Interim Land Bank Board Choosing its Battles

Bits of Wisdom

Bits of Wisdom

Policies and procedures discussed at today’s meeting of the Interim Board of the PGH Land Bank had to do with PRIORITIES FOR THE USE OF REAL PROPERTY.

“Fears regularly expressed are that the land bank would speed up the process of gentrification in their neighborhoods,” explained Board member Dan Woods.

“So the thought is this should stabilize and revitalize these communities, and also ensure that these residents are not displaced as a result of land banking from those communities.”

Woods’ report centered around a strong recommendation that the Pittsburgh Land Bank model its policies and procedures after those used in Genesee County, MI.

After discussing its own six principles “in order of importance,” the Interim board together at the table tweaked it and came up with the following eight, in order, for the time being:

1. Neighborhood revitalization and/or stabilization ( …related to a community process)

2. Affordable housing: the production or rehabilitation of housing for persons with low-moderate incomes

3. Promotion of Homeownership

4. Return of property to tax-paying status

5. Land assemblage for community, economic development.

6. Land assemblage for public and community green space and infrastructure

7.  Provision of financial resources for operating functions.

8.  Long term (+5 years) “banking of properties for future strategic uses”

It was noted several times that the priorities are interrelated.

Ronell Guy was keen on finding ways to prioritize the Land Bank’s ability to “expand equity in the neighborhood. It needs to provide real opportunity.” She also suggested that the definition of “low-to-moderate income” be inclusive of up to 120% of area median income, “to be fair.”

Kim Salinetro clarified a concern that people understand the Pittsburgh Land Bank is “not going to buy your home, revitalize it, and let you stay in it. I wouldn’t want that to be a number one priority of the Land Bank.”

“We have to make it easier for people to invest in the community,” explained Salinetro. “Right now, they don’t have that at all.”


The Board for the first time accepted public comments, and announced that in the future it will be doing so at the top of its 3:00 biweekly meetings.

The Interim Board’s scheduled Policies and Procedures conversation about SUPPORTING SOCIALLY AND ECONOMICALLY DIVERSE COMMUNITIES was deemed as moot, subsumed by the framework of the 6 to 8 use of property priorities today discussed.

Its scheduled consideration of its own board budget was tabled indefinitely pending reengagement with its board Treasurer, Matt Barron.

A worker with Information Systems dropped in with a notepad to help the board together suggest appropriate updates to the city Land Banking website.

On matters of getting timely access to a piece of City information, once or twice a board member would wonder aloud, “Who is here from the City?” And on matters of determining exactly how to arrange board e-mail addresses and how to update the website: “You know, there are people who do this.”

Board member Lloyd Hedlund reminded the board on several occasions that the permanent Land Bank board gets to take votes, and these Polices and Procedures will be “more like guidelines”.

The role if any of community groups in the Land Banking process, and if so which community groups, permeated the as-yet hardly spoken conversation. Guy suggested that communities lacking a unified and legitimate Community Plan, active community groups, and/or organizational capacity ought to be furnished with some protections and support.

Bethany Davidson of PCRG told the Comet after the meeting that the Genesee County Land Bank is “the best place to start,” but that land banks have since developed other concepts and formulae that are just as worth looking at.

5 thoughts on “Interim Land Bank Board Choosing its Battles

      1. Anonymous

        well i hope that was just to keep her under control. She is a bigot and protector of criminal elements.

      2. Bram Reichbaumbramr101 Post author

        Guy has been a little quick to frustration, comes at this from a somewhat more radical politics than the other active board members, and is a little rough around the edges when it comes to Board Hygiene. However, this is the first time I’ve heard it suggested that she’s not fit and decent company.

        Speaking of active board members, Richard Carrington communicated by note that he’s having knee and back problems and will be recuperating at the VA for a while. Board members are welcome to call him as needed. And Shawn Carter like Barron has been absent for a bit.

  1. Astralmilkman

    If the board listens to interface studios I have hope . But if it’s not TOTALLY transparent and open to the public and doesn’t follow interfaces lead………. It’s doomed !
    Also , if people are allowed to build structures that resemble current public housing
    ( which are horrific and boring ) its dead on arrival. Who wants to live or work in a place that resembles something so bland and lacking in any kind of architectural value ? This should be a closed loop system. In it you have the mty lots and buildings behind in their taxes .
    You also have all the Historical buildings ( churches , schools and ny structure that has architectural significance ) . You also have in this loop the tax breaks , abatements , deferments and any other tax loop hole such as tax exemptions ( colleges and such ).
    The system would work like this……….. Any individual or business without tax needs would simply go to the land through a website that would have EVERY PARCEL in the city listed
    Also there would be a listing of price. ,any hazards , a history including photos , any hoops they might have to jump through….. Simple ! If however they buyer is a tax exempt group or someone wanting to tear down a historical building that’s another story. A moratorium would be put on all demos. Those groups would choose parcels from the inventory two or three times the size of their historical structures lot size. THIS stops us loosing our heritage. Groups wanting to build and get those tax breaks would have to use those historical structures or use the abandoned buildings on the list or mty lots on the list to keep their tax breaks. NO EXCEPTIONS ! If some one wants to tear down a great building or cannot reuse the one they have it goes into the pile and they grab some other parcels listed. This will push developement into places that need it and save our churches and school , it will spread the money around naturally. Once this starts others will see it can be done in these areas and will follow. It’s a win win for the city unless of course your a crooked politician…..AND YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE ! Some of our greatest treasures are I our worst neighborhoods , this will stabilize them . By connecting these things……
    We all win.


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