Land Bank, PWSA agreement helps community development with city blighted properties
January 18, 2022
The Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh (URA) announced that the Pittsburgh Land Bank (PLB) and the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority (PWSA) have entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for the clearance of PWSA liens.
The MOU does not in itself clear any outstanding PWSA liens of properties owned by the PLB, or any properties that will be owned by the PLB, but it provides a framework for clearing these liens in the future.
“This is encouraging news for the PLB,” said PLB Executive Director Dr. Diamonte Walker. “This will greatly assist the PLB in making vacant, abandoned and tax delinquent properties available for small scale development, which also presents the possibility of adding these properties back to the tax rolls and PWSA’s ratepayer base.”
The URA and PLB work closely together pursuant to an operating agreement where the URA provides in-kind support to the PLB. This MOU will allow the PLB to start submitting batches of requests to the PWSA for satisfaction of liens on PLB-owned properties.
This will expedite the quiet title process, making it easier and cheaper to convey properties from the PLB to the selected end users of the properties. An easier and less expensive process makes the difficult work of neighborhood-scale development economically viable.
“We are excited to partner with the PLB to facilitate the process of bringing blighted properties back to life,” stated Will Pickering, PWSA’s chief executive officer. “The MOU provides a structure to balance community-driven redevelopment priorities with long-term PWSA goals that will restore these properties for the benefit of our communities and ratepayers.”
The PLB Board of Directors authorized the MOU on October 8, 2021. The PWSA Board of Directors authorized the MOU on October 22, 2021. The Pennsylvania Public Utilities Commission approved the MOU on December 15, 2021.