LANSING, MI – August 20, 2009 – (RealEstateRama) — Senator Tom George will be introducing legislation allowing for the creation of a Detroit/Wayne County Redevelopment Authority. A redevelopment authority would enable the city and county to develop a cohesive strategy for stabilizing and redeveloping tax-reverted properties, the lawmaker announced today.
“A Detroit/Wayne County Redevelopment Authority could be given broad powers,” said George, R-Kalamazoo. “The authority would provide important new measures beyond those available for other local land banks.
“These might include permitting investment in public infrastructure such as lighting, curbing, and landscaping; putting affordable housing on a level playing field with commercial redevelopment by enabling the redevelopment authority to waive its tax capture on housing parcels; designation of urban agricultural zones; and empowering the authority to rezone parcels in its possession if necessary to return parcels to productive use.”
He also said his proposal would enable increased funding by allowing the redevelopment authority to capture taxes for eight years instead of the current five years.
“A lot of this simply comes down to giving local officials enough tools to do what’s necessary to turn vacant property to beneficial use,” said George.
George announced his proposal at a news conference in northwest Detroit at Motor City Blight Busters (MCBB), a community-based nonprofit organization that helps stabilize, revitalize and rejuvenate neighborhoods in Detroit.
Earlier the lawmaker toured a Detroit neighborhood with the founder and president of MCBB, John George, who is not related to the senator. John George said he is pleased with the senator’s efforts.
“Motor City Blight Busters is always looking for new soldiers in our effort to fight blight and to stabilize and revitalize our community and are excited to work with Senator George on this blight-fighting initiative,” he said. “We invite everyone to participate in Detroit’s rebirth.”
FRAMEWORK FOR A DETROIT/WAYNE COUNTY REDEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY
The legislation would amend the Land Bank Fast Track Act to enable Detroit and Wayne County to develop a cohesive strategy for stabilizing and redeveloping tax-reverted properties. It would provide the following additional tools beyond those available for local land banks:
- Increase Funding. Would allow the redevelopment authority to capture taxes for eight years instead of the current five years.
- Permit Investment in Public Infrastructure. Provisions would be similar to those governing existing downtown development authorities. Would enable improvements such as lighting, curbing, wireless Internet, and landscaping.
- Allow Participation with Neighborhood Enterprise Zones. Would allow the authority to waive its tax capture on parcels that would be developed into affordable housing, putting affordable housing on a level playing field with commercial redevelopment.
- Promote Urban Agriculture. Would create an urban agriculture zoning category for use by the redevelopment authority and enable the authority to create an Urban Agriculture Enterprise Zone that could decommission streets and other urban infrastructure for agricultural use.
- Expedite Rezoning. With the agreement of the entities creating the redevelopment authority, the redevelopment authority would be given power to rezone parcels in its possession if necessary to return parcels to productive use.
- Grant Loans for Redevelopment. Such loans would allow the authority to provide gap funding should it be necessary to bring a project to fruition.
- Provide Relocation Assistance. Would offer aid to families and businesses who sell their property to the authority for land-assembly purposes or a redevelopment project.