[HISTORY: Adopted the City Council of the City of Pittston 8-15-2018 by Ord. No. 10-2018. Amendments noted where applicable.]
The purposes of these provision are, consistent with the preservation of neighborhoods and protection of low- and moderate-income prisons against displacement as stated in the legislative findings above, to establish a vacant property review committee of the City of Pittston to implement the provisions of the State Urban Redevelopment Law of 1945, as amended by Act 94 of 1978 and Act 39 of 1988, and to promote reuse of the reinvestment in properties in the City of Pittston. This vacant property review committee shall be known and may be referred to as the "Pittston Blighted Property Board," hereinafter termed the "Board."
Editor's Note: See 35 P.S. § 1701 et seq.
The Board shall consist of five members, as follows:
The Mayor of the City of Pittston;
Executive Director of the Redevelopment Authority of the City of Pittston, or his/her designee;
One member of the Pittston City Planning Commission, as appointed by the Commission's Chairman;
The City Administrator of the City of Pittston; and
One citizen to be designated by the Mayor of the City of Pittston.
[Amended 2-19-2020 by Ord. No. 8-2020]
Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the Redevelopment Authority of the City of Pittston shall have the power to acquire by purchase, gift, bequest, eminent domain or otherwise any blighted property, as defined herein, either within or outside of a certified redevelopment area and, further, shall have the power to hold, clear, manage and/or dispose of said property for residential and related use or commercial or industrial reuse, as provided by law. This power shall be exercised in accord with the procedure set forth in the Guidebook to the Property Blight and Reinvestment Process for the City of Pittston.
Blighted property shall include the following:
A premise which because of physical condition or use is regarded as a public nuisance at common law or has been declared a public nuisance in accordance with the municipal housing, building, plumbing, fire and related codes.
A dwelling which, because it is dilapidated, unsanitary, unsafe, vermin-infested or lacking in the facilities and equipment required by stature or an applicable municipal code, has been designated by the agency responsible for enforcement of the statute or code as unfit for human habitation.
A structure that is a fire hazard or is otherwise dangerous to the safety of persons or property.
A structure, from which the utilities, plumbing, heating, sewerage or other facilities have been disconnected, destroyed, removed or rendered ineffective so that the property is unfit for its intended use.
Any vacant or unimproved lot or parcel or ground in a predominantly built-up neighborhood which, by reason of neglect or lack of maintenance, has become a place for accumulation of trash and debris or a haven for rodents and other vermin.
Any unoccupied property which has been tax delinquent for a period of two years.
A property which is vacant but not tax delinquent, and which has not been rehabilitated within one year of the receipt of notice to rehabilitate from the appropriate enforcement agency
Criteria for an abandoned property:
It is a vacant or unimproved lot or parcel of ground on which a municipal lien for the cost of demolition of a structure located on the property remain unpaid for a period of six months.
It is a vacant property or vacant or unimproved lot or parcel of ground on which the total of municipals liens on the property for tax or other type of claim of the City are in excess of 150% of the fair market value of the property as established by the Luzerne County Tax Assessment Office or the body with legal authority to determine the taxable value of the property; or
The property has been declared abandoned by the owner including an estate that is in possession of the property.
A property which has defective or unusual conditions of title or no known owners, rendering title unmarketable.
A property which has environmentally hazardous conditions, solid waste pollution or contamination in a building or on the land which poses a direct and immediate threat to the health, safety and welfare of the community.
A property having three or more of the following characteristics:
Has unsafe or hazardous conditions that do not meet current use, occupancy or fire codes;
Has unsafe external and internal accessways;
Violates the applicable property maintenance code adopted by a municipality and is an immediate threat to public health and safety;
Is located in a redevelopment area with a density of at least 1,000 people per square mile or a redevelopment area with more than 90% of the units of property being nonresidential or a municipality with a density of at least 2,500 people per square mile.
Residential and related use shall include residential property for sale or rental and related uses, including but not limited to, park and recreation areas, neighborhood community service and neighborhood parking lots.
The Board and the Pittston City Planning Commission, upon making a determination that any property is blighted within the terms of this chapter, must certify said blighted property to the Redevelopment Authority, except that:
No property shall be certified to the Redevelopment Authority unless it is vacant. A property shall be considered vacant if:
The property is unoccupied or its occupancy has not been authorized by the owner of the property.
In the case of an unimproved lot of parcel of ground, a lien for the cost of demolition of any structure located on the property remains unpaid for a period of six months; or
In the case of an unimproved lot or parcel of ground, the property has remained in violation of any provision of City building, property maintenance or related codes applicable to such lots or parcels, including licensing requirements, for a period of six months.
No property shall be certified to the Redevelopment Authority unless the owner of the property or an agent designated by him for receipt of service of notices within the municipality has been served with notice of the determination that the property is blighted, together with an appropriate order to eliminate the conditions causing the blight and notification that failure to do so may render the property subject to condemnation under this chapter. The notice shall be served upon the owner or his agent in accord with the provisions of a local ordinance pertaining to service of notice of determination of a public nuisance. The owner or his agent shall have the right of appeal from the determination of public nuisance.
No blighted property shall be certified to the Redevelopment Authority until the time period for appeal has expired and no appeal has been taken, or, if taken, the appeal has been disposed of and the owner or his agent has failed to comply with the order of the Chief Building Official of the City of Pittston or other office or agency.
The Board may advise at its own discretion the Redevelopment Authority in matter relating to the establishment and modification of policies, priorities and procedures affecting the disposition of properties acquired through the certification process of the Board.
No property shall be certified to the Redevelopment Authority unless the owner of the property or an agent designated by him for receipt of service of notices within the municipality has been served with notice of the determination that the property is blighted, together with an appropriate order to eliminate the conditions causing the blight and notification that failure to do so may render the property subject to condemnation under this chapter. The notice shall be served upon the owner or his agent in accord with the provisions of the Guidebook to the Property Blight and Reinvestment Process for the City of Pittston for notice of determination of a blight. The owner or his agent shall have the right of appeal to the Joint Code Appeals Board within 30 days of the initial notice of blight.
[Amended 2-19-2020 by Ord. No. 8-2020]
The Board may advise at its own discretion other municipal agencies in matter relating to the functions of said agencies affecting the acquisition, disposition and reinvestment in properties which have been or may be acquired through the certification process of the Board.
The Board may advise at its own discretion appropriate agencies in matters relating to the disposition of publicly owned properties in the City of Pittston.
The Board may advise at its own discretion appropriate agencies in the design, development and implementation of homesteading and other property reinvestment programs which may from time to time be effectuated in the City of Pittston by such agencies.
The Board shall do such other acts, including but not limited to the promulgation and implementation of rules and regulations as may be necessary to fulfill the duties, obligations and administration of Pennsylvania Act 94 of 1978 and this chapter.
Acquisition and disposition of blighted property under this article shall not require preparation, adoption or approval of a redevelopment area plan or redevelopment proposal, but at least 30 days prior to acquisition of any property, the Redevelopment Authority shall transmit identification of the property to the Pittston City Planning Commission and shall request a recommendation as to the appropriate reuse of the property. The Redevelopment Authority shall not acquire the property where the Pittston City Planning Commission certifies that disposition for residential or related use or commercial or industrial reuse would both be in accord with the Comprehensive Plan of the municipality.
Property disposed of within a redevelopment area shall be disposed of under a redevelopment contract in accordance with the provisions of this chapter.
Property disposed of outside an urban renewal project area shall be disposed of by deed in accordance with the provisions set forth in applicable law.