PA House passes Freeman land bank legislation

HARRISBURG, June 20 – The Pennsylvania House of Representatives today passed legislation that would allow all municipalities, regardless of population size, to establish land banks, according to the bill’s author state Rep. Robert Freeman.

“Land banks are a transformative resource that allow affected neighborhoods and business districts to be revitalized. We should be doing everything we can as a state to encourage economic development and improve quality of life in all municipalities, big and small,” said Freeman, D-Northampton.

Land banks are governmental entities that specialize in the conversion of vacant, abandoned and foreclosed properties into productive use.

Currently, state law only allows municipalities with 10,000 residents or more to create landbanks, leaving smaller municipalities without access to resources that are critical for addressing blight. Freeman said the General Assembly passed a law in the 2019-20 session that allows municipalities of all population sizes to establish redevelopment authorities.

“Building on that important change, we should now take the same step with land banks,” Freeman said.

Freeman said the Pennsylvania State Association of Boroughs has strongly advocated for the measure.

House Bill 1207 moves to the state Senate for consideration.