Tuesday, July 14, 2015

And You Can Take That to the (Land) Bank

Most of Monday night's borough council meeting was taken up with discussion of land banks.

What's a land bank you ask?

It is a entity which takes possession of property, often blighted property and almost always tax-delinquent property, and either holds it in search of a qualified developer, or passes it off to that developer almost immediately.

The idea, said Winifred Branton and John Kromer, consultants for the PA Housing Alliance, is to take vacant problem properties and flip them into productive, tax-paying properties.

Council, uncharacteristically, asked a lot of questions of the pair and its support for the program could be described as lukewarm.

Nonetheless, they agreed to let the Blighted Property Review Committee put together some recommendations about how and in what form a Pottstown land bank might be established.

On other matters, as expected, council authorized a new ordinance to deal with vacant property; approved a contract with Community Champions to manage the impacts of that new ordinance, and also approved applying for a grant to replace the borough's street lights with LED lights.

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