Economic and Community Development
The Community Development Department is responsible for administering a variety of programs geared toward the development and revitalization of the City of Fairbury. The Department is also tasked with guiding orderly growth for the community by enforcing compliance with applicable regulations to meet the quality of life, health, and safety needs of the community.
1. Housing Authority (Parkview Apartments) Fairbury’s Housing Authority, Parkview Apartments, is a 60-unit income-based housing complex located near Fairbury City Park.
2. Housing Services The goal of the City of Fairbury’s Housing Services Division is to enhance the quality of life for all members of our community by increasing, improving and preserving the supply of housing in our city.
3. Planning & Zoning Department The Planning and Zoning Department performs a variety of services intended to protect, maintain, and develop an attractive, safe, and healthy environment.
4. Redevelopment: The City of Fairbury encourages redevelopment and private investment in projects that strengthen Fairbury. The redevelopment tools available to the City as defined by the State of Nebraska's Community Development Law, include blight/substandard designation, redevelopment plans and proposals, and tax increment financing.
An area may be designated as blighted or substandard if it has enough deficiencies that private investment is not occurring. A summary of the definitions of blighted and substandard are included below, but for complete details, please refer to Nebraska's Community Development Law and review the Guidelines for Community Development Law.
In summary, an area can be designated “substandard” if it:
- has a predominance of buildings that are dilapidated, deteriorated, obsolete, or have inadequate ventilation, light, air, sanitation or open spaces
- has population overcrowding
- has conditions that endanger life or property, by fire and other causes
- has a combination of factors that are conducive to ill health, transmission of disease, infant mortality, juvenile delinquency, and crime
- is detrimental to public health, safety, morals, or welfare
In summary, an area can be designated “blighted” if it:
- includes a substantial number of deteriorated or deteriorating structures
- has a defective or inadequate street layout
- has a faulty lot layout in relation to size, adequacy, accessibility, or usefulness
- has unsanitary or unsafe conditions
- is experiencing deterioration of site or other improvements
- has diversity of ownership
- has tax or special assessment delinquency exceeding the fair value of the land
- has defective or unusual conditions of title
- has improper subdivision or obsolete platting
- has conditions which endanger life or property by fire or other causes
- has factors that substantially impair or arrest the sound growth of the community, delay the provision of housing accommodations, or constitute an economic or social liability
- is detrimental to public health, safety, morals, or welfare in its present condition and use, and has one or more of the following conditions:
- an unemployment rate of at least 120% of the state or national average
- an average age of the residential or commercial units that is at least 40 years
- more than half of plotted and subdivided property has been within the city for 40 years and has remained unimproved during that time
- the per capita income is lower than the average per capita income of the city or stable or decreasing population, based on the last two decennial censuses
A finding of blighted/substandard can be made if these factors are present to a great enough extent that public intervention appears to be appropriate or necessary to assist with any development activities. In addition, these factors should be reasonably distributed throughout the area so basically good areas are not arbitrarily found to be blighted/substandard simply because of proximity to areas which are blighted/substandard.
- LOIS VIEWER
- REDEVELOPMENT PLAN
A redevelopment plan analyzes existing conditions in a designated area, including land use, zoning, recreational facilities & trails, transportation, public utilities, and historic significance. Based on that analysis and factors detailed in a Blight & Substandard Determination Study, the redevelopment plan identifies issues that should be addressed. Guided by the City's Comprehensive Plan, the redevelopment plan also proposes public and private projects to address the issues. Projects undertaken in areas with redevelopment plans may be eligible for TIF funds.
- TAX INCREMENT FINANCE (TIF) PROGRAM
Tax Increment Financing, or TIF is a tool to assist in financing redevelopment projects in designated blighted and substandard areas of the city. The City of Fairbury issues bonds or a promissory note to finance any approved project. The property taxes generated from the increased valuation of the development are captured for a period of up to 15 years to repay the public investment.
The purpose of TIF is to help communities undertake redevelopment activities for urban renewal and municipal growth. TIF allows a city to pay for the public improvements that are part of a private redevelopment project. TIF is not a grant and it is not a primary funding source for a redevelopment project, but does provide an incentive for private development that will increase the tax base of the Fairbury community and create additional jobs.
Tax Increment Financing can be used for the following purposes:
- Total amount of public improvements associated with a redevelopment project which are located in a redevelopment area
- Acquisition of redevelopment sites including all costs associated with acquisition
- Site preparation, demolition, grading, special foundations, and other work prior to construction of the project
- Utility extensions
- Marketing and promotions
- Rehabilitation of structures within the redevelopment area
- Construction of structure within the redevelopment project area
Tax Increment Financing is primarily designed to finance public improvements associated with a project. However, residual funds can be used for other allowed purposes after allowing for the cost of public improvements.
HOW IT WORKS (LINK)
Projects applying for TIF assistance must qualify by meeting certain criteria. Mandatory criteria must be met in order for the project to be considered. Discretionary criteria will enable the Community Redevelopment Authority (CRA) to further determine the benefits of the project. The project application must demonstrate how the project meets the required criteria.
In order to be considered for TIF, a project must meet each of the following mandatory criteria:
- The project must be located within a substandard and blighted area or an area eligible for a designation of substandard and blight as required and set forth by State Statute.
- The project must be located within a substandard and blighted area prior to the preparation of a Redevelopment Plan.
- The project must further the objectives of the City's Comprehensive Plan. (link to Comp Plan pdf)
- The use of TIF for the project will not result in a loss of pre-existing tax revenues to the city and other taxing jurisdictions.
- If tax increment financing is used for the project, a cost-benefit analysis must be completed prior to project recommendation.
- The developer must be able to demonstrate that the project would not be economically feasible without the use of Tax Increment Financing. In addition, when the project has site alternatives, the proposal must demonstrate that it would not occur in the area without TIF.
In addition, the project should meet several of the following discretionary criteria.
- The project will show a positive cost/benefit ratio to the community for the principal value of the TIF loan.
- TIF proceeds are used for the construction of public improvements.
- The project involves the rehabilitation of a designated city landmark, or a building listed on or eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places.
- The project will directly benefit low- and moderate-income people, as defined by the Community Development Block Grant Program.
- The building or site to be redeveloped itself displays conditions of substandard and blight as established by Nebraska State Statute.
- The project involves the start-up of an entirely new business or business operation within the City of Fairbury.
- The redevelopment site has displayed a recent pattern of declining real property assessments, as measured by the Jefferson County Assessor's Office.