Article VII. Blight Elimination

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Section 7.01 Demolition Generally

  1. The PLB will follow all local codes and statutes regarding demolition specifications at a minimum, and may set additional standards as may change from time to time.
  2. Upon acquiring a property that may be demolished, the PLB will conduct a complete condition assessment on the property and reasonably estimate the cost of returning the structure to safe, habitable, and code compliant condition.
  3. The PLB will review the property’s complete condition assessment, estimate renovation costs, fair market value, and the input of neighbors, preservationists, and community stakeholders before making a final demolition decision.
  4. The PLB may make demolition decisions prior to acquisition based on a complete exterior inspection if nuisance conditions necessitate expediency.

Section 7.02 Demolition and Salvage Partners

  1. The PLB will partner with the public sector and private partners and contractors to facilitate the demolition of a property swiftly after a demolition decision has been made.
  2. Whenever possible, the PLB will coordinate with residents and neighborhood-based organizations to identify a property for demolition through the PLB’s program.
  3. When possible, the PLB will identify condemned properties where materials may be safely salvaged prior to demolition, utilizing public and private sector partners to complete this work.
  4. The PLB will utilize a Request for Qualifications process to keep a list of eligible demolition and salvage contractors for its work.

Section 7.03 Quality of the Demolition

Every PLB demolition will conform to the following specifications:

  1. Demolition of the primary residential structure and all ancillary structures on property, including garages and sheds, and all paved surfaces, including driveways, private walkways and patios;
    • Instances where a shared party wall or another structurally integral wall to neighboring properties exists may be exceptions to this
  2. Removal of the foundation or removal of at least eighteen (18) inches of the basement wall below the surface while fully crushing the basement floor to allow for storm water drainage;
  3. Proper handling, including abatement and/or removal of lead, asbestos, or other contaminants as may be present, per PA State regulation;
  4. Removal of dead or dangerous trees, whenever possible;
  5. Hauling of debris from the demolition site to a landfill for disposal, and providing verified original receipts from an approved land fill or dump site evidencing that the debris has been disposed of in a proper manner;
  6. Retention and restoration (if damaged) of the sidewalk and public right of way, unless otherwise indicated;
  7. In-fill of the foundation with materials that meet or exceed the trade standard to allow a proper grade and grass growth on the finished lot;
  8. Finishing the site so that it is level and free from debris, including along lot lines, and properly graded;
  9. Coverage of the site with at least six (6) inches of top soil, low or no-mow grass, clover mix, or hydro seeding of the site at a rate of six (6) pounds per 1000 square feet, and providing a cover of straw (when necessary), so grass is growing on the site and the site can be safely mowed and maintained;
  10. Keeping the property and surrounding area clean and free from excess debris daily during demolition, including monitoring and limiting the amount of dust released during demolition activities, and following completion of demolition;
  11. Securing all necessary permits relating to the demolition and hauling of a residential structure, and providing proof of applicable demolition permits; and
  12. Performing the project in a professional, safe and workpersonlike manner, providing all necessary protections, and taking all necessary precautions to protect workers, bystanders, and adjacent property from injury or damage during the entire demolition project, such as but not limited to fencing, barricades or other protective barriers, and a reasonable effort to notify adjacent property owners.
  13. Consistent demolition activity once work begins, including no lapse in progress and timely completion per contracted specifications.

Section 7.04 Salvage and Deconstruction

  1. Salvage on a property owned by the PLB and scheduled for demolition may be permitted to recover important historic materials or architectural details. An organization with experience in salvage may contact the PLB at least thirty (30) days prior to the scheduled demolition and request salvage rights. Entities engaged in salvage activities must document satisfactory commercial general liability insurance and have its individual representatives sign a salvage waiver prior to entering the property.
  2. Where health and safety concerns or timely coordination of the demolition make salvage impracticable, the PLB may deny a salvage rights request.
  3. The PLB may expend funds to undertake deconstruction demolition, when feasible and when funding is available.

Section 7.05 Demolition of Historic Properties

  1. The PLB will seek demolition of structures in local historic districts only after exhausting reasonable alternatives for the property, including:
    • Marketing the property with a local realtor experienced in historic preservation;
    • Securing the property to prevent ongoing deterioration; and
    • Providing grant funds to a qualified end user to support renovation, if funding is available and approved by the Board of Directors.
  2. To the extent required by law, the PLB will obtain approval prior to demolishing a property in a federal or local historic district or listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Section 7.06 Commercial Property Demolition

  1. The PLB must receive approval from the Board of Directors prior to allocating resources and demolishing a commercial property, as defined in Section 7.01(A).
  2. Commercial demolition projects eligible for an expenditure of PLB resources must meet some or all of the following criteria:
    • Projects in which the PLB can acquire title and for which there is a qualified end user for the property if the structure is demolished;
    • Projects in which a substantial investment will be made in the property or the surrounding area by an end user or a third party following demolition;
    • Projects in which matching funds are available to assist with demolition costs, including costs associated with environmental assessment and abatement;
    • Projects in proximity to existing businesses that will benefit from the demolition through workforce expansion, workforce retention, or new capital investment;
    • Projects in proximity to an existing business likely to relocate if the nuisance structure is not demolished, but would remain if the nuisance were abated;
    • Projects that will increase the quality of life for residents of a surrounding residential neighborhood because of demolition;
    • Projects in which the structure constitutes a serious health and safety risk to the surrounding area and that risk will be minimized or eliminated because of demolition;
    • Projects in which the structure is functionally obsolete, cannot be returned to its original use, or cannot be converted to a different use; and
    • Additional criteria that increase a project’s merit on a case-by-case basis.