Councilwoman wants quick control of Philly’s blighted properties

As Philadelphia City Council considers creating a land bank, the Nutter Administration is already working on the idea.

Philadelphia has about 10,000 parcels of land under government control, while another 20,000 to 30,000 are vacant and decaying.

Councilwoman Maria Quiñones-Sánchez wants to put together a land bank to consolidate the city-owned properties now controlled by five different agencies. She says grouping parcels could make them more enticing to developers.

“This is already our problem and we already spend $20 million-plus taking care of privately held of land which is blighted in our neighborhoods,” she said Tuesday.

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John Carpenter, deputy executive director of the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority, says the city has been working on the concept for a while.

“The administration has begun conversations within itself to think about the strategic value of a land bank, trying to figure out exactly what elements of a land bank are going to be most important to it and to trying to consolidate the various views among the agencies as to how a land bank will be beneficial,” he said.

Sanchez says she has the votes to approve her plan. It calls for taking control of blighted and tax delinquent properties once payments are missed for a year.

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