In early 2013 Councilwoman María Quiñones Sánchez and Councilman Bill Green reintroduced the Philadelphia Land Bank Bill to the Philadelphia City Council. Since then, the Law Center has been involved in commenting and testifying on this bill as a member of the Philadelphia Land Bank Alliance, the Soil Generation coalition and the Campaign to Take Back Vacant Land.
An appropriate land bank is designed to provide a transparent, streamlined and equitable process through which the city can manage the more than 40,000 vacant properties and support a range of development and community-driven productive uses. Currently there are numerous city agencies which own vacant public land in the city. Each agency maintains a distinct and difficult process for managing, selling and developing vacant land. An equitable bill would also include mandatory public involvement on the new land bank agency’s government board.
Since the introduction and first committee hearing, a series of edits and amendments have been added that have threatened to alter the bill and decrease transparency and efficiency. The Philly Land Bank Alliance statement on these amendments can be read below. For more information on the current land transfer process, the proposed land bank bill and our preferred, more streamlined land bank process, take a look at the Philly Land Bank Alliance’s infographic.