Last February, the Richardson city council rezoned 300 acres of undeveloped land around the DART station at US75/PGBT as the first step in developing this prime real estate. The rezoning was, to say the least, controversial, at least among a vocal minority of Richardson residents.
That was then. After the jump, an update.
For a relatively short recap of what we're talking about here, take the time to read the handout presented at Monday's city council meeting.
OK, are you done? If so, you know that now that the rezoning is a done deal, the city is taking the next step in this long journey - making the necessary infrastructure improvements to support the development, or more accurately, how to pay for the public improvements.
Richardson is working towards using Tax Increment Financing (TIF) to pay for the roads and other infrastructure improvements needed for development. The area will be declared a Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone (TIRZ). As development proceeds and taxable value increases, a portion of the increased tax revenues will be reinvested in public improvements in the zone. The idea is to accelerate development by ensuring that increased tax revenue will be dedicated to paying for the costs incurred to make the needed public improvements in the development.
The city is taking pains to emphasize that TIF is not a new tax or a tax abatement. It's not a "gift or windfall" to developers. The risk remains with the developer. No development, no incremental revenue. And the TIF covers only incremental real property tax. Any other new revenues (sales taxes, hotel taxes, franchise taxes, business personal property taxes, etc.) will go to the city's general fund, not the TIF. Done carefully - and it looks like the city is doing just that - this development will add to Richardson's future prosperity.