Senate Committee Hears Testimony on Blight Legislation

HARRISBURG – The Senate Urban Affairs and Housing Committee, chaired by Senator Gene Yaw (R-23) and Vice-Chair Senator David Argall (R-29) met today to hear testimony on blighted property and the Neighborhood Blight Reclamation and Revitalization Act.

Senate Bill 900, sponsored by Senator Argall, would hold property owners accountable for the costs to secure, remediate or demolish blighted structures. The bill would also expedite the process of prosecuting owners of blighted properties and give municipalities the authority to go after the financial assets of negligent owners.

“Blighted property is not just an urban problem,” said Yaw. “This legislation is designed to prevent a growing threat plaguing communities all across Pennsylvania,”

Senate Bill 900 would expand the ability of redevelopment authorities to assist municipalities with blight remediation. The bill also takes steps to prevent foreclosed and bank-owned properties from becoming blighted by requiring mortgage lenders to maintain properties where a default occurs until there is a new owner.

In addition, the bill would mandate that property owners bring any property they own that has serious code violations into code compliance before obtaining any municipal or state permits or approvals for any other property they own in the Commonwealth. The legislation would create a code violations registry to allow municipalities to determine if an applicant has any pending code violations in other parts of the state.

“We must continue to fight to see this legislation pass the Senate and the House and be signed into law,” Argall said. “This was the dream of the late Senator James Rhoades when he first introduced this legislation last session, as well as the goal of the Blight Task Force which he created.”

Those presenting testimony at today’s hearing included the Pennsylvania Downtown Center, Pennsylvania Housing Alliance, Pennsylvania Apartment Association, Pennsylvania State Association of Boroughs, Pennsylvania Realtors Association and Pennsylvania Bankers Association.

The Committee will be holding a public hearing on Thursday, May 14, 2009 at 10 a.m. at the Pottsville City Hall Building to hear testimony on community revitalization efforts during times of budgetary stress.


Adam Pankake
(570) 322-6457 (Yaw)

Nick Troutman
(717) 787-2637 (Argall)

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