27 Nov

PLB Logo (better image)

Two weeks ago, on Tuesday, November 14, the House Urban Affairs Committee held a hearing entitled A Progress Report on PA Land Banks at the Five-Year Mark. Witnesses testified to the accomplishments of land banks across the state. The hearing provided an opportunity for reflection; while much has been accomplished, land banking in Pittsburgh is still more theoretical than actual.

PCRG actively monitors the progress of the Pittsburgh Land Bank as it continues to gear up for operations. The next step for land banking in Pittsburgh is for City Council to pass bill 2017-2018, which approves the Policies and Procedures. This will put the PLB one step closer to operations.

A Post Agenda and a Public Hearing will be held on December 14 to solicit public feedback.We urge all our members, partners, friends, and any interested parties to sign up to attend and urge City Council to pass the bill! The link to the Public Hearing sign-up is here.

We have worked for more than a decade for an operational land bank – advocating for a state bill, advocating for a land bank for Pittsburgh, attending monthly land bank meetings – and we do not want to wait any longer for this tool! Please attend and tell your council member to vote YES.

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Need some context? Read on for past coverage of land banking.

Since 2012, when Pennsylvania passed the enabling legislation to allow municipalities to create land banks, PCRG has been actively pushing for a Land Bank in the City of Pittsburgh. Many of you have provided comment and followed along as we have kept you updated on all the steps that have taken place so far, from initial passage of the state law, to the introduction and passage of the Pittsburgh ordinance, and beyond.

Over the last year and a half, our engagement efforts have focused on the Policies and Procedures that will govern the day-to-day operations of the Land Bank. PCRG members gathered to draft a letter to the Land Bank in September 2016October 2016, and November 2016. The Pittsburgh Land Bank held community meetings in winter and spring 2017: January 2017February 2017, and March 2017. Once the public engagement process was over, the Pittsburgh Land Bank compiled an engagement report, and revised the Policies and Procedures to be in line with the comments they received. PCRG then sent a memo to members detailing the changes; contact any staff member to have that memo sent to you. More information about the Pittsburgh Land Bank is available on the PCRG Land Bank Policy page and on the Pittsburgh Land Bank website.

Sarah Slater

Program Coordinator, Land Use at Pittsburgh Community Reinvestment Group
Having grown up in the Pittsburgh area, Sarah left to study Business Administration and International Development at Houghton College, located in rural Western NY. She is thrilled to be back in the City and is eager to work with PCRG members to foster the growth of the region. Sarah is a passionate cook and loves exploring the multitude of ethnic grocery stores and farmers' markets that Pittsburgh has to offer.