A land bank would improve property values

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An article by Moriah Balingit, “Bill Addresses Vacated Land” (Jan. 15), reported that Pittsburgh Councilwoman Deb Gross proposes the creation of a land bank. This is good news for all real estate owners. Sale and development of the vacated properties will increase the tax base, thereby lowering property taxes.

Most of the vacated lots are vacant or contain a dilapidated building. The benefit will be maximized if the tax on these and all other properties is applied more to the value of the land than of the building. A suitable starting point would be to exempt from taxation 20 percent of the assessed value of each building.

If construction and improvement of buildings is stimulated, the real estate values and tax revenues will rise. The percentage exemption could increase. The value of the neighborhood is increased by expensive buildings, not by plots of vacant or underdeveloped land.

HERBERT BARRY III
Oakland


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