The Venango County Land Bank was created in 2014 when the Venango County Commissioners passed Ordinance no. 2014-03 under the provisions of Act 153 of 2012, 68 Pa.C.S. Section 2101 et seq. The purpose of the Land Bank is to deter the spread of blight and facilitate the return of vacant, blighted, abandoned and tax-delinquent properties to productive use, thereby combating community deterioration, creating economic growth and stabilizing the housing market. With the assistance from the County, municipalities, grants and volunteer agencies, the Land Bank will acquire, hold and transfer real property throughout Venango County to support targeted neighborhoods and to stimulate residential, commercial and industrial development.
In general, Land Banks have three specific powers:
- They can acquire, maintain, demolish or improve property, sell it for redevelopment or lease it. They can acquire property thru a voluntary sale or donation, at an Upset Tax Sale, if no one bids higher, for a negotiated figure with the Tax Claim Bureau at a Judicial Sale without competitive bidding, or from the Tax Claim Bureau’s Repository of Unsold Properties.
- They can accept the assignment of tax liens from taxing authorities and may extinguish these liens with their approval. This is important if the tax liens exceed the value of the property, the property is not marketable. The Land Bank can hold property tax free. The can also request to receive a share up to 50% of the property taxes for 5 years after the conveyance to a new owner.
- It can file an expedited action to quiet title for properties that it acquires and can consolidate multiple properties into a single quiet title action.