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

California passes 'yes-means-yes' campus sexual assault bill

Californian lawmakers passed a law on Thursday requiring universities to adopt "affirmative consent" language in their definitions of consensual sex, part of a nationwide drive to curb sexual assault on…

National

Syrian refugees top 3 million, half of all…

By Stephanie NebehayGENEVA (Reuters) - Three million Syrian refugees will have registered in neighboring countries as of Friday, but many remain trapped by the advance…

International

North Korean leader's money manager defects in Russia:…

A senior North Korean banking official who managed money for leader Kim Jong Un has defected in Russia and was seeking asylum in a third country, a South Korean newspaper…

Local

MAP: New York City Street Closures August 29,…

The Department of Transportation and NYPD said there may be residual delays near all of the street closures on August 29, 31 and 31. Several streets and avenues will be…

Going Out

'Friends' coffeehouse Central Perk coming to NYC —…

"Friends" is coming back for a one-off special: "The One with the Free Coffee." Warner Bros. is bringing a pop-up replica of Central Perk, the…

Movies

Interview: 'As Above, So Below' directors: 5 ways…

The fraternal directors of the found footage horror "As Above, So Below" dish on the best ways to frighten the bejesus out of audiences.

Movies

Criterion's new Jacques Demy box mixes the light…

Jacques Demy, the most effervescent of French New Wave filmmakers, gets a Criterion box all to himself, with classics like "The Umbrellas of Cherbourg."

Entertainment

Comedian Joan Rivers, 81, rushed to New York…

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Acerbic comedian and fashion critic Joan Rivers was rushed to Mount Sinai Hospital in New York on Thursday after she reportedly…

NFL

3 things we learned in the Giants preseason…

The final score didn’t matter — a 16-13 win by the Giants — but it would’ve been nice to finally see Big Blue’s new-look offense get on track.

NFL

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots, 49ers start…

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots start at top

U.S. Soccer

5 facts about new England captain Wayne Rooney

Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney was named as the new England captain by coach Roy Hodgson on Thursday.

NFL

Jets vs. Eagles: 3 things to watch

A win on Thursday night at the Eagles would give the Jets a 3-1 record and just their second winning preseason under head coach Rex Ryan.

Style

Trend: White hot on the 2014 Emmy's red…

White was one of the big trends on the Emmy's red carpet.

Food

Recipe: Samuel Adams beer-marinated grilled shrimp

Summer calls for two things: a cold beer and light food. Sam Adams' Latitude 48 IPA fairly bursts with citrus notes, making it an ideal marinade…

Wellbeing

4 healthy ingredient swaps to make your meals…

When it comes to eating well, everyone knows they could be doing better. But cooking in an apartment on a busy schedule is a recipe…

Wellbeing

Heart trumps brain when it comes to movies…

When you need a good cry, do you reach for the movie that’s “based on a true story”? Science says you’re giving your brain far…