City of Lancaster, PA
Lancaster County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the City Council of the City of Lancaster 8-23-2016 by Ord. No. 10-2016. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Municipal authorities — See Ch. 17.
A. 
Legislative findings.
(1) 
The City Council of the City of Lancaster finds that the social and economic vitality of the City of Lancaster is adversely affected by the City of Lancaster being home to a large inventory of vacant, abandoned, and tax delinquent properties. These properties continuously impose significant cost on neighborhoods and communities throughout the City by lowering property values, increasing fire and protection costs, undermining public health and sanitation efforts, decreasing tax revenues and undermining community cohesion. Returning these properties to productive use will help to battle and deter blight and solve the aforesaid problems.
(2) 
It is the intent and purpose of this chapter to Create the City of Lancaster Land Bank Authority to facilitate the return of vacant, abandoned, tax delinquent and blighted properties to productive use, to combat community deterioration, to create economic growth and to stabilize the housing and job markets within the City of Lancaster.
(3) 
The City of Lancaster Land Bank Authority will acquire, hold and transfer interests in real property throughout the City of Lancaster as approved by the Authority's Board of Directors to deter the spread of blight, to promote redevelopment and reuse of vacant and abandoned tax delinquent properties, to support targeted efforts to stabilize neighborhoods, to stimulate residential, commercial and industrial development, and in any other ways that are consistent with the goals and priorities established by this chapter, local governmental partners and other community stakeholders.
(4) 
As set forth in this chapter, the City of Lancaster and the Redevelopment Authority of the City of Lancaster shall identify all surplus vacant property which meet the criteria for redevelopment as set forth in this chapter and notify the City of Lancaster Land Bank Authority of their desire to have these properties acquired and developed by the Authority.
B. 
Authority. This chapter is adopted in accordance with the provisions of Act 153 of 2012, P.L. 1239, an enactment of the Pennsylvania General Assembly signed by the Governor on October 24, 2012, and codified at 68 Pa.C.S.A. § 2101 et seq.
As used in this chapter, the terms set forth below have the meanings given to them, unless the context clearly indicates otherwise.
BOARD
The Board of Directors of the City of Lancaster Land Bank Authority.
CITY
The City of Lancaster.
CITY OF LANCASTER LAND BANK AUTHORITY, A/K/A LAND BANK
The separate public body corporate in politic established pursuant to and in accordance with the provisions of this chapter and the Land Bank Act.
LAND BANK ACT
Pennsylvania Act 153-2012, 68 Pa.C.S.A. § 2101 et seq., as it exists on the effective date, and as it may be hereafter amended or replaced.
LAND BANK JURISDICTION
As defined in the Land Bank Act, a county, a city, borough, township and/or incorporated town with a population of more than 10,000 people or two or more municipalities with populations less than 10,000 people that enter into an intergovernmental cooperation agreement to establish and maintain a land bank.
MEMBERS
The City and, after formation of the City of Lancaster Land Bank Authority, any land bank jurisdiction or municipality that combines with the City of Lancaster Land Bank Authority, and any taxing jurisdiction that participates with the City of Lancaster Land Bank Authority for the purpose of discharge of liens and claims as provided for in Section 2117(a) of the Land Bank Act.[1]
ORDINANCE
This chapter creating the City of Lancaster Land Bank Authority.
OWNER-OCCUPANT
As defined in the Land Bank Act, a natural person with a legal or equitable ownership interest in property which was the primary residence of the person for at least three consecutive months at any point in the year preceding the date of initial delinquency.
PERSON
An individual, authority, a limited liability company, partnership, firm, corporation, organization, association, joint venture, trust, governmental entity or other legal entity.
REAL PROPERTY
As defined in the Land Bank Act, land and all structures and fixtures thereon and all estates and interests in land, including easements, covenants and leasehold interests.
REDEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY
The Redevelopment Authority of the City of Lancaster.
SCHOOL DISTRICT
As defined in the Land Bank Act, any of the classifications of school districts specified in Section 202 of the Act of March 10, 1949 (P.L. 30, No. 14), known as the "Public School Code of 1949."[2] The term includes, as to any real property acquired, owned or conveyed by a land bank, the school district within whose geographical jurisdiction the real property is located.
TAXING JURISDICTION
A county, city, borough, incorporated town, township, school district, or body politic in corporate created as a municipal authority pursuant to law that may have claims against property that is subject to delinquent tax enforcement procedures and any other similar entities as anticipated or implied by Section 2117(e.1) of the Land Bank Act.[3]
[1]
Editor's Note: See 68 Pa.C.S.A. § 2117(a).
[2]
Editor's Note: See 24 P.S. § 1-101 et seq.
[3]
Editor's Note: See 68 Pa.C.S.A. § 2117(e.1).
The City Council of the City of Lancaster hereby authorizes the creation of a public body corporate in politic to be named the "Lancaster City Land Bank Authority" and hereby establishes the same as a separate legal entity and a public body corporate in politic for the purpose of acting as a land bank under the Land Bank Act and implementing and administering the terms of this chapter. The City of Lancaster Land Bank Authority shall exist until terminated and dissolved in accordance with the terms of this chapter.
A. 
General acquisition. The Land Bank is authorized to acquire real property or real property interests through donation, gift, purchase, or any other legal means, including tax sale or judicial sale, or by transfer from the Lancaster Tax Claim Bureau.
B. 
Purchase. The Land Bank may acquire real property or real property interests by purchase contract, lease purchase agreement, installment sales contract, land contract and other similar agreements.
C. 
Transfers. The Land Bank may accept transfers from the City, the Redevelopment Authority of the City of Lancaster, the school district, the County of Lancaster, authorities of the City of Lancaster, other municipalities or any other public or private entity or person upon terms and conditions agreed to by the Land Bank and the transferring entity or person.
D. 
Transfer of property from the Redevelopment Authority. Pursuant to Section 2109(d)(3) of the Land Bank Act,[1] the Redevelopment Authority of the City of Lancaster may, without a redevelopment contract, transfer property which it acquired before the effective date of this chapter to the City of Lancaster Land Bank Authority, which conveyance shall be through fee simple title, free of all liens and encumbrances.
[1]
Editor's Note: See 68 Pa.C.S.A. § 2109(d)(3).
E. 
Rights or interests. The Land Bank may acquire real property or rights or interests in real property for any purpose that the Land Bank considers necessary to carry out the purposes of this chapter and the Land Bank Act.
F. 
Owner-occupant policies. When the City of Lancaster Land Bank Authority acquires residential properties that are occupied by the owners at the time of acquisition, it shall be the policy of the Land Bank to show a preference for keeping the former owner-occupants in their homes, whenever feasible.
G. 
Eminent domain. The City of Lancaster Land Bank Authority shall not have the power of eminent domain.
H. 
Prohibition on out-of-boundary real property ownership. The City of Lancaster Land Bank Authority shall not own or hold real property or real property interests outside of its jurisdictional boundaries.
I. 
Civil action. The City of Lancaster Land Bank Authority may institute a civil action to prevent, restrain or enjoin the waste of or unlawful removal of any real property title to which is held by the Land Bank.
J. 
Applicable laws. The Land Bank shall maintain its real property and real property interests in accordance with applicable statutes, laws and codes, with a preference for locally sourcing its partnerships, joint ventures, contracts, and other collaborative relationships with private entities for the maintenance, management, and rehabilitation of real property of the Land Bank. In conjunction therewith, the Land Bank may control, hold, manage, maintain, operate, lease as lessor, secure, prevent the waste or deterioration of, demolish, or take all other action necessary to preserve the value of the real property that it owns or holds, and fix, charge, and collect rent, fees and charges for use of Land Bank real property, or real property interests, or for services provided by the Land Bank Authority.
K. 
Website. The Land Bank shall maintain and make publically accessible on its website and at its offices during normal business hours an up-to-date inventory of property owned or held by the Land Bank and a record of all properties conveyed by the Land Bank to other parties within the previous and current calendar year.
L. 
Environmental issues. Should the Land Bank have reason to believe that real property held by the Land Bank may be the site of environmental contamination, the Land Bank shall provide the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) with any information in the possession of the Land Bank that suggests that the real property may contain such conditions. The Land Bank shall cooperate with the DEP with regard to any requests made or action taken by DEP with respect to such properties.
Subject to the policies and procedures of the Board, provisions of this chapter, Land Bank Act, and other applicable laws, the Land Bank may convey, exchange, sell, transfer, lease, grant, or mortgage interests in its real property or real property interests, to any public or private person on terms and conditions, in the form of and by method determined to be in the best interest of the Land Bank through any means authorized under Section 2110 of the Land Bank Act[1] and under the following terms and conditions:
A. 
Consistency with land use plans and planning provisions. All proposed uses of land or buildings on real property disposed of by the City of Lancaster Land Bank Authority shall be consistent with the provisions of the City's Comprehensive Plan.
B. 
Board disposition policies. The Board shall adopt policies and procedures governing the disposition of real property interests. Real property or real property interests shall be conveyed in accordance with the Land Bank Act and according to criteria determined in the discretion of the Board as set forth in policies and procedures adopted by the Board. Those policies may include procedures establishing priorities for a transferee's use of real property conveyed by the Land Bank, which priorities may be for the entire Land Bank jurisdiction or may be set according to the needs of different neighborhoods or other locations within the Land Bank jurisdiction, or according to the nature of the real property.
C. 
Delegation of authority. The Board may delegate disposition authority to the staff of the City of Lancaster Land Bank, except in the following circumstances where the Land Bank is required to approve/deny the disposition by formal action:
(1) 
The proposed terms of the transaction conflict with the Land Bank's published policies or procedures.
(2) 
When otherwise required by state law.
D. 
Coordination. The Land Bank shall coordinate with the Redevelopment Authority of the City of Lancaster where a redevelopment or project involves properties acquired by the Redevelopment Authority of the City of Lancaster, as well as properties acquired and/or owned by the City of Lancaster Land Bank Authority, and shall strive to ensure a synchronized disposition process.
E. 
Consideration. The Board shall state in its policies and procedures the general terms and conditions for consideration to be received by the Land Bank for the transfer of real property and real property interests. The Board shall determine the amount and form of consideration necessary to convey, exchange, sell, transfer, lease, grant, or mortgage interests in real property. Consideration may take the form of monetary payments and secured financial obligations, covenants and conditions related to the present and future use of the property, contractual commitments of the transferee and other forms of consideration as determined by the Board to be in the best interest of the Land Bank.
F. 
Municipal disposition requirements not applicable. Requirements which may be applicable to the disposition of real property and interests in real property of the City of Lancaster shall not be applicable to the disposition of real property and interests in real property by the City of Lancaster Land Bank Authority pursuant to Section 2110(d)(2) of the Land Bank Act.[2]
[2]
Editor's Note: See 68 Pa.C.S.A. § 2110(d)(2).
[1]
Editor's Note: See 68 Pa.C.S.A. § 2110.
A. 
Market value shall be determine by up-to-date data and by using the valuation method that the Land Bank or its staff had determined is most appropriate given the particular conditions of the property and surrounding market.
B. 
Nominal or reduced-price disposition shall be an option for any property owned by the Land Bank.
C. 
In calculating a reduced sales price, the discount shall take into account the benefit provided by the proposed use, and the amount of discount needed to make the project both initially financially feasible and continually sustainable.
D. 
For housing projects servicing households at a mix of income levels, the Land Bank may count the number of low and moderate income households served and provide proportionate discounting.
E. 
The Land Bank shall make available an appeals process wherein a potential purchaser may submit evidence relevant to the value of the property.
F. 
The Land Bank shall enforce any provisions agreed upon as conditions of sale between the transferee and the Land Bank through legally binding mechanisms, including but not limited to deed restrictions, covenants, and mortgages.
The City of Lancaster Land Bank Authority is authorized to discharge liens and other municipal claims, charges or fines of the City of Lancaster and may seek to enter into an agreement for discharges from the applicable municipal body against the properties that it acquires. For the duration of the time a property is held by the City of Lancaster Land Bank Authority, the Land Bank is authorized to abate all real estate taxes, water and sewer charges and other municipal charges by the City of Lancaster and, to the extent necessary, may seek abatement or non-taxable status from other applicable government entities.
A. 
The City of Lancaster Land Bank Authority shall not spend any public funds on political activities. Subject to the foregoing, this section is not intended to prohibit the Land Bank from engaging in activities authorized by applicable law.
B. 
No provision of this chapter is intended, nor shall it be construed, as a waiver by the City of any governmental immunity provided to the City or the Land Bank under any applicable law.
C. 
The Land Bank shall comply with all applicable laws prohibiting discrimination. The Land Bank shall be committed to assure that the public body, its Board, its staff, and those under its direction and control shall provide services in a manner that does not discriminate against an individual because of religion, race, color, natural origin, age, sex, sexual orientation, height, weight, marital status, partisan considerations, disability or genetic information. The Land Bank shall not fail or refuse to hire, recruit, promote, demote, discharge, or otherwise discriminate against an individual with respect to employment, compensation, or a term, condition or privilege of employment, because of religion, race, color, natural origin, age, sex, sexual orientation, height, weight, marital status, partisan considerations, disability or genetic information.
A. 
Board of Directors.
(1) 
Appointments. The Land Bank shall be governed by a Board of Directors comprised of seven members who reflect the diversity and range of interests affected by the Land Bank's activities. Each member of the Redevelopment Authority on the date of creation of the Land Bank shall serve on the Land Bank Authority for the same term as his or her term on the Redevelopment Authority of the City of Lancaster, and the Lancaster City Council shall appoint two additional members who are residents of Lancaster City and at least one of whom shall not be a public official or municipal employee and shall maintain a membership with a recognized civic organization in Lancaster City.
(a) 
The members of the Redevelopment Authority shall serve on the Land Bank Authority Board for so long as they serve on the Redevelopment Authority, and the Lancaster City Council shall appoint two additional members who also shall serve a four-year staggered term with the first member appointed to serve a four-year term from January 1 of the year of the creation of the Land Bank Authority and the second member appointed to serve a two-year term from January 1 of the year of the creation of the Land Bank Authority. Members may be appointed for consecutive terms thereafter, with each term being for four years or the unexpired portion thereof. Newly appointed members of the Redevelopment Authority shall automatically be a member of the Board of Directors of the Land Bank for a term the same as his or her term on the Redevelopment Authority.
(b) 
Members shall continue to serve until their successors have been appointed and confirmed.
(c) 
Members shall serve without compensation and may seek reimbursement for expenses associated with duties relating to Land Bank activities.
(d) 
Members of the Board of the Land Bank and its employees shall be subject to the Act of July 19, 1957 (P.L. 101), No. 451, known as the "State Adverse Interest Act" and the ethical standards and disclosure requirements of 65 Pa.C.S.A. Chapter 11 and any other supplemental rules and guidelines adopted by the Board of the Land Bank.
(2) 
Officers. The Land Bank members shall elect officers to serve as Chair, Vice Chair, Secretary and Treasurer to serve one-year terms. Members may be reelected to serve successive terms. The duties of officers shall be established by the Board according to law.
(3) 
Vacancies. Any vacancy in the two members appointed by the Lancaster City Council shall be filled by appointment by the Lancaster City Council. Vacancies in members serving by virtue of appointment to the Redevelopment Authority of the City of Lancaster shall be filled by the person appointed to fill that vacancy at the Redevelopment Authority.
(4) 
Meetings.
(a) 
The Land Bank shall hold regular public meetings, shall make each meeting's agenda available on the Land Bank's website in advance of such meeting and shall allow for public comment on matters under deliberation at each such public meeting. The place, date and time of the Land Bank meetings shall be determined at the discretion of the Board of Directors. All meetings of the Board of Directors shall comply with the Pennsylvania Sunshine Act.[1] The Chair of the Board may call special meetings by written notice of at least 24 hours to each Board member and in accordance with the Pennsylvania Sunshine Act.
[1]
Editor's Note: See 65 Pa.C.S.A. § 701 et seq.
(b) 
A quorum shall be necessary for the transaction of any business by the Board of Directors. A majority of the members of the Board of Directors, excluding vacancies on the Board, shall constitute a quorum. The Board of Directors shall act by a majority vote of the members at a meeting at which a quorum is present, except as otherwise provided in this chapter. No voting by proxy shall be permitted.
(c) 
Minutes of all meetings of the Board of Directors and its committees shall be made and maintained.
(5) 
Land Bank powers. The directors of the Land Bank are under a fiduciary duty to conduct the activities and affairs of the Land Bank in the best interest of the residents of the City of Lancaster, including the safekeeping and use of all Land Bank monies and assets. The Board of Directors shall discharge its duties in good faith, with the care an ordinary prudent person in a like position would exercise under similar circumstances. The Land Bank shall have the following powers and duties:
(a) 
To develop stewardship and management plans for each acquired interest not inconsistent with or detrimental to the purpose/rationale which justifies its acquisition;
(b) 
To supervise the management of the property interests acquired;
(c) 
To develop annual reports of Land Bank activity;
(d) 
To conduct real property appraisals;
(e) 
To negotiate real property purchases or trades;
(f) 
To provide for a system of accounting;
(g) 
To adopt, amend and/or repeal policies and procedure for contracting and procurement which must be consistent with the provisions set forth in the Lancaster City Codified Ordinances;
(h) 
To borrow money from private lenders, for cities or counties, for the state or from federal government funds to further or carry out the Land Bank's public purpose by executing leases, trust indentures, trust agreements, agreements for the sale notes, loan agreements, mortgages, deeds to secure debt, trust deeds, security agreements, assignments, and such other agreements or instruments as may be necessary or desirable, in the judgment of the Land Bank, to evidence and to provide security for such borrowing;
(i) 
To make application directly or indirectly to any federal, state, county or municipal government or agency or to any other source, whether public or private, for loans, grants, gifts, guarantees, labor, or other aid or financial assistance in furtherance of the Land Bank's public purpose and to accept and use the same upon such terms and conditions as are prescribed by such federal, state, county, or municipal government or agency or other source;
(j) 
The City hereby assents to real estate tax payment allocation to the Land Bank for properties returned to the tax rolls after Land Bank ownership with regard to Lancaster City real estate taxes to the extent allowed by state law, and the Land Bank Authority is authorized to seek allocation of real estate taxes on return of land to the tax rolls after Land Bank ownership by agreement with other applicable taxing authorities; and
(k) 
All other powers and duties provided for, authorized or allocated under Act 153 of 2012, 68 Pa.C.S.A. § 2107.
A. 
Employees. The Land Bank may engage staff and/or employ in conjunction with the Redevelopment Authority or other partnering public entities, including an executive director, counsel and technical experts and other individuals.
B. 
Contract. The Land Bank may enter into a contract or memorandum of understanding or intergovernmental cooperation agreement with a municipality for:
(1) 
The municipality to provide staffing services to the Land Bank; or
(2) 
The Land Bank to provide staffing service to the municipality; or
(3) 
The municipality to provide services to the Land Bank.
A. 
The Land Bank shall obtain insurance to defend and indemnify the Land Bank and the members of the Board of Directors with respect to all claims or judgments arising out of their activities as members with respect to all negligence claims or judgments arising out of Land Bank activities performed on behalf of the Land Bank or City. Insurance may be through coverage by the City of Lancaster.
B. 
The City of Lancaster shall indemnify the Land Bank and the members of the Board of Directors, except it shall not be obligated to indemnify the Land Bank Board members for:
(1) 
Punitive damages or liability arising out of conduct which is based upon willful or wanton conduct.
(2) 
Conduct which is outside the scope of the Land Bank.
(3) 
Any settlement or judgment in which the City did not participate.
(4) 
The defense of any criminal or disciplinary proceeding.
C. 
To be eligible for defense and indemnification, the Land Bank or Board members shall be obligated to:
(1) 
Notify, within five days of receipt, the City of Lancaster of any claim made against the members or Land Bank and deliver all written demands, complaints and other legal papers received with respect to such claim.
(2) 
Cooperate during the investigation and defense of any claim against the City or any member of the Land Bank, including, but not limited to, preparing for and attending depositions, hearings and trials and otherwise assisting in securing and giving evidence.
A taxing jurisdiction may participate in the City of Lancaster Land Bank Authority pursuant to an intergovernmental cooperation agreement. The agreement must specify the membership, if any, of the taxing jurisdiction on the Board and the actions of the City of Lancaster Land Bank Authority which are subject to approval by the taxing jurisdiction.
A. 
Third-party beneficiaries. Except as otherwise specifically provided, this chapter does not create in any person, other than the City, and is not intended to create by implication or otherwise, any direct or indirect benefit, obligation, duty, promise, right to be indemnified (such as contractually, legally, equitably, or by implication), or right to be subrogated to the City's rights under this chapter, or any other right or benefit.
B. 
Immunity. Except as they might otherwise contractually agree, the City and any municipality or taxing jurisdiction that combines or participates in the Land Bank after the effective date hereof shall not be liable personally on the bonds or other obligations of the City of Lancaster Land Bank Authority. Rights or creditors of the City of Lancaster Land Bank Authority shall be solely against the Land Bank pursuant to Section 2105(i) of the Land Bank Act.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: See 68 Pa.C.S.A. § 2105(i).
The Mayor, Solicitor and other proper officials of the City of Lancaster be and hereby are directed by the City Council of the City of Lancaster to take any and all actions necessary to effectuate the provisions of this chapter and the creation of the City of Lancaster Land Bank Authority, including, without limitation, the filing of this chapter with the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development and the Department of State.