F’ville eyes tax help for westside developers

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The city of Fayetteville will consider funding a study Thursday night that could ultimately help speed along the development of the property near Pinewood Atlanta.

The city is considering creating a TAD, or Tax Allocation District, to help spur the development in the West Fayetteville District. It would be the city’s second foray into TADs.

In his memo to the City Council. City Manager Ray Gibson outlines the reason for studying the proposal:

“Over the last few years, the city has seen the growth of the West Fayetteville area, including the development of Pinewood Atlanta Studios. The main issue with future developments of the area is the lack of necessary infrastructure (water, sewer, multi-use trails),” Gibson said.

He added the city is unable to fund such projects and recommends a TAD study be conducted by Bleakley Advisory Group.

According to Georgia State’s Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, TADS were first used in Georgia in 1998; by 2013, there were 64 such districts in the state. TADS traditionally freeze property tax values at a certain rate over a stated amount of time that would allow development to occur.

The policy paper from the school further explains more about the districts by stating that tax allocation districts capture incremental property tax revenue increases in a specified geographic area.The anticipated or actual incremental increases are then used to finance activities to promote economic development.

“The economic development in turn should stimulate increased growth in tax revenues. The most significant financing innovation is the use of anticipated revenue increases to back debt.”

Fayetteville currently has one TAD that was implemented in 2010 that includes the 692 Shopping Center on North Glynn Street, the Fayette Place Shopping Center on North Glynn and, potentially, the under-utilized area of the Market Place at Lafayette that is a part of the Villages at Lafayette master plan.

TADS have usually been created in areas of economic blight or contaminated areas, such as Atlantic Station, but that is not a requirement of creating the district.

“The TAD study proposal is straight forward as presented in the exhibit and should qualify under the inadequate infrastructure clause of the State Redevelopment Powers Law. The enforcement of the law was supported by a majority of the voters through a referendum held on Nov. 6, 2012,” Gibson said. He added the voters would not have to vote on a addition TAD because the power was given to the city in the 2012 vote.

In other action Thursday night, the City Council will:

• Make a final decision on the Cobblestone Boulevard rezoning request. Mesa Capital Partners wants the property rezoned from C-3 to Residential Multi-Family 15 to build 33 townhome apartments at 2400 Cobblestone Boulevard. The request has come under fire from residents in the Oakbrook subdivision that backs up to the property. Residents have told the council the townhouse would bring noise to their neighborhood and lower their property values. The Planning Commission gave the request an unfavorable recommendation, but the staff is asking for the council’s approval.

• Approve amendments to the city’s 2015 budget. One of the main items the city is accomplishing from raising the total of all city funds from $18.9 million to $19.5 million is evening out the pay for employees.

The city’s pay compression plan, or nearly 35 percent of it, is being implemented across all city departments; that totals close to $150,000 in raises.

The city is implementing the plan because of the city’s inability to provide pay increases during the latest recession and some new employees were also making as much as employees who had several years of service.

The city is also increasing the budget for the city’s hotel/motel tax fund from $176,000 to $225,000 and increasing the vehicle rental excise fund from $76,000 to $121,000, thanks to some of the film workers who call Fayetteville home on a part-time basis.

The meeting starts at 7 p.m. at City Hall.