Reading Council Hears Plan for Land Bank to Fight Blight
October 10, 2022
At Monday’s meeting of its committee of the whole, the Reading City Council heard a presentation from Jamal Abodalo, the city’s community development director, about the possible creation of a land bank for the city.
Land banks were established by Pennsylvania in 2012 to help communities combat problems with blighted properties. Under the law, a land bank is able to buy a property ahead of a judicial sale, and back taxes and municipal claims are discharged. In this way, the city — through the land bank — controls redevelopment of the property.
Abodalo told the council that Reading currently has 268 certified blighted properties. Of the 268 properties, 168 have transferred ownership, while 100 remain under the same ownership.
The process, Abodalo explained, is that the land bank would acquire a property. It then would decide to either demolish the property or refurbish it. If it is refurbished, the property could either be sold or restored to productive use.
While the property is being restored, the land bank holds the property tax-free. Then, it can share up to 50% of the taxes from the city, county and school district for five years after being redeveloped.
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