Salisbury’s bill to reduce blight advances out of committee

HARRISBURG, June 13 – A bill introduced by state Rep. Abigail Salisbury, D-Allegheny, that would reduce blight and revitalize community properties advanced out of the PA House Housing & Community Development Committee today.

The legislation (H.B. 1163) would update current property law to allow communities to make vacant blighted or abandoned properties subject to potential acquisition by land banks. Owners of such properties would be granted a set amount of time to make the repairs needed to reverse the designation and could appeal the designation.

"In my five years as a borough council member, I saw firsthand how these neglected properties can become safety hazards and sources of frustration for communities,” Salisbury said. “As a council member, however, my ability to help neighbors deal with problem properties was limited by what the law allowed. My goal with this legislation is to add another tool to local governments' toolboxes and help put properties back to productive use. My bill delivers a ‘use it or lose it’ message to urge property owners into action and improve communities' ability to address blight.”

Salisbury said her legislation does not require land banks to acquire vacant properties designated as abandoned and/or distressed but, instead, allows them to do so if they wish.

House Bill 1163 is Salisbury’s first bill as a state representative. It now heads to the full House for consideration.