City Council does not act on waiver requestPublished 8:41pm Wednesday, January 16, 2013
Washington’s City Council on Monday voted unanimously not to act on a request to waive tap fees and impact fees related to a proposal to convert the former Belk and Hotel Louise buildings into a residential complex for people 55 years old or older.
The request was tendered by Charlie Heritage with Weaver-Kirkland Development, which is based in Greensboro. The waiver was sought in order for the company to apply for N.C. Housing Finance Agency tax credits of $8.6 million for the proposed $9 million project.
The council’s decision does not shut the door on the proposed project. Should the city later decide to support the project, Weaver-Kirkland Development could submit an application for the tax credits associated with the proposed project to the N.C. Housing Finance Agency by Jan. 25, 2014.
Heritage told the council that the project’s preliminary application for consideration this funding cycle was due at NCHFA on Jan. 25. For the project to receive the tax credits, the city must do one of three things, he said. The city’s options were to donate $75,000 of its housing fund, donate land or waive the tap fees and impact fees associated with the project. Heritage asked for the waiver, which meant the city would have lost about $14,000 in revenue.
Councilman Richard Brooks expressed concern about the city losing that revenue.
Councilman Doug Mercer expressed concern that he and his council colleagues were being asked to approve something related to downtown redevelopment without having adequate time to review the request. Mercer noted that council members received information about the project less than a week before the council’s meeting.
Mercer also expressed concern that the residential units would be too small. Heritage said each of the 53 units would have ranged from 620 square feet to about 800 square feet.
“We’ve looked at a lot of different projects and spent a lot of time, so I want you to understand from the council’s point of view how challenging it is to even give preliminary life to something as quickly as we’re being asked to,” Mayor Archie Jennings told Heritage.
“I understand. I guess I would reiterate the fact that this is step one of a two-step process,” Heritage replied.
“Mr. Mayor, based on the timing of the request, I move we not take any action on this matter tonight,” Mercer said.
Brooks seconded that motion.
Several proposals to redevelop the former Belk and/or Hotel Louise buildings in the past 10 to 12 years have been made, but they never got beyond the planning stages.