By Linda Dillman
Canal Winchester is seeking to establish a Community Reinvestment Area along U.S. Route 33 to spur economic development in an area that has not enjoyed reinvestment from remodeling or new construction.
The 450 acres designated by Canal Winchester City Council as the Route 33 Community Reinvestment Area is an area where housing or structures of historical significance are located and where new construction or repair of existing facilities has been discouraged.
“There’s not a lot of money being invested in those properties for renovation,” said Development Director Lucas Haire. “The properties are declining or holding their value. The ages of the homes are older than surrounding communities.”
According to a resolution unanimously passed by council on Oct. 15, the reinvestment area is bordered by the western boundary of the corporate city limits; the eastern edge of the county line north of U.S. 33 and the Tussing Bachman ditch south of U.S. 33; a northern boundary of U.S. 33 to the west and then crossing U.S. 33 at Cemetery Road and then north to the corporate limits; and a southern boundary of Winchester Boulevard to the west and then following the frontage parcels of U.S 33. along Waterloo Street east to include one seven acre out parcel on the south side of Waterloo Street and then back to the north of Waterloo Street to the Tussing-Bachmann Ditch.
“This resolution allows us to create a new CRA,” said Haire. “We have two CRAs—all pre-1994. This is the first time there is a proposal to create a post-1994 CRA. We chose this specific area because of some of the properties. Canal Winchester has really boomed over the last 25 years. For this area, it’s not been so great, primarily because of U.S. 33.”
Maintenance of existing structures and construction of new structures within the new CRA could encourage economic stability, maintain real property values, and generate new employment opportunities. Remodeling of existing structures and the construction of new structures in the area constitutes a public purpose for which real property exemptions may be granted.
Tax exemptions of up to 10 years and up to 50 percent of at least $100,000 in remodeling costs of existing commercial or industrial facilities would be negotiated on a case-by-case basis.
Exemptions of up to 15 years and up to 100 percent for the construction of new commercial or industrial facilities would also be negotiated on a case-by-case basis in advance of construction.
Only commercial and/or industrial properties consistent with the applicable zoning regulations within the Community Reinvestment Area would be eligible for exemptions under the program.
Haire said there are a variety of underdeveloped, developed and available parcels with in the designated area and, out of the 450 acres within the CRA, 240 are already for sale.
“This area is definitely in need of new development and new construction,” said Haire, who added city approval of the CRA is only the first step in the process. “The development director for the state needs to sign off. We want to meet with the school board. We’ll negotiate with them what’s fair. We want it to be a win-win for everyone.”