WHAT CONSTITUTES A BLIGHTED PROPERTY?
A blighted property is defined in the Pennsylvania Urban Redevelopment Law. The term blighted property includes:
- Any property which is declared a public nuisance;
- Any premises which is considered an attractive nuisance to children;
- Any dwelling unfit for human habitation as designated by the Department responsible for enforcement of codes in the municipality;
- Any property which is a fire hazard or otherwise dangerous to the safety of persons or property;
- Any structure without utilities so that the property is unfit for its intended use;
- Any vacant or unimproved lot or ground in a predominantly built up neighborhood which has been a place for accumulation for trash and debris or haven for rodents or other vermin;
- Any unoccupied property which has been tax delinquent for a period of two (2) years;
- Any property which is vacant, but not tax delinquent, which has not been rehabilitated within one (1) year from receipt of notice to rehabilitate from appropriate code enforcement agency;
- Any abandoned property which is a term defined by the Statute.
A Redevelopment Authority has significant powers unavailable to municipality-operated entities when addressing blighted properties, such as the ability to negotiate for the selection of a developer based on the merits of a proposal rather than the highest bid for a property. These broad powers are especially important for the acquisition of properties for the purpose of eliminating blight and obtaining a redeveloper to work in accordance with an approved local municipal plan.
The Redevelopment Authority of the County of Bucks is an action-oriented agency with significant experience in blight abatement. Whether acquiring property amicably or utilizing its powers of eminent domain, the Redevelopment Authority is ideally suited to manage blight abatement in cooperation with local municipalities.
Before the Redevelopment Authority becomes involved in a blight abatement program, a municipality must invite the Authority to assist, followed by a Cooperation Agreement between the municipality and the Authority. The Authority encourages Cooperation Agreements that are succinct and contain a brief description of the project, guidelines, sources of the funding and how project income will be handled.