17 Oct

PCRG Membership Land Bank Discussion

The Pittsburgh Land Bank continues to be an important issue for PCRG and its member organizations as it moves ever closer to becoming fully operational. On October 12, 13, and 14, PCRG members participated in discussions concerning their priorities for the Land Bank and expectations for an inclusive community input process around the Policies and Procedures. The discussions were well-attended and reaffirmed the core issues that are important to our community organizations. Some of the priorities members wished to see included in the land bank were: transparency and accountability, priority access to vacant property for approved community groups, responsiveness to community plans and development priorities, and opportunities for permanently affordable housing, green-space, and workforce development. PCRG staff are summarizing topics discussed at those three meetings, and will release a memo to members next week.

At the most recent Land Bank Board of Directors meeting held on Friday, October 14, the Communications Committee reported back that they are committed to and desire a thorough and inclusive community outreach process to obtain input into the Land Bank Policies and Procedures. They further stated the importance of consistent and continuing community engagement between the Land Bank and the public, recommending that a Community Advisory Committee be established to inform ongoing engagement and communications activity. The committee also announced that they had completed a draft Request for Proposals to solicit a consultant to manage the legislated five community meetings around the Draft Policies and Procedures. The RFP will be released shortly and posted for two weeks. Rev. Burgess, as Board Chair, requested that the Communications Committee have reviewed all proposals and have a recommendation for selection of the consultant at next month’s board meeting. He also requested and confirmed that the Draft Policies and Procedures will have been provided to the Board by the November board meeting as well.

The Land Bank is a critical tool needed to overcome the blight and vacancy that many of our communities continue to struggle with. Much work has been invested in creating the Land Bank, and we are very close.  In order to ensure a positive outcome, we encourage continued engagement with the development of the Policies and Procedures that will guide the operation of the Pittsburgh Land Bank.

For more information about the Pittsburgh Land Bank, see the following resources:

·         The Land Bank Board of Directors Meeting is open to the public, and occurs on the second Friday of each month at 1:00 PM in the City Council Chambers. The Pittsburgh Land Bank website contains more information, including minutes and agendas.
·         The state legislation enabling the creation of land banks is HB 1682, available here.
·         The Pittsburgh Land Bank Ordinance (File #2014-0025)  is available at the City website here.
·         The Pittsburgh Land Bank By-Laws are available here.
·         Two infographics that explain the scope of the problem faced by Pittsburgh and the ways a land bank could potentially help address those needs are available here and here.