Ypsilanti creates NEZ tax incentives for city's south side

The city of Ypsilanti is giving a boost to the neighborhoods on its south side now that the Ypsilanti City Council has passed a Neighborhood Enterprise Zone covering roughly 10 percent of the city’s housing stock.

Neighborhood Enterprise Zones, commonly known as NEZs, provide tax breaks for home owners that live in their homes and developers that build new housing stock. Owner-occupants that rehab their homes in a NEZ would see their taxable value frozen while owner occupants of newly built homes would receive a tax cut of a little more than 50 percent of the homestead value of their property.

"It doesn't benefit rental housing," says Joe Meyers, community development manager for the city of Ypsilanti. "It only benefits home ownership."

Ypsilanti's new NEZ encompasses an area between Michigan Avenue, I-94, Mansfield Street, and Huron Street. The zone includes 942 parcels, of which 443 are residential lots that are eligible for the tax breaks. The idea of the NEZ is to combat neglect to the area's building stock and help encourage more investment. The area has suffered from a lack of investment and tax foreclosures in recent years.

"It's been an area the city has studied for many years on how to improve its housing stock and rates of home ownership," Meyers says.

A $50,000 grant from the Michigan Economic Development Corp made establishing the NEZ possible because city budgets and staff have been stretched thin in recent years. The Ypsilanti City Council approved the NEZ on April 19th and plans to roll it out in mid May. City officials hope to start attracting more investment to the area this summer.

"We have heard from a lot of developers," Meyers says. "They are very interested. We would consider this a success if only one house was built but we are expecting more than that."

Source: Joe Meyers, community development manager for the city of Ypsilanti
Writer: Jon Zemke

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