Columbus Council To Vote On New Tax Break Requirements

Jul 30, 2018

Columbus City Council will consider a new tax abatement policy during Monday night's regular meeting, as well as a modest slate of amendments to make the measure more stringent.

Columbus leaders have spent the past two years revamping the city’s policy for property tax incentives. The city has taken criticism for the past few years for granting tax breaks to developers in well-off neighborhoods like the Short North, which some residents argue don't need incentives.

Under the new plan, developers in any of the city’s community reinvestment areas (CRAs) can get their taxes waived for a number of years, but in most neighborhoods they’ll have to invest in affordable housing to get the tax break.

On Monday, City Council will take up the underlying proposal as well as a handful of amendments making it more expensive for property owners to buy their way out of building affordable units.

Builders are supposed to set aside one-fifth of their units for mid and low-income residents. One amendment, tied to the most prosperous CRAs, raises the penalty for renting at market rate to 150 percent of the additional dollars those units generate.

Another change applying to neighborhoods in the middle tier of CRAs would raise the buyout to a one-time, $5,000 fee per affordable unit.