RDA in search of “teeth” to fight against blight | News, Sports, Jobs

Times Observer file photo The Warren County Redevelopment Authority is looking for tools to fight blight when landlords don’t respond, like this property at 1465 Route 62 in Pleasant Twp.

The Warren County Redevelopment Authority deals with some derelict properties where the owners are not moving.

Officials discussed the tools that might be available to them during a meeting on Tuesday.

Both properties are located at 58 Bush Ln. in Limestone Township and 1465 Route 62 in Pleasant Township. County planner Dan Glotz said a letter was sent to the owner of Bush Lane detailing what needed fixing.

“We haven’t heard anything” he said, noting that there is “not too much to do.”

“We have no teeth” said Authority member Chuck Barone. The property is “I’m just going to sit there.”

This is a similar situation to the property in Pleasant Township.

“(We) cannot get anyone to answer us”, said Baron.

“(I) can’t help but wonder if he walked away from it,” Glotz said of the New York state owner. “(I) wish he would just say he would call and say he doesn’t want the place.

But some potential teeth are on the way in the form of a county land bank.

A land reserve is a “governmental or non-profit authority created to acquire, maintain, and stabilize vacant, abandoned, and tax-delinquent properties while working with other entities to promote the productive reuse of properties”, according to the US Environmental Protection Agency.

“We’re really close, at least on the county side,” said commissioner Jeff Eggleston. “There must be a rollout to the rest of the municipalities and the school district. I have a feeling that by the next meeting, we should be moving on this.

The land bank, at least in theory, could provide a means for a landlord to restore degraded property. The land bank could then demolish and resell the plot.

“When someone is technically responsible, we have to make sure those people are held accountable,” Eggleston added.

Letters to the owners in question threatened legal action.

The authority eventually ordered the chairman, Phil Gilbert, to email his attorney for comment on the RDA’s options with those properties.

A lawsuit has been filed on the two adjacent properties in Sheffield Township – 59 and 61 2nd Mill St. – due to an ongoing investigation by Pennsylvania State Police.

An additional property, 146 Saybrook Road, has been removed from the RDA listing as it is now occupied.

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