From Representative Don Walko —
My more than 10-year fight to give communities another tool to use in tackling blighted property was recently met with success when Gov. Ed Rendell signed my legislation into law.
The new law (Act 135 of 2008) sets up a process to allow neighborhood groups or others to petition the court to appoint a conservator to attend to a blighted property when the owners can’t or won’t do it. The takeover process can be applied to residential, commercial or industrial eyesores.
The conservator is tasked with restoring the property to productive use and bringing it into compliance with municipal codes. The conservator could place a lien on the property to cover the cost the conservatorship and sell the property after six months if the owner has not successfully petitioned to end the takeover.
Even one abandoned or blighted property can drag down an entire block or neighborhood. I am happy our communities have this new tool to combat blight.