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Pennsylvania Works! Coalition celebrates as anti-blight bill becomes law; New powerful tool available to clean up abandoned and substandard properties

Pennsylvania Works! Coalition celebrates as anti-blight bill becomes law; New powerful tool available to clean up abandoned and substandard properties

Harrisburg, PA (October 28, 2010) – Pennsylvania Works!, a coalition of environmental, conservation, preservation, housing, and research groups, celebrated as Governor Edward G. Rendell signed the Neighborhood Blight Reclamation and Revitalization Act yesterday, giving local municipalities powerful new tools to clean up abandoned and substandard properties. The new law, now called Act 90 of 2010, was championed by Senator David Argall (R- Schuylkill), and was a major initiative of the Pennsylvania Works! coalition.

“This new law is a triple win – for the local economy, taxpayers, and the environment,” said Ed Boito, coalition campaign director, who works for PennFuture. “It will help communities prevent blight from overtaking neighborhoods, and help them clean up substandard properties to increase property values, tax revenue, and the quality of life. We are grateful to Senator Argall and his staff for their amazing commitment to shepherding this legislation through both houses, and we congratulate the Housing Alliance of Pennsylvania, who led the effort to get this important bill passed.”

The new law:
·         allows municipalities to file court actions against owners of properties with serious code violations with judgments against the owners’ assets, not just liens against the buildings;
·         provides for extradition of out-of-state owners of deteriorated property for prosecution;
·         allows municipalities to deny applications for certain municipal permits and approvals if the applicant is delinquent on taxes or other municipal charges, or if the applicant owns property that is in serious violation of codes and has taken no substantial action to bring the property into code compliance;
·         encourages education and training programs for judges related to blighted and abandoned property; and
·         authorizes the establishment of housing courts.

Pennsylvania Works! coalition works to create public policy that puts Pennsylvanians to work and builds a resilient, robust and green economy for all. Founding partners of Pennsylvania Works! (www.pennsylvaniaworks.org) include PennFuture, 10,000 Friends of Pennsylvania, the Pennsylvania Chapter of the American Planning Alliance, the Housing Alliance of Pennsylvania, Keystone Research Center, Local Initiatives Support Corporation, PennEnvironment, Pennsylvania Environmental Council, Preservation Pennsylvania, and Regional Housing Legal Services.

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