State Senator David G. Argall (R-29) Thursday addressed housing and community development leaders during the Housing Alliance of Pennsylvania's Annual 'Homes Within Reach' Conference, held at the Harrisburg Hilton.

Argall, who serves as vice chairman of the Senate Urban Affairs and Housing Committee, addressed the gathering to discuss his legislation to eliminate blighted and abandoned properties throughout the Commonwealth.

"Growing up in a small community in the Anthracite region of Pennsylvania, I have witnessed firsthand the problems that occur when properties sit empty. The state needs to get more aggressive in giving local municipalities effective tools to address abandoned and blighted properties," Argall said. "That is why I have decided to sponsor Senate Bill 900."

Senate Bill 900, known as the Neighborhood Blight Reclamation and Revitalization Act, would require property owners to bring any property that has serious code violations which threaten the public's health and safety into code compliance before they could obtain any municipal permits or approvals for any other property they own in the Commonwealth. It would also require property owners that created the blighted conditions to pay the local costs of demolition, or to secure a blighted property.

"We have incorporated many of the suggestions offered by organizations, like the Housing Alliance, into this legislation, and I am pleased that all of this hard work has culminated in a bill that will fight blight in our neighborhoods," Argall further noted.

As a member of the House of Representatives, Argall also authored Pennsylvania's Downtown Location Law, encouraging state agencies to lead by example by locating state office facilities in downtown areas in order to facilitate the revitalization of traditional business districts throughout the Commonwealth.

The Housing Alliance of Pennsylvania is a statewide membership coalition of housing professionals established in 1985.