The advantages far outweigh the disadvantages. The advantages to having a redevelopment agency are:
- Provides additional funds to address community needs.
- Allows for more centralization of planning efforts.
- Good source of match funds normally required for other grant programs.
- Plans are derived through public participation throughout the redevelopment district.
- "Frees-up" local revenue funds allowing them to be spent elsewhere in the city.
- Provides a long-term outlook of what the district would like to be.
The disadvantages are:
- Improvements take long to realize a difference in the area.
- It can become political.
- Often not enough money to realize all of the improvements within the district.
- Although a CRA may be a powerful tool, the prioritization of projects may become too overwhelming.
- By definition eminent domain is the authority to acquire or take, or to authorize the taking of, private property for a public use or for a public purpose with just compensation offered for the taking. As it relates to redevelopment agencies, an agency cannot carry out the power of eminent domain. Under Florida State Statutes, only a governing body of a municipality or county can exercise eminent domain. Eminent domain is used when the value of just compensation, through an appraisal process, cannot be determined. Eminent domain involves a court process that establishes the just compensation value for a piece of property along with related to court costs, expert testimony fees, legal fees and any punitive damages to the seller. This becomes a very expensive cost and usually if the owner of the property and the buyer of the property cannot settle on a fee outside of court, the property is not bought. There are no elements or strategies identified in the Bayfront Redevelopment Plan that require eminent domain.
The Bayfront Community Redevelopment Agency’s Redevelopment Plan identifies strategies for the benefit of the entire Bayfront Redevelopment District, as well as for the special character districts. The plan was updated in 2010. The updated plan provides goals, objectives, policies and projects for the Redevelopment Agency to try to attain its vision of the District being redeveloped as an attractive, inviting, and economically successful community with residential, commercial/retail and mixed use areas that promote a positive image and marine village for the enjoyment of the community and region. Some of the more important strategies identified in the Plan include the following: business development loans, business and residential facade and beautification improvements, community policing, streetscape improvements, economic development marketing strategies, gateway improvements, public facility (park and infrastructure) improvements, public information programs, land acquisition of strategic properties to eliminate blight and accelerate the revitalization process, special events, etc. More detail can be found in the Bayfront Community Redevelopment District 2024 Plan, “Creating a Bayfront Village on the Indian River Lagoon”.
- Basically any strategy that will address existing conditions contributed to the area being designated as a redevelopment district may be funded. Examples of some of the common types of strategies that are implemented by redevelopment agencies include economic development strategies, community or neighborhood preservation plans, public facility improvements, streetscape and facade guidelines, community policing programs, preservation of housing, development of affordable housing, transportation improvements, and marketing plans and studies.
- Not necessarily, the amount of TIF funds is determined by the cumulative value of the property value in the redevelopment district. An increase in the value may be because of a new business locating within the district or substantial improvements made to existing buildings, thus causing a higher property value. The short answer is that if your property taxes are increased, that should be a positive indication of the rise in property values throughout the district.
- It is only possible to project how much will be received from TIF financing. A Basis of Planning Report was prepared to help make this determination. Initial High and low growth scenarios were developed for projection purposes. Over a thirty-year period, the initial scenarios showed as little as $1,029,258 received and as much as $12,700,055 in cumulative revenues. A projection prepared by Fishkind and Associates in 2006 estimated $54.25 million in cumulative revenues to the year 2024. This estimate however did not anticipate the economic recession that has drastically reduced property values in the state, county and city. Annual TIFs for the BCRA have ranged from a low of $24,896 in FY99/00 to a high of $1.2 million in FY08/09. The TIF for FY11/12 was approximately $674,000.
- The concept of tax increment financing (TIF) was first introduced in 1977. It is a powerful resource tool for use by the redevelopment agency. With tax increment financing, the value of all property within the community redevelopment area is established for a base year. Thereafter, 95% of any ad valorem taxes collected which are derived from an increase in the value of property within the redevelopment area over the base year are deposited in the trust fund for the purpose of carrying out the redevelopment strategies in the redevelopment area.
- Once the redevelopment agency and the local municipality have adopted the redevelopment plan, a redevelopment trust fund is established for the purpose of depositing tax increment financing (TIF) funds and for paying for the costs of activities and strategies. Other funds such as Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) HOME and State Housing Initiative Partnership (SHIP) funds can also be used. TIF funds are also commonly used as a required match contribution for other grants and funding sources.
By Resolution 95-72, adopted December 21, 1995, the Palm Bay City Council made its Finding of Necessity, thus establishing the redevelopment district known as the Bayfront Redevelopment District. The boundaries of the district are west along the city limits from the Indian River Lagoon to the Florida East Coast (FEC) Railroad; south along the FEC Railroad for approximately 2,200 feet; west along the city limits to Lipscomb; south on Lipscomb to Pacific Ave; east on Pacific to Northview St; south on Northview to Conlan Blvd; south on Conlan to Palm Bay Rd. east along the southern limit of lots fronting Palm Bay Rd. to the FEC Railroad; south along the FEC Railroad to the city limits at the Town of Malabar; east along the city limits to the Indian River Lagoon and north along the Indian River Lagoon to the city limits at the City of Melbourne. The area is further divided into five sub-character districts: the Powell Subdivision District; the Kirby Industrial District; the Riverview District which extends from the northern edge, south along the U.S. 1 corridor to Orange Blossom Trail; the Bayfront Redevelopment Village which extends from Orange Blossom Trail, south along the U.S. 1 corridor to the Turkey Creek Bridge, and the South Cove District which extends from the Turkey Creek bridge, south along the U.S. 1 corridor to the southern city limits.
- The process for designating an area as a redevelopment district is two-fold. First, the municipality must adopt a Finding of Necessity that an area has at least two of the characteristics mentioned above for slum and blight. Next, The Community Redevelopment Agency is formed and develops a redevelopment plan for the redevelopment district. The redevelopment plan may include strategies up to a thirty-year period that the Agency intends to implement in order to accomplish redevelopment or revitalization of the redevelopment area.
Slum is defined by Florida Statutes as an area which there is a predominance of buildings, residential or commercial, that are either deteriorated, dilapidated or by reason of obsolescence, is a detriment to the public health, safety, morals, or welfare. Florida Statutes define blight as an area determined by the local government to have the characteristics of a slum area or two (2) or more of the following characteristics:
- Predominance of defective or inadequate street layout, parking facilities, roadways, bridges, or public transportation.
- Failure of aggregate assessed values to increase in 5 years.
- Faulty lot layout in relation to size, adequacy, accessibility, or usefulness.
- Unsanitary or unsafe conditions.
- Deterioration of site or other improvements.
- Inadequate and outdated building density standards.
- Falling lease rates per square foot of office, commercial, or industrial space compared to the remainder of the county or municipality.
- Tax or special assessment delinquency exceeding fair value of the land.
- Residential and commercial vacancy rates higher in the area than in the remainder of the county or municipality.
- Incidence of crime in the area higher than in the remainder of the county or municipality.
- Fire and emergency medical service call to the area proportionately higher than in the remainder of the county or municipality.
- A greater number of violations of the Florida Building Code in the area than the number of violations recorded in the remainder of the county or municipality.
- Diversity of property ownership or defective or unusual conditions of title.
- Governmental owned property with adverse environmental conditions caused by a public or private entity.
- Florida Statutes, Chapter 163, Part III, provides for each city and county to create a community redevelopment agency for the purpose of eliminating and preventing the development of slum and blighted areas or for the provision of affordable housing. There are currently 178 CRA’s in the State of Florida