About the URA
Urban Renewal is the redevelopment or rehabilitation of real property in a city, through cooperative efforts by private developers and local government.
Urban renewal restores economic vitality and improves the safety of a designated area. Redeveloping urban areas is more challenging and costly than greenfield development. Typically infill sites present "blight" challenges such as poor drainage, dilapidated buildings, aged infrastructure, and/or toxic materials. URAs work with the developers and community to offset the associated infill costs and create development that wouldn't otherwise occur.
The state of Colorado has empowered local authorities to use Urban Renewal Authorities to encourage revitalization and the remediation of blight. All 50 states have some form of urban renewal law.
Click HERE to read more about Urban Renewal in Colorado.
An Urban Renewal Plan area is a designated boundary with the approved ability to use tax increment financing and eminent domain within those boundaries. Among other things, the plan specifies urban renewal objectives, authorized undertakings and activities, and specifies the provisions of the tax increment financing.
Fort Collins URA currently has three Tax Increment Districts in two plan areas, these districts include: North College (2004), Prospect South (2011) in the Midtown Plan Area, and Foothills (2013) in the Midtown Plan Area.
Urban Renewal Plan areas support revitalization of blighted property thereby stimulating private investment using public revenues created by redevelopment. This leads to the attraction of new jobs, new businesses and elimination of existing factors preventing growth of economic value.
Benefits of Urban Revitalization may include:
- More housing, much of it affordable
- Reduces crime in the area
- Improved roads, utilities and public infrastructure
- Re-activates obsolete or vacated buildings
- Preserves and creates open space
- Transform brownfields (and greyfields) into productive uses
- Preserves historic buildings
- Boosts surrounding area property values
- Reduces air pollution and congestion
- Provides needed amenities in underserved and/or impoverished areas.
- Improves pedestrian, bike and vehicular circulation & connectivity
"Blighted Area' means an area that, in its present condition and use and, by reason of the presence of at least four of the following factors, substantially impairs or arrests the sound growth of the municipality, retards the provision of housing accommodations, or constitutes an economic or social liability, and is a menace to the public health, safety, morals, or welfare." Factors of blight determination, under C.R.S. 31-25-103, include:
- 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 nonmarketable
- The existence of conditions that endanger life or property by fire or 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/inadequate facilities
- Environmental contamination of buildings or property
- 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.
Urban Renewal Authorities have the ability to declare eminent domain however,in order for an Urban Renewal Authority to use the powers of eminent domain to acquire properties, 5 of the 11 blight factors must be present (C.R.S. 31-25-105.5(a)).
Yes, the URA has the power of eminent domain, but rarely uses it. Five of the Eleven 'Blight Factors' (C.R.S. 31-25-105.5(a)) must be present before the URA can utilize eminent domain.
Eminent Domain is the authority of a government agency to acquire property for public purposes (not to be confused with meaning public buildings and improvements only). The term is also known as condemnation.
Tax Increment Financing, known as TIF, is used to fill the gap between the total cost of the redevelopment project and the level of private financing it can support. Under this financing tool, the level of property tax and/or sales tax collected before redevelopment is used as a base and the new tax revenues expected are estimated. The difference between the base and the increase in taxes collected as a result of the redevelopment project is the tax increment.
Click HERE to learn more about TIF in Larimer County.
No. TIF must be requested through an application process and final approval is determined by the URA Board. If a project is approved, it must prove financial limitations to proceed, namely that it could not redevelop without public investment. This is formally known as the "But For" analysis. Through this process, project financing must prove public dollars will be spent to fill the gap between the total project cost and the level of private financing the project can support.
TIF dollars are typically reserved for projects that offer a greater community benefit, such as those outlined in a Blight Study. The project must go through the public process before TIF can be utilized in project financing.
No. Redevelopment typically does not directly affect your property taxes, although there may be an indirect affect if property values eventually increase in a larger area because of the redevelopment.
The Urban Renewal Authority Board is comprised of the Fort Collins City Council, one Larimer county Representative, one Poudre River Public Library representative, one Poudre School District Representative and a mayoral appointee.
North College Citizen Advisory Group (CAG) is a committee of North College URA project area residents, businesspersons and representatives of organizations that provide advice to the decision making authority.