Archive for Thursday, May 24, 2007

TIF district returns to counci

May 24, 2007

Citizens have the opportunity to express opinions Tuesday on a possible TIF district during a public hearing at the Eudora City Council meeting.

The meeting was delayed until Tuesday because of the Memorial Day holiday.

In April, the council accepted a blight study from planning consultants Bucher, Willis & Ratliff that deemed an area east of town unfit for development.

The possible TIF district area encompasses Intech Business Park, the planned Deer Valley subdivision as well as 30 acres on the northeast side of 1400 Road.

The district will be used as a means to spur commercial growth in the area.

So far, Eudora City Administrator Cheryl Beatty said she hasn't fielded many questions about the TIF district leading up to the public hearing.

The closest thing is briefing the newest city council members, Beatty said.

"I haven't had any negative feedback," Beatty said.

The district works by using a bond to pay for needed infrastructure improvements at the location. To pay for the bond, the district basically freezes the district at its current assessed value. Any taxes brought in excess of its valuation in the first year will go toward retiring the bond.

Deer Valley developers Wilson & Hoover, LLC agreed to back the bond should the district fall through.

So far, the possibility of a TIF district hasn't caught interest from other local developers is partly because more residential developers work in the area than commercial, Beatty said.

"They haven't gotten to commercial," Beatty said. "That's what makes this project unique ---- there's not a lot of commercial development right now."

Drew Perry, who was a co-developer of the Shadow Ridge subdivision, said he could understand Wilson and Hoover's interest in the district.

"It's definitely a vehicle for financial development," Perry said.

The district could give Wilson and Hoover an unfair advantage over the competition if it were used for non-commercial or residential purposes, Perry said.

His partner in Shadow Ridge, John McGrew, said he could see a larger benefit for using the district.

"From my point of view it does create jobs, yet there are people that feel like it costs the community too much," McGrew said. "I personally don't see that, because it seems your talking about industry that wouldn't come otherwise."

Following the district's formation, Wilson and Hoover will still need to submit a project plan to the city.

The plan will attempt to approve the financial viability of their project, Beatty said.

The city council and Eudora Planning Commission would both need to approve the project plan before construction could begin.

The city's financial analysts would also need to accept the project plans, Beatty said.

"There will be a public meeting on that as well," she said.

The council meeting will be at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at Eudora City Hall, 4 East Seventh St.

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