Ypsilanti mayor voices support for proposed Washtenaw Avenue tax-capturing district
"I think it's something that's really worth consideration," Schreiber told council members. "Washtenaw Avenue is really the lifeline between Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti, and it certainly could use some improvement. It needs some walkability improvements, bike-ability improvements and also public transportation improvements."
Ryan J. Stanton | AnnArbor.com
Ypsilanti and Ann Arbor are two of four communities exploring the idea of forming a joint corridor improvement authority together, along with Pittsfield and Ypsilanti townships.
It would essentially be a special tax-capturing improvement zone that would help fund redevelopment along the corridor, which spans the four communities and has been the focus of the ongoing Reimagining Washtenaw Avenue corridor study project.
"If all four communities want to do this, we can get together and show the state that we're working together," Schreiber said.
Under the state's Corridor Improvement Authority Act of 2005, local municipalities are allowed to set up authorities that use tax-increment financing to make capital improvements within an established commercial district. The act allows communities that already have downtown development authorities to extend similar benefits to aging commercial corridors.
"I know there are some people worried about a TIF or what it's going to cost," Schreiber said, referring to the capture of taxes. He said it could be structured in a way so each taxing unit realizes "the least amount of pain and also some good investment'' in the community.
"The TIF could be levied against only new investment and new construction — or even partially against new construction, so as that construction occurs and the property values go up, part of that would go through to the municipality," he said.
Schreiber said an authority overseeing redevelopment along Washtenaw Avenue could streamline the zoning and permitting process for the entire corridor.
No action was taken Monday night. Ann Arbor's planning staff said in a memo to council that it will continue to collect feedback and information. Staff intends to arrange a special council working session later this year to provide a summary and to ask for direction.
The city has released a 58-page document titled "Washtenaw Avenue Corridor Redevelopment Strategy."
- Click here to download a copy.
Ryan J. Stanton covers government and politics for AnnArbor.com. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 734-623-2529.