Morning Headlines: Could the Land Bank Plan Be Better?

"Who will the vacant lots be transferred to? Who will benefit?"

Photo credit: Julia Rowe via Flickr

Photo credit: Julia Rowe via Flickr

We’ve been waiting for it since the beginning of the year, but now that the city’s new Land Bank is expected to launch in 2015, some worry the blueprints for the plan need improvement.

The Daily News’ Valerie Russ reports that advocates of affordable housing are less than impressed with the Philadelphia Land Bank’s draft strategic plan and see it as being “too general.” Said Nora Lichtash of the Philadelphia Coalition for Affordable Communities:

“We want to make sure that when they transfer land to get rid of blight, that they’re doing it in a way to ensure that not only market-rate development takes place, but there’s also affordable development that comes back out of the land bank.”

Not being clear enough is an issue. The Land Bank, after all, was created in an effort to rid the city of its ever growing number of vacant and/or tax-delinquent properties in an open and simple way.  The amount of positives the Bank would have are numerous. Here, PlanPhilly’s Ashley Hahn sings it praises, noting how it would help stop “the tide of creeping blight” and make way for “large-scale opportunities for food production and housing development.”

Messing up the Land Bank, as you can see, would be a huge blow.

“How many sites would be transformed for affordable uses? Who will the vacant lots be transferred to? Who will benefit?” asked Lichtash. Knowing the exact framework would help improve potential holes in the plan and ease worries. Hopefullythe Land Bank’s public hearing (to take place today at 1234 Market Street, Mezzanine Level, at 3pm) will answer some questions.

• Will Philly Land Bank help regular folks? [Daily News]

Advocates call to strengthen Land Bank Strategic Plan [PlanPhilly]

In other news…

In East Kensington, Housing Development To Replace Little Berlin’s “Fairgrounds” [Hidden City]

Contractor overbillings costing city $650K, says controller [Business Journal]

Finnigan’s Wake sale is off [Insider]

As closing nears, planning for Ardmore Cricket Lot redevelopment steps up [Main Line Times]

7-story mixed-use building proposed for corner of 6th and Washington Ave. [Passyunk Post]