BLIGHT ABATEMENT PROGRAM

WHAT CONSTITUTES A BLIGHTED PROPERTY?

A blighted property is defined in the Pennsylvania Urban Redevelopment Law (URL). A property meeting one of the following twelve criteria may be deemed blighted in accordance with the URL:

  • Any property which is regarded as a public nuisance at common law or has been declared a public nuisance by the municipality;
  • Any premises which is considered an attractive nuisance to children;
  • Any dwelling which has been designated as unfit for human habitation 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 parcel of ground in a predominantly built-up neighborhood which has become a place for accumulation of 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 the appropriate code enforcement agency;
  • Any abandoned property as defined by the Property Rights Protection Act of the Eminent Domain Code.
  • Any property which has defective or unusual conditions of title or no known owners, rendering title unmarketable.
  • Any property which has environmentally hazardous conditions, solid waste pollution or contamination in a building or on the land which is a direct and immediate threat to the health, safety and welfare of the community.
  • A property having three (3) or more of the following characteristics: (i)unsafe or hazardous conditions, (ii) unsafe external or internal accessways, (iii) is being served by an unsafe public street or right-of-way, (iv) has code violations and is an immediate threat to public health and safety, (v) is vacant, or (vi) is located in a redevelopment area having certain characteristics as set forth in the Property Rights Protection Act of the Eminent Domain Code.

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.

Download our Blight Guidelines for more information

Bristol Township Blight Abatement

In 2015, the Township of Bristol identified over 200 vacant homes within the township limits. The Township contacted the Redevelopment Authority to develop a plan of action to address the high number of vacancies, specifically the homes that were vacant for several years, had fallen into disrepair and were adversely impacting neighborhoods. In 2016, the […]

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