Current Statewide Campaigns: The Keystone Campaign for Affordable Housing The Campaign has as its goal inclusion of $70
million for various affordable housing activities in the 2002 state budget.
The campaign began two years ago with the release of PALIHC's annual No
One's Home report, which detailed that Pennsylvania was not only losing
ground on funding for housing (spending had decreased significantly over
the past decade), but that it was well behind neighboring states in the
amount spent on housing. To learn more about the campaign, click
Contact information: PALIHC 2 South Easton Road
Glenside, PA 19038
Overview: Pennsylvania is another state which demonstrated
serious promise of reform in the early 1990s.1
Although numerous legislative study commissions were constituted to study
the issue and to conduct hearings, resulting in recommendations and in
legislation, no bills have been enacted to date. In 1997, Governor
Ridge formed the 21st Century Environmental Commission, a panel of forty
cabinet members, legislators, business leaders, environmentalists and planners.2
The panel, after identifying sprawl development as its biggest environment-related
concern, issued 240 recommendations in September 1998, including among
other things, a comprehensive revision of the planning and zoning enabling
statutes.3 The Commission also recommended
urban growth boundaries as one tool to discourage suburban sprawl.
On January 7, 1999, Governor Ridge issued an Executive Order4
setting forth the policy of the Commonwealth to guide all Commonwealth
agencies when making decisions that impact the use of land. To accomplish
his goals, the Governor designated the Center for Local Government Services
as the lead state agency responsible for land use assistance and monitoring,5
directed that the Governor's Green Government Council work to ensure that
state agencies are acting consistently with the goals of the executive
order in the administration of their operations (including acquisitions
and other practices), and that the Department of Environmental Protection
establish a statewide geospatial data clearinghouse.6
The above material is excerpted
with permission from "Smart Growth at Century's End: The State of the States"
by Patricia E. Salkin, published in The Urban Lawyer, Sumr 1999
v 31 n 3, p. 601. For a complete copy of the article, please contact
The Urban Lawyer.
To read any of the proposed or existing
laws in their entirety, clickhere. Key Laws: Proposed Legislation: HB 90 – (Untitled) Historic Preservation Tax
Credits (2001) Similar to the federal Historic Homeownership
Assistance Act introduced in the U.S. House last year, the Pennsylvania
House recently passed HB 90 which would give a 20 percent state income-tax
credit to someone who buys and restores a historically significant property
and agrees to live in it for at least five years. Owners also would be
exempt from the 6 percent state sales tax on materials and services used
to restore their homes.
Existing Legislation: HB 14 & SB 300 Growing Smarter
(2000) House Bill 14 and SB 300 will encourage cities
to create general plans that will allow for the the reservation of certain
land for future public purpose and by the acquisition of such land; to
promote the conservation of energy through the use of planning practices
and to promote the effective utilization of renewable energy sources.
It will also provide for the establishment of planning commissions, planning
departments, planning committees and zoning hearing boards, authorizing
them to charge fees, make inspections and hold public hearings. Additionally,
it will provide the legal mechanisms for cities to provide a "Transfer
of Development Rights" scheme.
HB 868 Growing Greener (1999) Growing Greener is the largest investment in
Pennsylvania’s environment in modern history. Signed into law by Gov. Tom
Ridge in December 1999, the nearly $650 million spending plan invests new
money and redirects existing funds to address the environmental challenges
of the 21st century: loss of open space and farmland, tainted waterways,
abandoned mines, aging sewer systems, and repair backlogs at state parks
Funds provided by Growing Greener will be split
among four state agencies on an annual basis: Department of Conservation
and Natural Resources, Department of Environmental Protection, Department
of Agriculture, and Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority, the
agency that helps communities upgrade their water and sewer systems.
$125 million to eliminate the infrastructure
maintenance backlog in state parks and forests. Money will be used to make
major repairs and upgrades to roads, bridges, sewer and water systems,
campsites and cabins, buildings, dams, marinas, trails and other needed
improvements as necessary.
About $27.4 million for matching grants to acquire
land to protect open space and critical natural habitat; to conserve river
resources; to create greenways; to build community parks and playgrounds;
and to promote and enhance heritage tourism through the Pennsylvania Heritage
Parks Program. The Growing Greener funds will augment DCNR’s existing
Community Conservation Partnership grant programs.
The Growing Greener Grants include:
Community Grant Program Rivers Conservation Program Land Trust Grant Program Rail-to-trails Grant Program Pennsylvania Heritage Parks Program. Growing Greener funds also may be used to supplement
research and protection efforts for the state's native nongame wildlife
and wild plants through the Wild Resource Conservation Fund. Funding
requests will continue to come through the Wild Resource Conservation program.
HB 2057 Industrial Sites Environmental
Assessment Act (2000) Gov. Ridge signed House Bill 2057 on March 17
to provide performance-based loans to businesses and communities for remediation
and cleanup of non-hazardous wastes, including waste tires, at abandoned
industrial sites. The new law, sponsored by Rep. Jere L. Strittmatter (R-Lancaster),
amended the Industrial Sites Environmental Assessment Act authorizing the
Department of Community and Economic Development to make performance-based
loans for the remediation of brownfield sites and cleanup of non-hazardous
waste through the Industrial Sites Cleanup Fund.
Green Government Council The mission of the Governor's Green Government
Council is to assist Commonwealth agencies to implement strategic environmental
management practices which support sustainable development and move towards
the Commonwealth goal of zero emissions. The Council is similar to
a clearinghouse on the various environmental initiatives taken by the Governor's
office (such as Green Building and Energy Programs).
Farmland Trust Mid-Atlantic Field Program
1200 18th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20036
CALENDAR OF EVENTS
"Statewide Comprehensive Planning: The Next Wave," in Statewide Comprehensive
Planning, (American Bar Association 1993).
2 Pa. Executive
3 See, Smart Growth
Network, Smart Growth Network Progress Report: Moving Smart Growth from
Theory to Policy & Practice (ICMA/EPA/ULI 1998) at 12.
4 Executive Order
1999-1(Governor's Land Use Announcement 1-7-99, press release and Executive
5 The following
eight policies are enumerated:
1. Soundly planned growth is in
the best long term interests of the Commonwealth and should be encouraged
at all levels of government.
2. Farmland and open space are
valued Commonwealth natural resources and resaonable measures for their
preservation should be promoted.
3. Development should be encouraged
and supported in areas that have been previously developed or in locally
designated growth areas.
4. Because land use decisions made
at the local level have an impact that expands beyond municipal boundaries,
regional cooperation among local governments should be encouraged.
5. The consitutional private property
rights of PA must be preserved.
6. The Commonwealth shall work
to improve the understanding of the impact of land use decisions
on the environmental, economic and social health of communities.
7. Sustaining the eocnomic and
social vitality of PA's communities must be a priority of state government.
8. Infrastructure maintenance and
improvement plans should be consistent with sound land use practices.
See, Executive Order 1999-1.
the Executive Order charges the Center with developing an inventory of
sound land use practices and making it readily available: providing technical
assistance and education to localities in implementing the objectives of
the executive order; encouraging intermunicipal cooperation in planning
and zoning; working with other state agencies to develop strategies to
advance the agenda; working to help incorporate the statewide greenway
plan into local and regional planning straegies; creating an advisory committee;
and reporting to the Governor including the submission of recommendations
in further support of the goals.