The consequences of such a move places even greater burdens on property owners to care and maintain the buildings, and it also creates a new obstacle to property squatters who own some of the properties and are letting them decay: historic designation on your parcel makes it impossible to demolish the building. Or more importantly: selling the property to a buyer who would want to demolish it.
Apparently this move will do nothing to prevent further decay of any of the Kensington factories left standing, but may make it marginally easier for interested parties to seek funding for redevelopment. It will be interesting to see whether or not this will alleviate the vacancy of any of these properties.
Not many citizens (including myself) are aware of where the ordinances are that are out there which control blighted, vacant and abandoned property. The specific local laws are all contained in Title 4 of the Philadelphia Code, all inside part PM (Property Maintenance).
Now that we’re well into six months since the enactment of Act 90 and two months since the unveiling of L&I’s vacant property strategy, PDQ will be conducting a comprehensive Act 90 Tour of a significant swath of Kensington, looking for all the properties that qualify for Act 90 treatment.
It’s been a while since we’ve tagged a post “Municipal Incompetence,” but this one takes the cake.
This morning the Inquirer covers the case of Ms. Laxon in Graduate Hospital. Poor Ms. Laxon suffered the fate unique to Philadelphia County: assessors who do not need to be certified in their field before they go to work.
In her case, her tax abatement expired and her re-assessed property value left her with a tax bill so large that the whole calculus of living in Philadelphia has changed for her. Since she also owns her own small business, it seems like a no brainer that she’ll probably pack up and leave for the ‘burbs. The City offered to lower her total bill back below $5,000, which is even more ridiculous than the sticker shock bill she received.