TribLIVE

| Opinion/The Review

 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Proceed with caution

Email Newsletters

Click here to sign up for one of our email newsletters.

Letters home ...

Traveling abroad for personal, educational or professional reasons?

Why not share your impressions — and those of residents of foreign countries about the United States — with Trib readers in 150 words?

The world's a big place. Bring it home with Letters Home.

Contact Colin McNickle (412-320-7836 or cmcnickle@tribweb.com).

Daily Photo Galleries

Thursday, Jan. 30, 2014, 8:55 p.m.
 

Getting about 26,000 dilapidated Pittsburgh properties redeveloped and back on the tax rolls is a worthy goal. But before the Peduto administration and City Council supporters plunge ahead with a new land bank as that vehicle, potential problems must be considered.

The city and its Urban Redevelopment Authority own about half of these properties. Advocates say the land bank could consolidate them, clear their titles, remove liens that keep tax-delinquent parcels unsold at sheriff's sales and help developers acquire them. But the Allegheny Institute's Jake Haulk says the URA could work toward similar ends with the taxing bodies involved. He questions the necessity of this new, quasi-public land bank, saying there are “enough authorities around already.”

The land bank could borrow money, issue bonds and hire or contract for staff. But its unelected board — four mayoral and three council appointees — would be less than fully accountable to taxpayers.

Favoring the politically connected, land banks in St. Louis and elsewhere have bred corruption, says the Commonwealth Foundation's Elizabeth Stelle. And she and Mr. Haulk agree that land banks bring top-down, winner-picking governmental meddling to endeavors best left to the private sector.

The Pittsburgh land bank idea sounds good at first blush. But its fate must rest on whether it still seems to be so once the pratfalls are weighted.

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.

 

 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read Editorials

  1. Pittsburgh Tuesday takes
  2. The Kane case: Distractions mount
  3. Greensburg Tuesday takes
  4. Tuesday takes
  5. Alle-Kiski Tuesday takes
  6. Trumpeting ObamaCare: The Medicaid factor
  7. The Solyndra scandal: Government culpability
  8. U.N. Watch: More propaganda
  9. President Carbon: Hypocrisy’s trip
  10. Ford City facts: Blaming the messenger
  11. The Thursday wrap