Program Objective: The primary objective of Luzerne County’s Scattered Site Demolition Program is to upgrade neighborhoods through the elimination of slum, blight and hazardous conditions which constitute a menace to health and safety. The County’s Program is not intended to eliminate the financial and maintenance responsibility of private property owners. The program is principally designed to address municipal owned structures or those identified by government with private owners who are financially unable to address the deteriorated condition of the structure.
Funding Source: Funds are derived from the County’s Community Development Block Grant Program Demolition budget.
Eligible Funding Recipients: Boroughs and Townships who participate in the County’s Community Development Program are eligible to apply for demolition funding. Funds are not available to private individuals; however, municipalities may apply for funding to raze privately owned properties, with the owner’s consent. Note: Properties owned by a member, officer, employee, elected official or any other public official of the Municipality applying for funding who exercises any function with respect to the demolition activities are ineligible.
Eligible Structures: Demolition funding is available for razing residential properties. Sheds, barns, garages, and other non-residential structures are not eligible, unless part of a residential site being cleared. Non-residential structures that are municipally owned will be considered on a case-by-case basis. All structures must be vacant. County funding will not be utilized for properties that will create displacement of occupants. Properties owned by businesses or non-profits are not eligible through this program. (See Non-Municipal Demolition Activities)
Eligible Costs: Demolition of structure, and removal of debris and environmental contaminants are all eligible costs under the County’s Program. Legal fees, engineering fees, advertising, asbestos inspections and all other fees are not eligible for funding by the County. The municipality has the option of passing all or part of these costs on to the property owner or placing a lien against the property for all fees incurred by the municipality in carrying out the project.
Post Demolition Use of Site: The County must be advised at the time of application of the intended use of the site after demolition. If the site is not intended to remain vacant, the proposed use must meet County eligibility/fundability requirements and may require additional regulatory compliance.
Liens: A lien in the amount of the County participation for demolition and clearance will be placed against all privately owned properties, insuring repayment of funds to the County in the event the property is sold or title transferred within 5 years. The value of the lien will be reduced by 20% of the original County investment annually. Should the property not be sold or transferred within 5 years, all County demolition funds will be forgiven. In the event of the death of the property owner, transfer of title to the designated heir, will not activate repayment requirements as long as the use of the property is unchanged for the balance of the term of the lien. Liens will not be placed on government owned properties.
Additional Program Requirements:
Municipally Owned Properties
- If the municipality has owned the property for less than 3 years, demolition costs must be defrayed from its CDBG allocation from the County. See Municipal Spot Slum and Blight Clearance Program.
- If the property has been owned for 3 years or more by the municipality, County Scattered Site Demolition Program funds may be requested.
- The municipality must submit a demolition application to the County, along with required supportive documentation specified in the application.
- Approved activities must be carried out in accordance with program requirements, including County bidding procedures, execution of Release and Right of Entry Certification, asbestos analysis and completion of required legal certifications. An information packet and guidance will be provided by the County.
Privately Owned Properties (non-business owners)
- Requests must come through the municipality.
- The property owner(s) must have owned the property for at least five (5) years.
- The owner(s) must be low to moderate income.
- The owner(s) must not be in arrears on County property taxes.
- The owner(s) must not have previously had properties razed with County demolition funding.
- The Municipality must submit a demolition application to the County, including owner income data and all other required supportive documentation specified in the application.
- The Municipality must provide records of notices to owner of deteriorated property condition and the requirement to improve the structure or tear it down, along with action/responses of owner.
- Approved activities must be carried out in accordance with program requirements, including County bidding procedures, execution of Release and Right of Entry agreements, asbestos analysis and completion of required legal certifications. An information packet and guidance will be provided by the County.
Note: In the event demand on County demolition funds exceeds available dollars, preference will be given to those municipalities who have not received demolition assistance during the previous 12 month period.
Non-Municipal Demolition Activities: Demolition funding may, at the County’s option, also be made available for the site clearance phase of Community Development funded activities that will result in job creation, development of multi-housing opportunities, or other key community development goals. Demolition funding is also available for razing County owned properties. Non-profit organizations must apply directly to the County, and will be considered on a case-by-case basis, taking into consideration the level of need and funding availability. For-profit businesses are not eligible for funding under the County’s Demolition Program, however, demolition may be included as part of the construction costs for an activity funded through the County’s Business Development Loan Program. The County reserves the right to waive any of these procedures to address situations it deems to be of emergency in nature.