Craig Urban Renewal Authority sends property owners letter that bears some explanation
Craig and Moffat County residents near downtown who received a notice in recent days of their properties’ occupation of a “blighted area” might be a little confused.
Craig’s director of economic development says there’s nothing to be worried about.
Shannon Scott has been working with the city and its several overlapping taxing districts to finalize the Craig Urban Renewal Authority’s second area of urban renewal. Area No. 2, which encompasses parts of downtown Craig as well as a stretch just south of town in unincorporated Moffat County, is at the final step of its full approval, which will make it possible for property owners within the boundaries to apply for tax increment financing for redevelopment and revitalization of their property.
But first, following Craig city council’s latest assenting action on the matter last Tuesday, property owners in the area’s boundaries have been sent letters informing them of the plans to open up the opportunity. The letters read, among other things, that their property is within a blighted area. But it doesn’t mean the property in question is specifically in disrepair.
“It means as a whole that the area is ‘blighted,’” Scott explained. “A determination is necessary for the approval of the urban renewal area to proceed. It doesn’t mean (every property) is dilapidated, deteriorated or a slum. It could be that there’s a lack of sidewalks, an irregular lot line, and so many other things in the criteria that could determine blight.”
An outside consultant was contracted by the city to make the determination of the blight designation, Scott said. While the conditions she listed above make the state-ordained list of factors that can contribute to blight, they are hardly the only ones.
Following are all the criteria:
- Slum, deteriorated, or deteriorating structures;
- Predominance of defective or inadequate street layout;
- Faulty lot layout in relation to size, adequacy, accessibility, or usefulness;
- Unsanitary or unsafe conditions;
- Deterioration of site or other improvements;
- Unusual topography or inadequate public improvements or utilities;
- Defective or unusual conditions of title rendering the title non-marketable;
- The existence of conditions that endanger life or property by fire and other causes;
- Buildings that are unsafe or unhealthy for persons to live or work in because of building code violations, dilapidation, deterioration, defective design, physical construction, or faulty or inadequate facilities;
- Environmental contamination of buildings or property; or
- The existence of health, safety or welfare factors requiring high levels of municipal services or substantial physical underutilization or vacancy of sites, buildings or other improvements.
Many cared-for properties are inside the urban renewal area, which includes most of downtown. But the existence of enough factors in the larger area, makes it possible for the Craig Urban Renewal Authority to include all properties within the boundaries in a geographic zone that creates an opportunity to get prospective investment in improvements of the property.
Tax increment financing is a process whereby the future increase in collectible property taxes caused by the improvement of a property is invested by the taxing districts responsible into the improvement of the property itself.
No taxes are increased or at all affected by inclusion in the urban renewal area.
Additionally, Scott said, property value is not impacted by the blight designation.
“A lot of people have asked me that,” she said. “No, your property value is not going down because it’s determined blighted. The answer is no. Included within that is it’s important to know the city isn’t authorized for imminent domain or condemnation. We’re not taking your property or tearing it down; nothing like that. We’re just making you eligible for these incentives.”
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