Archive for Thursday, April 26, 2007

Council declares eastern district blighted

April 26, 2007

The Eudora City Council accepted a blight study Monday by city engineering consultants Bucher, Willis & Ratliff, which deemed an area east of town unfit for development.

The blighted area encompasses all of Intech Business Park and the planned Deer Valley subdivision as well as 30 acres on the northeast side of 1400 Road.

The city's bonding attorney, Gilmore and Bell, accepted the terms of the blight study, Eudora City Administrator Cheryl Beatty said.

"Bucher Willis & Ratliff has shown us a report that establishes blight does exist in the area in question and meets all the legal tests for blight," Beatty said.

After declaring the area blighted, the city council moved forward to set a public hearing for the formation of a Tax Increment Financing district at the location.

The district is set to be north and south of 10th Street and east and west of East 2300 Road.

The TIF district's goal is to encourage commercial growth in the area by using tax dollars to pay infrastructural improvements including roads and sewers. The district works by using a bond to pay for the needed improvements. Any property tax generated in the district in excess of its valuation in the first year goes toward retiring the bond.

As of now, the council still has to decide if it wants to collect both sales and property taxes to pay off the bond or just property taxes, Beatty said in an earlier interview.

"The current view is both," Beatty said.

The proposed district is separated into three project areas.

The first project area, located in the northwest corner of the district, would be built first.

It would include residential homes and related infrastructure, a shopping center with general retail, specialty retail and restaurants. It also allows for the possibility of office space or light industrial buildings north of the shopping center.

The next area, located at the northeast corner of the district, would include another shopping center with general retail, specialty shops, office space and restaurants.

The final project area, located on the south side of the district, would include a strip center to house office space, free standing buildings to house commercial and office space, the renovation and expansion of the current industrial buildings and a new industrial building.

Deer Valley developers Wilson and Hoover LLC have agreed to fund the initial improvements for the commercial development in the first project area. They would be reimbursed by the city through TIF funds once their projects are complete, Beatty said.

She described the process as "pay as you go."

A TIF committee would approve any funds used within the district.

The council unanimously accepted an ordinance to accept the blight study and declare the area blighted and a different ordinance to set the public hearing for the formation of the district.

The council set the public hearing at 7:30 p.m. May 29 at Eudora City Hall, 4 East Seventh St.

The city has been working on the district's formation since the fall of 2006, Beatty said.

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