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Columbus Finalizing Changes To Tax Break Policies To Encourage Affordable Housing Development

Jul 19, 2018

 Columbus leaders have announced a new tax abatement strategy designed to increase affordable housing stock. 

The strategy splits the city's 12 community reinvestment areas into three tiers. Tax breaks in neighborhoods from the highest tier will include greater requirements for developers to create affordable housing. Mayor Andy Ginther says developments in neighborhoods in the lowest tier, such as Linden, will be eligible for a 15-year, 100-percent abatement.

Market-ready districts include the Short North. Builders must offer 20 percent of their units at below-market rate to receive a tax break. Ginther says developers may cut or eliminate the requirements if they invest in office space, environmental remediation or the local Affordable Housing Trust Fund. The city estimates there is a 54 thousand unit affordable housing gap in Franklin County. City officials will examine the CRA designations every three years. Council member Elizabeth Brown says the new policy reflects the city's commitment to affordable housing and helps meet the different needs of each neighborhood, citing as an example  the nearly completed River and Rich apartment complex in Franklinton.

Developers are the largest contributors to the campaigns of elected city officials. Columbus City Council is expected to take up related legislation July 30, and plans to push back the July 31 cut-off date for developers to get city approval for projects under the existing rules. Council will hold a public hearing on the proposed changes this coming Monday at 3pm at City Hall