[HISTORY: Adopted by the City Council of the City of Warren 11-10-2003 by Ord. No. 1692. Amendments noted where applicable.]
The purposes of these provisions are consistent with the preservation of neighborhoods and protection of low- and moderate-income persons against displacement, as stated in the legislative findings above, to establish a Blighted Property Review Committee of the City of Warren to implement the provisions of the state Urban Redevelopment Law of 1945, as amended, and to promote reuse of and reinvestment in properties in the City of Warren. This Vacant Property Review Committee shall be known and may be referred to as the "City of Warren Property Reinvestment Board," hereinafter termed the "Board."
From time to time, the Council of the City of Warren shall by resolution establish rules/regulations for operation of the Committee.
The Blighted Property Review Committee shall consist of members holding two-year terms, consisting of the following:
One member of Council, appointed by Council;
A representative of the Redevelopment Authority, appointed by the Authority;
A representative of the Planning Commission, appointed by the Commission;
A representative of the executive branch of City government, appointed by the City Manager; and
A resident of the City of Warren appointed by Council.
Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the Redevelopment Authority of the City of Warren shall have the power to acquire by purchase, gift, bequest, eminent domain or otherwise any blighted property as defined herein, either within or outside of a certified redevelopment area, and further, shall have the power to hold, clear, manage and/or dispose of said property for residential or related uses and commercial or industrial reuse, as provided by law. This power shall be exercised in accord with the procedure set forth hereinafter.
Blighted property to include:
Any premises which, because of physical condition or use, is regarded as a public nuisance at common law or has been declared a public nuisance in accordance with the local housing, building, plumbing, fire and related codes.
Any premises which, because of physical condition, use or occupancy, is considered an attractive nuisance to children, including but not limited to abandoned wells, shafts, basements, excavations and unsafe fences or structures.
Any dwelling which, because it is dilapidated, unsanitary, unsafe, vermin-infested or lacking in the facilities and equipment required by the housing code of the municipality, has been designated by the appropriate Code Official of the City of Warren as unfit for human habitation.
Any structure which is a fire hazard or is otherwise dangerous to the safety of person or property.
Any structure from which the utilities, plumbing, heating, sewerage or other facilities have been disconnected, destroyed, removed or rendered ineffective so that the property is unfit for its intended use.
Any vacant or unimproved lot or parcel or ground in a predominantly built-up neighborhood which, by reason of neglect or lack of maintenance, has become a place for accumulation of trash and debris or a haven for rodents and other vermin.
Any unoccupied property which has been tax delinquent for a period of two years prior to the effective date of this article, and those in the future having a two-year tax delinquency.
Any property which is vacant but not tax delinquent, which has not been rehabilitated within one year of the receipt of notice to rehabilitate from the appropriate City Code Official or board.
Any abandoned property. A property shall be considered abandoned if:
It is a vacant or unimproved lot or parcel of ground on which a municipal lien for the cost of demolition of any structure located on the property remains unpaid for a period of six months;
It is a vacant property or vacant or unimproved lot or parcel of ground on which the total of municipal liens on the property for tax or any other type of claim of the municipality are in excess of 150% of the fair market value of the property, as established by the Board of Revisions of Taxes, or other body with legal authority to determine the taxable value of the property; or
The property has been declared abandoned by the owner, including an estate that is in possession of the property.
Residential and related use shall include residential property for sale or rental and related uses, including but not limited to park and recreation areas, neighborhood community service, and neighborhood parking lots.
The Committee and the City of Warren Planning Commission, upon making a determination that any property is blighted within the terms of this chapter and the Urban Redevelopment Law, as amended, must certify said blighted property to the Redevelopment Authority, except that:
No property shall be certified to the Redevelopment Authority unless it is vacant. A property shall be considered vacant, if:
The property is unoccupied or its occupancy has not been authorized by the owner of the property;
In the case of an unimproved lot or parcel of ground, a lien for the cost of demolition of any structure located on the property remains unpaid for a period of six months; or
In the case of an unimproved lot or parcel of ground, the property has remained in violation of any provision of local building, property maintenance or related codes applicable to such lots or parcels, including licensing requirements, for a period of six months.
No property shall be certified to the Redevelopment Authority unless the owner of the property or an agent designated by him for receipt of service of notices within the municipality has been served with notice of the determination that the property is blighted, together with an appropriate order to eliminate the conditions causing the blight, and notification that failure to do so may render the property subject to condemnation under this chapter. The notice shall be served upon the owner or his agent in accord with § 18-7 of this chapter pertaining to service of notice of determination of a public nuisance. The owner or his agent shall have the right of appeal from the determination per § 18-8 of this chapter.
No blighted property shall be certified to the Redevelopment Authority until the time period for appeal has expired and no appeal has been taken or, if taken, the appeal has been disposed of and the owner or his agent has failed to comply with the order of the responsible department or other officer or agency.
The service of notice of determination of blight by the Committee shall be served, at a minimum, through the following methods:
Any owner or person who is aggrieved by ruling of the Committee that his property has been determined blighted for the reasons set forth in said Act 94 of 1978 aforesaid may appeal the decision as hereinafter stated. The appeal shall be in the form prescribed by the City and shall state the specific reasons for appeal.
Editor's Note: Act 94 of 1978 amended the Urban Redevelopment Law of 1945.
The appeal must be filed with the PMC Board of Appeals and the Blighted Property Review Committee, in writing, within 30 days of the date of the receipt of the determination of blight by said owner or his agent. Appeals shall be filed at the City of Warren Zoning/Permit Office.
The fee for appeal shall, from time to time, be established by resolution of City Council. The required fee shall be payable to the City of Warren and must accompany the appeal.
The Committee may advise, at its own discretion, the Redevelopment Authority in matters relating to the establishment and modification of policies, priorities and procedures affecting the disposition of properties acquired through the certification process of the Committee.
The Committee may advise, at its own discretion, the Department of Housing and Community Development in matters relating to the provision of financial, advisory and technical rehabilitation assistance affecting reinvestment in properties acquired through the certification process of the Committee.
The Committee may advise, at its own discretion, other municipal agencies in matters relating to the functions of said agencies affecting the acquisition, disposition and reinvestment in properties which have been or may be acquired through the certification process of the Committee.
The Committee may advise, at its own discretion, appropriate agencies in matters relating to the disposition of publicly owned properties in the City of Warren.
The Committee may advise, at its own discretion, appropriate agencies in the design, development and implementation of homesteading and other property reinvestment programs which may from time to time be effectuated in the City of Warren by such agencies.
The Committee shall do such other acts, including but not limited to the promulgation and implementation of rules and regulations, as may be necessary to fulfill the duties, obligations and administration of Pennsylvania Act 94 of 1978 and this chapter.
Acquisition and disposition of blighted property under this chapter shall not require preparation, adoption or approval of a redevelopment area plan or redevelopment proposal, but at least 30 days prior to acquisition of any property, the Redevelopment Authority shall transmit identification of the property to the City of Warren Planning Commission and shall request a recommendation as to the appropriate reuse of the property. The Redevelopment Authority shall not acquire the property where the City of Warren Planning Commission certifies that disposition for residential or related uses would not be in accord with the Comprehensive Plan of the municipality.
Property disposed of within a redevelopment area shall be disposed of under a redevelopment contract in accordance with the provisions of this chapter.
Property disposed of outside of an urban renewal project area shall be disposed of by deed in accordance with the provisions set forth in applicable law.