PCRG Continues Blight Fight with New Conservatorship Publication

28 Jun

Manual Front PagePCRG’s new publication, The Abandoned and Blighted Property Conservatorship Act: 10 Years of Productive Reuse, is now available to our member organizations and the greater public. This volume includes case studies on prominent Allegheny County conservatorships, a look inside Philadelphia’s use, and policy surrounding the law.

Ten years after the Pennsylvania General Assembly passed the Abandoned and Blighted Property Conservatorship Act, the process has been implemented statewide and continues to garnish interest from private residents, local businesses, and community organizations. With the acknowledgment that blight and abandonment negatively impact Pennsylvania’s property owners, business districts, and the public health and safety, the Conservatorship Act was passed as a method allowing the parties most adversely impacted by problem properties another opportunity to do something about them. Thus, conservatorship was added to Pennsylvania’s growing toolkit for addressing properties that owners have been unwilling or unable to maintain.

Blight remediation systems, such as code enforcement authorities, have not been able to respond to problem properties on the scale needed in many of the neighborhoods most affected by property neglect. With this law, conservators have been able to target blight and abandonment in their neighborhoods with rehabilitation and redevelopment. Although property removal is not always the most favored approach, when most needed, conservators have also been court-approved to demolish hazardous structures and develop reuse plans that benefit the entire community. From acquiring small vacant lots to massive church campuses, conservatorship has provided communities the chance to fight blight more proactively.

As conservatorship use increases, there has been an evolution in the way that city and county officials handle cases and an acknowledgement of the positive impact which conservators have on their communities. Conservators are now collaborating with the city and county, building trust and understanding for all involved.

Many Allegheny County cases are handled by Wayne Cobb II, Esq., and in conjunction with new city solicitor Daniel Friedson and Judge Donald Walko, the three have become leaders in ensuring that the conservatorship process is handled in a more efficient and consistent manner.

Along with the release of The Abandoned and Blighted Property Conservatorship Act: 10 Years of Productive Reuse, stay tuned for an interactive map of completed and active conservatorship cases in Pittsburgh and Allegheny County.

For more information, contact: Sabreena N. Woods – swoods@pcrg.org.