Blight Demolition Funding Available to Local Municipalities

CLEARFIELD – Blight demolition funding is available to municipalities, announced Jodi Brennan, county planning director, at Tuesday’s Clearfield County Commissioners’ meeting.

Funding is provided for the demolition of blighted structures that are unfit for habitation, a public nuisance, structurally unsound or in danger of collapse, lack utility service, have the presence of vermin or are housing vagrants.

Brennan said municipalities will be required to acquire site control. Or, she said they may partner with another entity, which has site control, such as a redeveloper or qualifying conservator.

According to her, all requests for funding must include a match of at least 50 percent of the total costs for demolition. It can be met with either public or private funds. A cost cap of $10,000 per property will be in place.

She said that the funding will be targeted to those priority blighted structures identified by local elected officials.

She said that the long-term goal for the property should result in an affordable housing that will serve low- to moderate income households, with preference given to those with household incomes below 50 to 80 percent of the median area income.

Brennan said the funding can assist developers and local landlords with mitigation of unsafe structures in order to make additional affordable housing available.

Commissioner Tony Scotto reminded municipal officials that the county doesn’t have any authority under code to abolish taxes attached to properties.

Brennan said her office has plans on working to educate officials on the processes. She said they would like to encourage them to go through the county’s assessment office and a judicial sale, so they don’t have the burden of all the debt associated with a structure.

Commissioner John A. Sobel said the commissioners are working with other county departments to make judicial sales an even greater tool for addressing blight. However, he said it can be a slow process due to absentee property owners.

Brennan pointed out that her office also offers a property abstract work station to municipal officials, their attorneys, etc., as well as tools to help locate absentee property owners.

To receive assistance through the Blight Mitigation Program, please contact the Clearfield County Planning & Community Development Office at 814-765-5149 for details.

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