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19Apr

Lackawanna County Land Bank acquires 26 more properties

By: Kyle Wind

Published: April 14, 2017

The Lackawanna County Land Bank approved acquiring 26 more Scranton properties and selling two more small abandoned lots to neighbors Thursday.

The properties targeted by the new authority — which is designed to cut through red tape associated with redevelopment — are all vacant lots and part of the county’s repository list, composed of tax-delinquent properties that did not sell in upset or judicial sales.

NeighborWorks Northeastern Pennsylvania identified lots — which are generally between 1,500 and 3,500 square feet — as candidates for the land bank to take over for its side-lot program during research for the nonprofit’s own revitalization plans, Lackawanna County Economic Development Director George Kelly said.

The nonprofit, which does home rehabilitation projects for low-income families, plans to rehabilitate clusters of run-down and abandoned properties in West Scranton to make a visible difference in the community.

While looking at prospects for its own programs, NeighborWorks saw a number of lots that neighbors had already effectively taken over and begun maintaining, Kelly said.

By selling the land to neighbors for a small fee, the county will ensure they are maintained long-term and return to the tax rolls, while the new owners would get to expand their properties and be free to make improvements, such as adding gardens or sheds.

“We should have titles in two or three days,” he said. “I’m hoping that next week we can approach the people who are using them right now and the contiguous landowners.”

The land bank last month approved selling or leasing 19 properties to the first series of new owners after first approving taking over its first 100 properties in November.

The two properties the land bank approved selling for $100 Thursday were:

■ A 36-by-71-foot lot at 1146 Luzerne St. to Alan O’Neil and John Bannon, who own a nearby rental property they are interested in expanding.

■ A 50-by-150-foot parcel at 2442 Amelia Ave. to Glenn Patterson, who lives next to the property and wants to extend his yard.

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