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Council approves tax abatement for Rountree redevelopment

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City Council last night approved plans and a blight report for a multifamily project in the Rountree neighborhood where a development moratorium currently is in place.

Introduced at council’s Aug. 7 meeting, the plans for the project, at 1325 and 1329 E. Cherry St., call for the demolition of two current structures and the construction of two 12-unit buildings. Following that meeting, Butler, Rosenbury & Partners Inc. architect Geoffrey Butler, who represented Roza Homes LLC, shared a letter the developer penned to council members. According to the letter, the project would have a $301,252 tax abatement over 10 years.

“This is truly a case where the project will not be built but for the tax abatement,” the letter reads. “If it isn’t built, the property will stay underdeveloped for the foreseeable future.”

Last night, Councilman Richard Ollis expressed concerns about the potential overuse of blight and abatements.

“I’m conflicted on this. I will say it’s going to remove dilapidated homes in the area and the developer is proposing a very nice project,” Ollis said. “I’ll support it, reluctantly, but really feel strongly that we ought to work with staff to come up with a workable [blight] program.”

Built in 1905 and 1920, both of the old houses have sagging patios, rotting window frames and outdated gas heating systems, and they’re likely to contain lead-based paint.

The project was approved 5-3, with council members Mike Schilling, Craig Fishel and Kristi Fulnecky in opposition. Councilman Craig Hosmer was absent.

Roza Homes is sidestepping the Rountree neighborhood development moratorium because it does not require a lot combination or rezoning.

Council members also last night approved an amendment to a redevelopment plan submitted by the Beverly Lofts Corp.

The plan, originally approved in April, needed changes after developer Jason Murray was advised floor plans should be revised in order to receive state and federal historic preservation tax credits. Changes to the redevelopment plans at the corner of Cherry Street and Kimbrough Avenue mean the increase to as many as 50 units compared with the original 41. 

The amendment passed 7-1, with Fishel in opposition.

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shelia wright

I am very much opposed to the demolition and redevelopment of the 2 properties. the 2 homes were owned and maintained by the previous owners who are now deceased. The homes were always maintained and kept in perfect condition. they lived in 1329 and purchased the home at 1325 and used it as storage for their extended family.

they purchased 1325 before a developer bought it and turned it into apartments. From 1983 thru 1988 our family bought the home at 1303 E. Cherry. We later learned it was on a city map as a "dilapidated structure." We were shocked, since we were living there. We moved here from Mobile, Al. and all our friends there thought the home must be gutted. They could not believe we got the home for $85.000. We could not buy a 3 room shotgun home in Mobile for that low figure. We even bought 1335 cherry at auction to keep a slum lord from buying it. we later sold it for a small profit to a family with 3 children. Our former home at 1303 was recently featured in the News Leader as the home of the week. The 2 homes became dilapidated because they were bought, the widows were busted and no repairs were made despite storm damage. Now here goes our neighborhood.

Saturday, August 26, 2017
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