New Business District Boundaries To Be Discussed

Apache Junction is considering new boundaries for the city’s Single Central Business District (SCBD) that would follow the north side of Apache Trail and extend east to Tomahawk Rd. and west to Ironwood Rd. Resolution No. 18-14 would designate a new SCBD and rescind the previous designation described in Resolution No. 00-10. A public hearing will be held on May 1 at the City Council meeting that begins at 7:00 p.m. in chambers, 300 E. Superstition Blvd., Apache Junction.

At the City Council work session on April 16, Elan Vallender, the city’s economic development specialist, presented the proposed resolution.

He explained that SCBD boundaries need to lie entirely within a redevelopment area (RDA) with an adopted redevelopment plan. The boundaries need to be redrawn because a portion of the current SCBD lies outside existing RDA boundaries. He said that the new SCBD boundaries will appropriately align with an adopted RDA.

The SCBD that was drawn in 2000 was Apache Junction’s first and included an area along Apache Trail from Winchester Rd. to Meridian Dr. and two RDAs: the Apache Trail Redevelopment Area and the Crossroads Redevelopment Area.

The new SCBD would follow the north side of Apache Trail and extend east to Tomahawk Rd. and west to Ironwood Rd. The advantage to redrawing the single central business district is to improve the area and make it more desirable to developers. With the new designation, the area would qualify for Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds, as well as other development tools.

The resolution describes the designation of a SCBD as “a valuable community redevelopment tool in the City that gives the City the ability to leverage low land costs and improvements to maximize future value and potential to the City.” It describes the SCBD as “a proven tool, understood by developers, that can assist the revitalization of developmentally challenged areas.”

Redrawing the SCBD does not affect the current zoning of the area. Any future rezoning will be proposed and public hearings will be held as the need arises. However, with the rescinding of the Crossroads Redevelopment Area and the addition of the Old West Highway Redevelopment area, there are plans to assemble land into parcels that are functionally compatible, with respect to shape and size for redevelopment. There will also be efforts to “eliminate substandard and obsolete buildings, blighting influences and environmental deficiencies, which detract from the functional unity, aesthetic appearance and economic welfare of this important area of the city.”

When the original SCBD was established in 2000, the city was able to make improvements using Tax Increment Financing (TIF) as a method to subsidise redevelopment, infrastructure and other community-improvement projects. Arizona no longer makes this financing available.

As a replacement for TIF, a state statute (A.R.S. § 42-6209) allows the city to “abate any levied excise tax when a certificate of occupancy is issued for up to eight years.” This tax abatement can be offered on all properties located in the SCBD that are owned by the city and leased for any commercial, residential, rental or industrial purpose. The tax is negotiable and known as a government property lease excise tax (GPLET).

The city’s economic development department is recommending approval of the new SCBD realignment “in order to promote investment and development within the city in such boundaries where there is now a larger volume of lacking and deteriorating infrastructure due to aging residential and commercial properties.”

Residents who are interested in learning more about the Single Central Business District or who would like to speak to the council about the plan should attend the City Council public hearing on May 1 at 7:00 p.m. in chambers, 300 E. Superstition Blvd., Apache Junction.

Photo above: Apache Junction is considering new boundaries for the city’s Single Central Business District (SCBD) that would follow the north side of Apache Trail and extend east to Tomahawk Rd. and west to Ironwood Rd. 

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