Archive for Thursday, October 19, 2006

Commission hears action plan for TIF district

October 19, 2006

The development of a commercial incentive district should fall together like pieces in a puzzle, Eudora planning consultant Scott Michie said.

The city and consulting firm Bucher, Willis and Ratcliff have a plan to develop a Tax Increment Finance district in an area north of 10th Street and east of 2300 Road.

A TIF district gives potential developers a way to pay for infrastructural improvements by bonding out the needed improvements. Tax money raised from the district would go to pay off the bond issue.

Michie and Eudora City Administrator Cheryl Beatty broke down the process Oct. 4 for the Eudora Planning Commission.

Basically, the city will conduct a series of studies for a stretch of land spanning from about north of 10th Street in order to show the county it is fit for annexation.

"It's killing about four birds with one stone because it all ties into a united district plan," Michie said. "It addresses all the infrastructure and the land use planning issues we need to address for all those studies."

The Eudora City Council had to OK an addendum to Michie's contract Sept. 25 to conduct the studies.

"We're confident now we can define this as a multi-phase study," Michie said.

By conducting the series of studies, the city can look at growth in the bigger picture and try to annex the land in one big chunk, Michie said.

"That's the current thinking as opposed to a series of piecemeal annexations," Michie said.

In the plan, the city would need to first draft a Capital Improvement Plan.

The CIP basically lines out what needs to be done in the projected area to make the land fit for development.

"That would then serve the basis for a land use plan," Michie said.

The next step after drafting the land use plan is to file recommendations for zoning.

During the zoning phase, the planning commission might weigh how much commercial zoning the area will take on as opposed to residential.

In addition to zoning, the city will have to look at infrastructural needs like roadwork or sewer issues as the process progresses.

"It all becomes sort of a three-dimensional puzzle," Michie said.

Once the district is annexed, the city could consider setting up a TIF if development arrives.

"You do need the data in place so that when you do have commercial interest you can move quickly," Michie said.

Not knowing for sure when and if development might come makes the process frustrating, Michie said.

"That relies on the private sector to step up with development proposals," Michie said.

Despite the unknown, the process is necessary, Beatty said.

"You can't do that kind of annexation without all those numbers," Beatty said.

The annexation could lead to the TIF district, which would be a draw for developers.

"It will give us the tool we need in order to step out on community development," Beatty said.

Bringing in developers is necessary for Eudora to grow because it would expand the tax base, Beatty said.

"That's why we need to use economic tools like this to move the city forward," Beatty said.

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