CH City Council creates citywide Community Reinvestment Area

The City of Cleveland Heights passed an ordinance creating a citywide Community Reinvestment Area (CRA), an economic development opportunity to encourage building and remodeling in the city. The CRA program, created by the state of Ohio, is a tool designed to stimulate economic growth in cities. A citywide CRA designation will provide owners of Cleveland Heights properties—whether residential, commercial, industrial or mixed-use—tax exemptions to renovate existing buildings or construct new buildings.

All property owners in Cleveland Heights who are remodeling their properties or constructing new buildings are eligible to apply for this tax exemption. There is an initial negotiation process between the property owners and the city for commercial, industrial and mixed-use properties. Residential property owners must fill out an application before beginning their renovations.

The tax exemption is not the same for all property owners. The rate fluctuates with various factors, including the location of the property, the amount of money invested in the redevelopment, and the type of construction. For example, a minimum investment of $25,000 per unit, or $500,000 in project costs on redeveloping multi-family dwelling units, would make the property owner eligible for a 50 percent tax exemption for seven years on the county auditor’s increased valuation of the property. If the owner spent a minimum of $1 million he or she would receive a 100 percent tax exemption for 10 years.

For new construction, areas in the city are designated as CRA target reinvestment criteria zones that help determine what areas are eligible for the highest level of exemption percentages and terms. Zones are scored from zero to 10, and areas scoring six or greater are eligible for the highest tax-exemption opportunities.

Areas in Cleveland Heights with high CRA scores include the neighborhoods north of Mayfield Road and east of North Taylor Road, and a section of the city east of Lee Road.

At the earliest, this program may be implemented in the fourth quarter of 2018. City council first began to consider this plan in September 2017 and has discussed it at various council meetings and with city stakeholders, including realtors and FutureHeights.

The ordinance creating the CRA passed on fourth reading by a unanimous vote at Cleveland Heights City Council’s July 30 meeting.

Now that council has passed the legislation, information about the legislation will run in a local newspaper for two consecutive weeks before being sent to the Ohio Development Services Agency for approval.

Julie Hullett

Julie Hullett is a 2018 graduate of John Carroll University and a summer intern for the Heights Observer.

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Volume 11, Issue 8, Posted 1:55 PM, 07.31.2018