IN OP-ED, CLARKE CALLS FOR MORATORIUM ON VACANT, TAX-DELINQUENT LAND SALES

In Council News, Darrell L. Clarke, News by PHL Council

Council President Darrell L. Clarke (5th District) recently wrote a commentary in the Philadelphia Inquirer calling for a moratorium on sales of vacant, tax-delinquent land.

Read the commentary in its entirety on philly.com. An excerpt is posted below:

A moratorium is drastic, but Philadelphia cannot afford to go back to its old, inefficient approach to development.

For context, 10 new townhomes in Fairmount reportedly sold for as much as $2 million each in just eight months last year. A new luxury apartment complex on the Parkway is leasing units for as much as $7,000 per month. The apartment search site Abodo found that average monthly rent in Philadelphia rose 4.2 percent in 2016 – the second-highest increase in the nation.

Robust high-end housing growth is a great indicator for Philadelphia’s overall economic health, one that we should cheer. But it doesn’t tell the whole story.

Far too many Philadelphians struggle to pay for housing or are stuck in substandard homes that literally make them sick. If the city is truly serious about equitable growth – one of the main reasons we created the Land Bank in the first place – then it must offer incentives much more selectively and strategically.

We must not allow Philadelphia to fall back into bad habits. I look forward to an inclusive and participatory public hearing on my proposal to temporarily halt lien and sheriff sales in order to thoroughly review Land Bank, Revenue Department, and Office of Property Assessment procedures.

 

At the Stated Meeting of Council held Thursday, January 26, 2017, in an usual move in which he left the speaker’s podium and took a place on the legislative floor, Clarke expanded on his thoughts about the need to fully utilize the land bank to promote equitable, balanced growth in Philadelphia neighborhoods. Watch his remarks:

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Council President Darrell L. Clarke is serving his second term as the President of Philadelphia City Council. He represents Philadelphia’s 5th Council District. More information at phlcouncil.com/DarrellClarke

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