Public Hearing Wednesday on Atlantic on Revitalization Plan/Tax abatement


July 1st, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The Atlantic City Council, Wednesday evening, will hold a public hearing on a proposed Urban Revitalization Plan (URP) for the City of Atlantic. City Administrator Doug Harris said under the Urban Revitalization Act in Chapter 404 of the Code of Iowa, the Council is authorized to designate areas that have a substantial number of deteriorated or deteriorating structures as being qualified for designation as an Urban Revitalization Area (URA).

The objective is to revitalize slums and blighted areas and stop the spread of urban blight. The proposed URP makes a finding of widespread blight, and designates the entire area within the corporate limits of the City as an URA. Harris says the proposed URP would provide 5-year tax exemptions or abatements for all qualified improvements made to residential or commercial real estate that are completed on or before Dec. 31st, 2017.

Confusion he says, lies in the language in the proposed plan, which states abatements “may” be given retroactively. Bob Josten, the City’s legal counsel on these types of issues, has said Iowa Code specifies tax abatements can only be granted for projects that begin AFTER the adoption of an URP. Harris says the Council needs to ask questions and carefully consider the complex public policy, so the URP will effectively achieve objectives, yet be cost effective and not result in unwanted trade-offs or unintended consequences.

In other business, the Council will act on the issuance of a Notice of Violation of the City Ordinance with regard to five violations found after a property owner at 305 Cedar Street made a connection to the City’s Sanitary Sewer main. The Council is required to give official notice of the violations. They will also act on the 3rd and final reading of an Ordinance pertaining to “Airport Land Use and Height Overlay Zoning.” A public hearing on the Ordinance was held June 4th, during which there were no objections. If approved, it deregulates and restricts the height of structures, objects and growth of natural vegetation, as well as land uses within the vicinity of the Atlantic Municipal Airport, as required by the FAA.

The Atlantic City Council meeting begins at 5:30-p.m. Wednesday in their Chambers at City Hall.