City Of Wilkes-Barre Partners With Florida-Based Management Company To Enforce Registry Of Blighted Properties

WILKES-BARRE, PA — City officials on Monday announced an agreement with a Florida-based management company to maintain a database of the city’s ballooning number of blighted properties. The database will also allow residents to submit locations of abandoned properties on the city’s website.

The partnership comes at no cost to taxpayers, said Andrew LaFratte, municipal affairs manager.

LaFratte said Community Champions, formed in 2008, will receive half of every $200 registration fee the city gets when a vacant property is registered. An ordinance enacted in 2010 initially proposed an incremental charge for vacant properties, ranging from $150 the first year to more than $5,000 for a property vacant more than 10 years.

Community Champions will be charged with establishing the database and populating it with parcel data. Once the tool is live, LaFratte said, city officials will be trained on it. LaFratte said the entire process will likely be completed within a month.

Read more:

http://www.timesleader.com/news/local-news-news/153022937/Blight-registry-in-new-hands

No Man’s Land, Atlantic City

full-state map

full-state map (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Tucked into northeast Atlantic City, where ocean meets inlet, is a two-by-six block expanse of undeveloped land that in other shore towns would be carved up by wealthy outsiders to build $2 million homes.

Instead, the few surviving, decades-old houses dot hundreds of empty lots like jagged teeth at the mouth of a yawning ocean in this sleepy part of town. Some call it North Beach; others South Inlet. Bill Terrigino, 69, lives at one end, his home one of those visible teeth.

An empty Revel casino shimmers in the background, emblematic of the mirage Atlantic City has become. Terrigino, a laid-off casino banquet server who resembles a Jersey Shore version of Hemingway, has a two-story home on South Metropolitan Avenue.

His house boasts an unobstructed waterfront view – but not by design. It’s just that nothing stands between it and the Atlantic Ocean.

Read more: http://www.philly.com/philly/news/new_jersey/No_Mans_Land_Atlantic_City_.html

Pittsburgh City Council Members Air Doubts About Land Bank Legislation

A map of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with its nei...

A map of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with its neighborhoods labeled. For use primarily in the list of Pittsburgh neighborhoods. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A letter that four Pittsburgh City Council members sent to 30,000 Pittsburgh residents called a land bank proposal “predatory” and promoted a meeting set for Tuesday evening to discuss potential alternatives.

The letter, dated March 18, is signed by council members R. Daniel Lavelle of the Hill District, Darlene Harris of Spring Garden, Theresa Kail-Smith of Westwood and Ricky Burgess of North Point Breeze. It went to residents of their council districts.

A proposal from Councilwoman Deb Gross of Highland Park would establish a city land bank as a way to transfer vacant city-owned or tax delinquent properties to homebuyers and developers.

Read more: http://triblive.com/news/adminpage/5823332-74/council-bank-community#ixzz2wvfQp8P8
Follow us: @triblive on Twitter | triblive on Facebook

Enhanced by Zemanta

Zoning Change Approved, Finally, For Franklin Mint Site

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Delaware County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Delaware County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

MIDDLETOWN TOWNSHIP, PA –  A decade after the Franklin Mint closed, its round museum building still sits vacant along busy Baltimore Pike in Delaware County.

Development of the prominent property has been plagued by opposition from residents, a slow economy, and – most recently – a legal battle among the developers.

But the plan took a step forward this week when a revised zoning ordinance won approval from the Middletown Township Council. The site, with more than 170 acres, could now have 350 townhouses, offices, retail space, and a hotel.

Its completion could take years. By that time, the site could become just one piece in a transformation of the heavily traveled Route 1 through Middletown.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/20140301_Zoning_change_approved__finally__for_Franklin_Mint_site.html#61TJpi4ej4yS7q3Z.99

Enhanced by Zemanta

Westmoreland County Will Ask For $1 Million From State To Raze Monsour Medical Center

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Westmoreland ...

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Westmoreland County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Westmoreland County will ask the state for $1 million to pay for demolition of the former Monsour Medical Center in Jeannette, which officials say has deteriorated to the point it poses a hazard for pedestrians and motorists.

Jason Rigone, executive director of the Westmoreland County Industrial Development Corp., will ask the county commissioners on Thursday to approve a business plan that will be submitted to the Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program in Harrisburg by the Feb. 7 deadline.

The program is highly competitive. Last year, Gov. Tom Corbett approved 58 projects totaling $133 million across the state.

“It will be competitive going in for Monsour, but I think the state sees Monsour as a priority,” Rigone said.

Read more: http://triblive.com/news/westmoreland/5465027-74/county-million-monsour#ixzz2rKuPVrIl
Follow us: @triblive on Twitter | triblive on Facebook

Enhanced by Zemanta

East King Street Building To Fall For New Building To Rise

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lancaster County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lancaster County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The three story building at 26 E. King St. in downtown Lancaster has been a furniture store, a bank, and a drug store.

But in recent years, it has been empty and it has been neglected.

And, in the near future, it could be replaced.

On Thursday, members of the Lancaster city Historical Commission voted to recommend approval of plans to demolish the existing building and construct a new three story building in its place.

Read more: http://www.lancasteronline.com/business/east-king-street-building-to-fall-for-new-building-to/article_5fbf78ea-84a5-11e3-8553-001a4bcf6878.html

Enhanced by Zemanta

Fishtown Baseball Factory To Become 30 Homes

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Philadelphia ...

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Philadelphia County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Zoning Board of Adjustment voted Wednesday to grant a handful of variances to Domani Developers, which is planning to convert a former baseball factory at 1701 Tulip Street in Fishtown into a 30-unit apartment complex. (Yes, that’s an empty factory that used to make baseballs: the A.J. Reach sporting goods company.)

The building has been vacant since 2004, according to developer Roland Kassis, and he was unable to find a viable industrial use for the property, which is zoned I-2.  Kassis said that the city in general and Fishtown in particular have seen a growing demand for small, one- and two-bedroom apartments, which is what he intends to put in the building.  According to the zoning application, the developer intends to build a fifth-story addition, roof deck space, and a canopy over the first floor.

The project, designed by architects at Cecil Baker Partners, won the support of the local RCO, Fishtown Neighbors Association, by a vote of 107 to 77.  A quick calculation shows that that is not a unanimous vote, and the reason seems to be parking: the planned apartment complex contains none.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/breaking/Former_Fishtown_baseball_factory_into_30_residences.html#kImEFmot6HpZBt4m.99

Under The Gun: Increase In Crime In Norristown Can Be Traced To Economic Decline

Location of Norristown in Montgomery County

Location of Norristown in Montgomery County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

EDITOR’S NOTE:  This is Part One in a series examining crime in Norristown and possible answers to stem the tide.

NORRISTOWN — Renee Goldman remembers one of the sheer simplicities of Norristown’s golden age: leaving the door wide open on warm days.

She also remembers when crime — largely petty and non-violent, initially — slammed shut the door of her dad’s Main Street business and locked it for good.

“Eventually we went from keeping the door open when the weather was nice to keeping the door locked and opening it only when the customers came,” recalled Goldman, who began working at her father’s Custom Hearing Aids office in the 200 block of East Main Street as a teenager in the 1960s.

Back then she felt safe walking down to Woolworth’s on Main Street on whatever errand her dad, Henry Ginsberg, sent her on.

Read more:  http://www.timesherald.com/article/20130601/NEWS01/130609968/under-the-gun-increase-in-crime-in-norristown-can-be-traced-to-economic-decline#full_story

Blighted Pottstown House Owned By State Rep.’s Chief Of Staff

Editor’s note:  There are a couple of take away items here.  a.  The Pottstown Codes Department evidently can’t process an address change.  Does that require a $5,000.00 “donation”?  b.  The house is in poor condition and needs repairs.  c.  This illustrates the pitfalls of being an “investor” in Pottstown.  Most likely that amount of damage didn’t happen overnight, from the sounds of the report.  How often are problem properties being checked on by an owner or property manager?  It sounds like the house should be demolished except the owner owes money to the bank.  It will be a LONG wait until conditions improve enough in that neighborhood to make fixing up this property economically viable.  So just add another vacant property to Pottstown’s housing stock.

POTTSTOWN — The district chief of staff for state Rep. Mark Painter, D-146th Dist., is the owner of a Walnut Street home that the borough has recently identified as “blighted.”

The designation was advertised in the legal notices of Wednesday’s edition of The Mercury.

Michael A. Lavanga, who heads up Painter’s district office in Sanatoga and has appeared on his behalf at local government meetings, expressed surprise Wednesday when contacted by a reporter about the advertisement.

According to the legal notice, Lavanga has 30 days to make repairs to the property including repairing or replacing rain gutters, loose paint, windows and the front steps to 409 Walnut St.

Read more:  http://www.pottsmerc.com/article/20130412/NEWS04/130419776/blighted-pottstown-house-owned-by-state-rep-s-chief-of-staff#full_story

Bethlehem Zoners Reject South Side Artist Colony

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Northampton C...

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Northampton County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A nonprofit developer said this week’s zoning denial would not stop its multi-million-dollar plan to bring low-rent housing and a convert a vacant church into an art gallery in south Bethlehem.

Housing Development Corp. Midatlantic of Lancaster will go back to the drawing board to determine how to address the parking issues associated with the $11 million project, President Michael Carper said.

“We closed on the properties. We own them. We’re not going away and will make it work,” he said.

Plans included converting the vacant St. Stanislaus Church on Hayes Street into an art gallery accompanied with building 28 new, low-rent townhouses, loft apartments and 26 parking spaces on the property.

Read more:  http://www.mcall.com/news/local/bethlehem/mc-bethlehem-zoners-art-gallery-20120927,0,2601905.story

Enterprising Homeowners Changing The Landscape Of Ailing Neighborhoods Through ‘Blotting

When Buck Harris and his partner, Mike, bought a 145-year-old Italianate house to restore adjacent to Cleveland’s Ohio City neighborhood two decades ago, the neighborhood ambience included drug shootings and corner prostitutes.

“It was a war zone,” Harris says. “The neighborhood was in dramatic decline at the time. It was known as where you go to get heroin.”

Now, as Harris and other intrepid homeowners have gobbled up the vacant and foreclosed lots surrounding their houses over the years and worked to wipe out drug-related crime, the area has been transformed. Many of the nearly block-long lots, or “blots,” they have created look as if they were lifted from a verdant suburb, with mature trees and a wide expanse of lawn.

Harris’ neighborhood is just one example of how enterprising homeowners are changing the landscape in many depopulated cities, bringing the look of spacious suburbs to abandoned urban neighborhoods.

Read more: http://realestate.msn.com/inner-city-suburbs