Westmoreland County authority to buy, rehab and sell parcels
Westmoreland County's land bank will be open for business next year.
County commissioners have approved the creation of the quasi-governmental body, which will purchase blighted properties with an eye toward rehabilitating them, selling them and returning them to the tax rolls.
The approval was delayed about a month as officials fine-tuned the ordinance that established the bank.
“I've been trying to get this done for a while. It was an unnecessary delay, but I'm excited to move this forward,” Commissioner Ted Kopas said.
The land bank will assist cities and other municipalities that have large numbers of unusable properties, according to the ordinance approved by commissioners.
The land bank will consider retail, commercial and industrial uses for properties as its first priority. Affordable housing, public spaces and conservation areas also will be considered for future uses.
Originally slated for approval in November, the passage of the ordinance was delayed because commissioners Charles Anderson and Tyler Courtney said they wanted to expand the land bank's board of directors.
The panel was to include the five members of the county's redevelopment authority board. Anderson and Courtney recently expanded the board to seven members and appointed attorney Scott Avolio and real estate agent James Watson Sr. to serve on the board as well.
“We thought that we needed that expertise. Hopefully, this will turn into a juggernaut,” Anderson said.
Officials said that more than 500 properties are in a repository of unwanted land taken by the county for back taxes. The properties will be eligible for purchase by the land bank, commissioners said.
The land bank will look to purchase privately owned, blighted properties that eventually might be marketable.
The redevelopment authority has agreed to lend the land bank $50,000 in startup costs for an initial purchase of properties. Municipalities that agree to participate with the land bank will be asked to donate $5,000 to the project, officials said.
Half of all real estate taxes assessed on properties sold by the land bank during the first five years of its existence would be kept by the agency to provide a continuous stream of funding, according to officials.
Rich Cholodofsky is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-830-6293 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Latrobe ear-biting suspect loses bid for reduced bail
- Request for documents delays Speedway hearing in Unity
- Youngwood aims to reduce amount that ends up in sewage treatment facility
- Westmoreland County tourism grants promote banana splits, breweries, trolley, railroad
- Foreign clergy mitigate shortage of priests in Diocese of Greensburg
- Blaze guts South Greensburg home, kills 2 dogs
- Forbes: Night at the Races planned at sportsmen’s club
- Hempfield infant fights rare disease
- Laurel Mountain Ski Resort discusses planned revival
- Ligonier doctor’s appeal to practice rejected
- Mt. Pleasant known for backing military, glass industries, health care