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Home, business renovations reap tax benefits

The Ohio Community Reinvestment Area Program has been in effect since Sept. 25, 1979, and was originally designed as an incentive to encourage property owners to revitalize, repair or fix properties that are considered to be within a blighted neighborhood.

Author: hamid malik
Date: Mar 18, 2013 - 12:33:35 PM


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The Ohio Community Reinvestment Area Program has been in effect since Sept. 25, 1979, and was originally designed as an incentive to encourage property owners to revitalize, repair or fix properties that are considered to be within a blighted neighborhood.

The program works like this:

Property owners who construct an addition to their homes or do other major construction that would add to the overall value can contact Logan City Hall to apply.

Once tax assessors from the county determine what the added value to the home is, the property tax that would normally be added to that property as a result of construction is exempt for five years.

“Since the 1970s, the city has identified blighted areas in disrepair and they would encourage people and property owners, whether residential or commercial, to apply for the program. They receive a 100 percent tax exemption for five years,” explained Hocking County Auditor Ken Wilson.

Ohio’s CRA Program was first created in 1977 and was revised in 1994 to promote revitalization in depressed areas by offering property tax exemptions for any increased property valuation resulting from the renovation of existing structures or new construction.

The program can be used to encourage historic preservation, residential rehabilitation, or new residential construction.

It is an economic development tool to encourage commercial and industrial renovation or expansion and new construction.

“Certain portions of cities were starting to become run-down and dilapidated and the state started looking for incentives for people to fix their places up and keep them updated,” Wilson continued.

It was “designed more for rental units as opposed to personal ownerships,” he added. “The whole idea was to try to get blighted areas to revive themselves.”

As defined by the city, a good portion of Logan is considered blighted.

The original blighted area, as defined by the city in 1979, included much of the downtown area, including property south of Hunter Street, west of Orchard Street, north of the railroad that runs east and west, and extended all the way to the west side of town to state Route 664.

The area also includes properties south of Front Street to the railroad and extends eastward to state Route 328.

In 2004, the blighted area was expanded even further to include the land where Save-A-Lot is located to the east, as well as a large swath of property encompassing Hocking Valley Community Hospital and other businesses in that area.

It then continued westward, following along Chieftain Drive, to include the Logan-Hocking Industrial Park. It also encompasses Grey Street where several new businesses are located.

According to Logan Chief Water Clerk Debbie Tharp, prior to the new business developments along Grey Street, there was just an undeveloped field.

Properties in South Logan and anything located north of Hunter Street is not considered a blighted area.

“Certain areas within the city are designated in the CRA,” Tharp explained. “Generally, normal maintenance and repair is not going to generally change the tax base.”

“Windows and roofing don’t require a building permit,” she continued, “and the county looks at building permits once a year when they determine the [tax] assessments. If there’s something that would change the footprint of a house, they will look.”

The last time someone utilized the program was in December 2011 when RK Shaw Ltd received a $500,000 exemption for a property along Grey Street whose tenants now include healthcare and medical-related businesses.

City officials, including Logan Mayor Martin Irvine, are hoping to bolster more community support for the program.

Irvine said at a meeting earlier this week that he would like to arrange a meeting with local bank presidents and real estate agents to make them aware of the benefits of the program.

“It’s a great thing if you improve your property,” Logan City Councilwoman Shirley Chapman told council Tuesday evening. “You can get your taxes exempted on the part that you improve. If you create a new footprint for a building, or if the building’s been raised and you put a new building on there, you can get an exemption for that for five years. It’s something that would help the downtown if people would look to doing that rather than as a penalty.”

“We have a few on here, but we haven’t had any since December 2011,” she continued. “It’s too bad the people aren’t taking advantage of this. I would encourage those people who have buildings in the community to look into this.
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