Bella Vista-based nonprofit is working the system to reduce blight

The nonprofit Scioli Turco has taken advantage of an obscure state law to transform nine abandoned, blighted buildings into livable, tax-contributing homes over the last several years, and it’s moving on next to this one at 1342 S 16th St.:

1342 s 16th st

City Paper reports that the company, named after the defunct Bella Vista VFW post that was its first project, compels the courts to appoint it conservator of long-blighted properties in good neighborhoods through a law called Act 135. Says City Paper:

The law, enacted by the state legislature in 2009, works like this: Neighbors and nonprofits can petition a judge and argue that they should become the court-appointed “conservator” of a blighted structure. If, after a four-month grace period, the judge rules that the property meets certain criteria, including a lack of owner activity and obvious structural problems, the conservator gets control of the property. If the property gets redeveloped and sold, the conservator gets back construction costs plus a 20 percent “award,” while any remaining profits compensate the former owner.

An amendment to the law has been proposed to include vacant lots as well.

Back in January, the Passyunk Square Civic Association heard from the nonprofit’s CEO, Joel Palmer. If you know of a house that needs help, you can put it on Palmer’s radar by contacting him here, or you can add the property to the PSCA’s watch list of abandoned houses here.