F’ville tables TAD to talk with county, BoE

The Fayetteville City Council on Oct. 3 put off a vote to adopt a resolution on the Tax Allocation District (TAD) redevelopment plan that could potentially lead to an investor develop one or more of the city’s aging and blighted commercial areas identified in the five areas on the TAD map.

The vote was put on hold for two weeks so city officials can meet with the Fayette County Commission and the Fayette County Board of Education to go over the specifics of the plan.

TAD is a tool to create bond financing for infrastructure and other redevelopment costs related to the deteriorating commercial areas.

The council Thursday night was at the point of adopting a resolution that accepted the redevelopment plan that contained a number of hypothetical development elements since the plan provides guidance, but remains only tentative until an developer arrives with a concrete proposal. The council on Thursday was set to approve the plan so it could be sent for consideration by the Fayette County Commission and Fayette County Board of Education before continuing with the implementation process.

Fayette County Commissioner Randy Ognio in comments pertaining to the TAD said he believed the county should have been more involved in the process prior to the council voting on the resolution. Ognio said county officials only received the TAD packet three days earlier.

“I hoped we had a better relationship and we’d work together,” Ognio said.

Ognio’s concerns included the number of residential units which might be constructed, which he referred to as “high density,” and costs with build-out issues such as roads and water supplies.

“We’re trying to generate commercial dollars for your coffers,” Councilman Walt White said in response. “We’re not generating anything right now.”

Mayor Greg Clifton weighed in, noting that the TAD projects are hypothetical and that most of the projects are commercial in nature and would be situated along highway frontage.

School board member Leonard Presberg also attended the meeting. Asked for his comments, Presberg noted that personally, he did not believe the taxes frozen on the TAD parcels would significantly affect the school system in terms of the tax digest. The five TAD areas represent 3.68 percent of the city’s taxable digest.

The council decided to table the resolution for two weeks, giving city officials and TAD representatives time to talk with the county and school system officials prior to the vote.

The TAD process extends from voter approval which occurred nearly a year ago to the redevelopment plan, asking for a sign-off by the county and school system and, finally, implementing the plan that will hopefully find a party willing to redevelop one or more TAD parcels.

The redevelopment plan identified five TAD parcels that would constitute the TAD district. Those parcels include areas south of Banks Road on the east side of Hwy. 85, the 692 Shopping Center area south of Ga. Highway 314 and the old commercial area north of Georgia Avenue on the east side of Hwy. 85. Two other hypothetical TAD project areas include one situated on the west side of Hwy. 85 between Hood Avenue and Georgia Avenue and another taking in the area of the Fayette County government complex in downtown Fayetteville and the Fayette County School System property immediately to the west.

All totaled, the 133 parcels are situated on 221.7 acres. TAD consultant Ken Bleakly stressed that the TAD projects and parcels are hypothetical and are used for financial modeling purposes. The hypothetical projects are largely intended to attract commercial investors and carried a potential for 342,000 square feet of retail space, 238,000 square feet of office space and a 180-room hotel. The proposal noted the potential for 572 residential units, including 218 senior units, 140 townhomes, 86 single-family homes and 88 apartments.

All totaled and if ever developed in that fashion, the projects would carry an estimated fair market value of $209.3 million and a taxable value of $83.7 million once the bonds were paid off and the property went back on the tax rolls at full value.

An example of one of the parcels identified for redevelopment is the 692 Shopping Center on North Glynn Street, former home of the Longbranch Restaurant and other businesses.

Situated on 3.9 acres with a building totaling 41,975 square feet, the parcel sold in 2001 for $1.8 million. In 2006 the fair market value had dropped to $1.747 million. In 2007 and continuing through 2011 the fair market value was $1.308 million. In 2012 it had decreased to $1.166 million.