Longietti bill to assist municipal planning heads to governor’s desk

Senate passes bill to eliminate size restriction for redevelopment authorities

HARRISBURG, June 30 – A bill that would provide Pennsylvania boroughs and municipalities of all sizes a critical planning tool is on the way to Gov. Tom Wolf’s desk after it passed the state Senate today, according to the bill’s author, state Rep. Mark Longietti, D-Mercer.

Longietti said his H.B. 1860 would eliminate an unfair obstacle facing smaller boroughs and other municipalities: Under existing law, cities of any size are able to create redevelopment authorities, while boroughs and other municipalities must have a population of 10,000 or more to do so.

“Redevelopment authorities are true vehicles for progress,” Longietti said. “Because they are empowered to acquire blighted, abandoned properties and authorize revitalization projects, these planning boards can power major, positive changes to a community’s landscape that pave the way for investment, new businesses and affordable housing.

“The existing size restriction that prevents many boroughs and municipalities from creating redevelopment authorities has no logical basis and only serves to curtail growth in these communities. I was encouraged when the House passed my bill earlier this year, and I am even more so now that the Senate has done the same.

“With the bill now awaiting the governor’s signature, we are finally on the verge of getting boroughs and municipalities access to this incredibly important planning tool that has benefited cities for so long.”

Longietti said that there are at least 25 cities in Pennsylvania with a population of fewer than 10,000 – including one with just over 800 people – that are permitted to establish their own redevelopment authorities.

Longietti added that the impetus for the bill came from Greenville Town Council President Paul Hamill, who told Longietti that the council wanted to create a redevelopment authority to address blight but was unable to do so because the town did not meet the population threshold.
The bill now heads to the governor’s desk.