Committee unanimously approves Longietti bill benefiting borough planning
Would lift population restriction for establishing redevelopment authority
HARRISBURG, Nov. 21 – Leveling the playing field for boroughs wanting to establish a redevelopment authority is the aim of a bill approved unanimously today by the House Urban Affairs Committee, according to the bill’s author, state Rep. Mark Longietti, D-Mercer.
Longietti said he introduced H.B. 1860, which would amend the Urban Redevelopment Authority Act, to address a disparity in the law: Currently, boroughs must have a population of 10,000 or more to establish a redevelopment authority, while cities of any size may do so. Longietti’s bill would remove that restriction and allow boroughs of all sizes to establish a redevelopment authority.
“This would be a significant step for boroughs because redevelopment authorities have broad powers to implement plans that can address blight, boost economic development and stimulate area growth.” Longietti said. “These planning bodies can be a critical tool for communities striving to restore infrastructure, revitalize neighborhoods and attract investment.”
Longietti said that there is no sound reason supporting the current population restriction placed on boroughs, noting that there are multiple cities with a population of fewer than 10,000.
“My bill would simply put Pennsylvania’s boroughs on an equal footing with cities as they work to promote growth and improve life for residents through measures such as expanding affordable housing and creating jobs,” he said.
Longietti credits Paul Hamill, council president for the borough of Greenville, for bringing the issue to his attention. Hamill told Longietti that the council would like to consider establishing a redevelopment authority to help address blight in Greenville, but the borough does not meet the population limit.
Longietti added that his bill was amended in committee to allow municipalities of any population – in addition to boroughs and cities – to establish a redevelopment authority.
The bill now heads to the House chamber for consideration.