City of Easton, PA
Northampton County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Council of the City of Easton 9-24-1980 by Ord. No. 2570 (Art. 181 of the 1965 Codified Ordinances). Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Redevelopment Authority — See Ch. 12, Art. VI.
Planning Commission — See Ch. 119.
Property maintenance and housing standards — See Ch. 435.

§ 152-1 Purpose.

The purposes of this chapter are to establish a Vacant Property Review Committee of the City to implement provisions of the Urban Redevelopment Law of 1945, as amended by Act 94 of 1978,[1] and to promote reuse of and reinvestment in properties in the City. This Committee shall be known and may be referred to as the "Easton Vacant Property Review Committee," hereinafter termed the "Committee."
[1]
Editor's Note: See 35 P.S. § 1701 et seq.

§ 152-2 Members; term.

A. 
The Vacant Property Review Committee shall consist of seven members, as follows:
(1) 
One Council member who is appointed by the President of Council.
(2) 
The Executive Director of the Redevelopment Authority, or his/her designee.
(3) 
One member of the Planning Commission as appointed by the Commission's Chairman.
(4) 
The Director of the Department of Planning and Codes, or his/her designee.
[Amended 8-26-2009 by Ord. No. 5215]
(5) 
One member to be designated by the Mayor (Building Inspector/Bureau Chief).
(6) 
Two additional members to be appointed by Council.
B. 
Such member shall serve a term of three years or until such time as successors are appointed and qualified.
[Amended 2-28-2007 by Ord. No. 4923]

§ 152-3 Redevelopment Authority's power to acquire blighted property.

[Amended 8-26-2009 by Ord. No. 5215]
Notwithstanding any other provisions of law, the Redevelopment Authority shall have the power to acquire by purchase, gift, bequest, eminent domain or otherwise any blighted property, as defined in § 152-4, either within or outside of a certified redevelopment area and, further, shall have the power to hold, clear, manage and/or dispose of such property for residential and related use and commercial or industrial reuse. This power shall be exercised in accord with the procedures set forth in this chapter.

§ 152-4 Blighted property defined.

Blighted property shall include:
A. 
Any premises 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 local housing, building, plumbing, fire and related codes;
B. 
Any premises which, because of physical condition, use or occupancy, is considered an attractive nuisance to children, including, but not limited to, abandoned wells, shafts, basements, excavations and unsafe fences or structures;
C. 
Any dwelling which, because it is dilapidated, unsanitary, unsafe, vermin-infested or lacking in the facilities and equipment required by the Housing Code, has been designated by the Bureau of Codes and Inspections as unfit for human habitation;
[Amended 8-26-2009 by Ord. No. 5215]
D. 
Any structure which is a fire hazard or is otherwise dangerous to the safety of persons or property;
E. 
Any 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;
F. 
Any vacant or unimproved lot or parcel of ground in a predominantly built-up neighborhood, which by reason of neglect or lack of maintenance has become a place for the accumulation of trash and debris or a haven for rodents or other vermin;
G. 
Any unoccupied property which has become tax-delinquent for a period of two years prior to the effective date of this section and those in the future having a two-year tax delinquency; or
H. 
Any property which is vacant but not tax-delinquent and which has not been rehabilitated or repaired within one year of the receipt of a notice to repair or demolish from the Bureau of Codes and Inspections.
[Amended 8-26-2009 by Ord. No. 5215]

§ 152-5 Residential and related use.

"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 services and neighborhood parking lots.

§ 152-6 Certification to Redevelopment Authority; exceptions; appeal.

The Vacant Property Review Committee and the Planning Commission, upon making a determination that any property is blighted within the terms of this chapter, must certify such blighted property to the Redevelopment Authority, except that:
A. 
No property shall be certified to the Redevelopment Authority unless it is vacant.
B. 
The owner or his agent shall have the right of appeal from the determination of blighted property before the Property Maintenance Review Board of Appeals.
[Amended 8-26-2009 by Ord. No. 5215]
C. 
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 Bureau Chief of Codes and Inspections.
[Amended 8-26-2009 by Ord. No. 5215]
D. 
No single vacant lot or parcel of ground shall be certified to the Redevelopment Authority under this section on which more than 10 dwelling units can be constructed under existing zoning regulations.

§ 152-7 Advisory functions.

A. 
The Vacant Property Review Committee may advise, at its own discretion, the Redevelopment Authority in matters relating to the establishment and modification of policies, priorities and procedures affecting the disposition of properties acquired through the certification process of the Committee.
B. 
The Committee may advise, at its own discretion, the Department of Planning and Codes in matters relating to the provision of financial, advisory and technical rehabilitation assistance affecting reinvestment in properties acquired through the certification process of the Committee.
[Amended 8-26-2009 by Ord. No. 5215]
C. 
The Committee may advise, at its own discretion, other municipal agencies in matters relating to the functions of such agencies affecting the acquisition, disposition and reinvestment in properties which have been or may be acquired through the certification process of the Committee.
D. 
The Committee may advise, at its own discretion, appropriate agencies in matters relating to the position of publicly owned properties in the City.
E. 
The Committee 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 by such agencies.

§ 152-8 Reuse of acquired property.

A. 
Acquisition and disposition of blighted property under this chapter 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 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 Planning Commission certifies that disposition for residential or related use would not be in accord with the Comprehensive Plan of the City.
B. 
Property disposed of within a redevelopment area shall be disposed of under a redevelopment contract in accordance with the provisions of Urban Redevelopment Law (Act of May 24, 1945, P.L. 991 et seq.), as amended.
C. 
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.
D. 
Power of eminent domain shall be exercised pursuant to a resolution of the Redevelopment Authority and the procedure set forth in the Act of June 22, 1964, (Sp. Sess., P.L. 84, No. 6) known as the "Eminent Domain Code," as amended.