HARRISBURG – Municipalities would have a new tool to transform blighted properties into thriving parts of the community under a bill approved by the Senate this week, according to the bill’s author, Senator Judy Ward (R-30).
Senate Bill 352 would allow local taxing authorities to provide a tax exemption for up to 10 years for any improvements and new construction on blighted properties in deteriorated areas. The amount of the exemption would decline by 5 to 15 percent per year before expiring after the tenth year.
The bill focuses on mixed-use redevelopment including both residential and non-residential uses, in order to support the development of more vibrant communities, Ward said.
“A number of blighted properties throughout the state hold great potential for future use, and this bill can play a role in helping to restore these properties and improve the quality of life in local communities,” Ward said. “The bill does not create any new requirements; it only gives municipalities another option to rehabilitate blighted properties that create a dangerous eyesore in the community.”
Projects would only be eligible for the tax abatement if all zoning ordinances are observed, all code violations are cleared, and the value of the property increases by at least 25 percent. In addition, the property owner must pay any delinquent taxes related to the subject property.
Ward credited former Representative Jerry Stern for first introducing the concept of this bill during the 2013-14 Legislative Session. Stern urged Ward to keep working on the bill after his retirement in 2014.
Senate Bill 352 is supported by the Housing Alliance of Pennsylvania. The bill was approved by both the Senate and the House of Representatives this week and now goes to the governor to be signed into law.
CONTACT: Cheryl Schriner (717) 787-5490