word

The Word: Summer lovin' for Zac Efron and…

Ah, the summer romance. So intense, so fleeting. With Labor Day fast approaching, it should come as little surprise that the incredibly surprising romance between…

The Word

The Word: The Zac Efron-Michelle Rodriguez summer fling…

  Ah, the summer romance. So intense, so fleeting. With Labor Day fast approaching, it should come as little surprise that the incredibly surprising romance…

NFL

Fantasy football draft guide: How to draft your…

Many are wondering if we’re entering a new age in fantasy football drafting — one where running backs take a backseat.

NFL

Jets vs. Giants: 3 Giants storylines to watch

The Giants have plenty to work on as they reach the dress rehearsal preseason game Friday night against the rival Jets.

NFL

Jets vs. Giants: 3 Jets storylines to watch

Metro looks at three Jets storylines to watch as they play the Giants Friday.

NFL

Giants expected to work Corey Washington into first-team…

The day of reckoning for the Giants' fringe players will fall upon them Friday night against the Jets.

Sex

Big weddings may lead to long-term happiness

Dreaming of a big wedding? A new study indicates that the longer your guest list, the happier you’ll be in the long run. l A…

Sex

Online dating for every generation

Frank Jackson and his mother Maggie are like lots of modern families: They have dinner together regularly, keep each other updated on their lives —…

Wellbeing

Going green could be the key to getting…

If we could just pursue the things that would actually make us happy, we could help the environment too, according to a New York researcher.…

Tech

Siren: A new dating app that puts women…

Online dating can be brutal, especially for single women. Noting that many women hate wading through inappropriate messages and photos, two tech entrepreneurs decided to…