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CLARKE, QUIÑONES-SÁNCHEZ, JOHNSON, AND BLACKWELL INTRODUCE LEGISLATION TO STREAMLINE SALES OF VACANT CITY LAND, INCREASE TRANSPARENCY

In Council News, Darrell L. Clarke, Jannie Blackwell, Kenyatta Johnson, Maria D. Quiñones-Sánchez, News by PHL Council

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Philadelphia, June 20, 2019 – Philadelphia City Council President Darrell L. Clarke (5th District) today introduced an ordinance to streamline the process for vacant land sales in the City of Philadelphia, increasing uniformity and transparency at all stages.

Under the ordinance:

  • Applicants for city-owned land would receive a determination from the land-holding agency within 180 days.
  • The land-holding agency and its board of directors, rather than the Vacant Property Review Committee (VPRC), would review applications and determine the means of disposition, conditions of sale, pricing and restrictions.
  • The land-holding agency would be responsible for monitoring and enforcing the conditions and restrictions of its sales.
  • The Department of Planning and Development would develop an annual Uniform Strategic Plan to articulate the targets, goals and outcomes relating to vacant land disposition across the city.

The ordinance is co-sponsored by Councilmembers Maria Quiñones-Sánchez (7th District), Kenyatta Johnson (2nd District) and Jannie Blackwell (3rd District).

Council President Clarke said, “Based on our internal analysis of almost twenty years of city land sales, as well as some feedback from our partners, we’re introducing these reforms to increase transparency and remove some of the steps that slow down the process. We believe that these reforms preserve needed checks and balances in the disposition process as well as Council’s responsibilities under the state code.”

“Today’s landmark reform is about giving our neighbors a way to transform 40,000 blighted lots across the city into productive community spaces. A simple, uniform process is the only way we can achieve this goal,” said Councilmember Quiñones-Sánchez.

Councilmember Kenyatta Johnson said “These reforms — along with the unification of staff under the PHDC umbrella — will help transform the City’s handling of vacant property for the better. We are now a big step closer to the more accessible, equitable and effective system that Philadelphia deserves.”

In addition to the above changes, the ordinance also outlines the creation, composition, terms and responsibilities of the Blight Reduction Committee, as required under the state’s Urban Redevelopment Law.

A link to the full ordinance is below.

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