Philly Finally Reaches Land Bank Deal
In a closed-doors meeting late last night at City Hall, the two principal actors determining the fate of Council’s contentious land bank proposal reportedly reached a deal. Essentially the conflict came down to this. Councilwoman Maria Quinones-Sanchez has been pushing for a while now for a land bank that would consolidate all the city’s vacant property, so developers could acquire and manage land in a straightforward fashion. (The city has upwards of 40,000 vacant parcels–it seems pretty straightforward that this is a good idea.)
Darrell Clarke, who happens to have a lot of vacant land in his district, wants to ensure that local groups, and Council, retains a good deal of control over the land being sold, so he vied to establish a review board and for City Council to approve all sales. The deal he and MQS struck, according to the Daily News, includes the implementation of a review board but will not require final council approval on deals.
Critics of Clarke–and there are many–say all his amendments and stipulations are really just another way of killing the land bank, which would presumably lessen his control over vacant parcels in his district. And this is a guy who holds back more land from being sold in his district than any other Councilperson.