Amy Laura Cahn Fights to Save City Gardens from the Mayor's Tax Lien Sale

Maybe you haven't heard of the pilot tax lien auction that the city announced as a way to raise revenue for the severely under-funded school dstrict. To learn more of about this initiative read here: http://www.philly.com/philly/news/20150624_Philly_readies_to_auction_938_tax_liens.html

On June 11, Amy Laura Cahn joined leaders of several organizations in sending a letter to Mayor Michael Nutter requesting that the City of Philadelphia postpone a tax lien auction scheduled for June 17, 2015. - See more at: http://www.pilcop.org/dear-philly-postpone-tax-liens-auction/#sthash.WvduWROC.dpuf. After scrutinizing some of the properties listed, these leaders found many discrepancies in the city's record regarding the liens.

Though the auction has already started, The Law Center has taken extra steps to inform the city about gardens that would be affected by this process. In a letter to the Revenue Commissioner, Amy Laura Cahn writes:

Dear Commissioner Tolson and Mr. Muniz,

I am writing to inquire about the process to remove properties from the pilot tax lien sale list. Having cross-referenced the lien sale list with the Law Center’s community garden database, my office has identified five properties that are part of active community gardens or market farms. For several reasons, these properties do not seem to be appropriate candidates for the tax lien sale as the lien sale will likely jeopardize the preservation of these spaces as community gardens and market farms. In particular, several of these properties part of multi-parcel gardens that are ideal candidates for assembly and preservation by the Philadelphia Land Bank.

I am including the list of properties and details about each below. I am cc’ing John Carpenter and Jennifer Kates from the Land Bank board, as well as Jenny Greenberg, from the Neighborhood Gardens Trust, which has been working with the Land Bank on a garden preservation strategy, in line with the Land Bank strategic plan. Please feel free to be in touch if you have any questions.

Best regards,

Amy Laura Cahn

Staff Attorney Public Interest Law Center

According to the Public Interest Law Center’s Garden Justice Legal Initiative, the properties listed below are active gardens or side yards. The City should investigate further whether the sale of liens on these properties is appropriate:

1209 South Markoe St.

12 S. 43rd St.

1023 W. Cumberland St.

1302 N. 15th St.

5150 Wayne Ave.