Kent City Council Passes Multi-Family Tax Exemption
KENT, Wash. – June 23, 2009 – With a unanimous vote, the Kent City Council approved an ordinance giving downtown developers of multi-family, mixed-use housing complexes an eight-year property tax exemption.
“We expect the waiver to encourage development in the downtown core,” said Councilmember Elizabeth Albertson, Chair of the Planning and Economic Development Committee. “Although we’ve been successful in attracting businesses and cultural facilities, we need to increase the number of residents living downtown to support the viability of our urban center.”
The State’s Growth Management Act requires cities to provide denser urban housing, to cut back on sprawl and to concentrate growth conducive to transit use in designated urban centers.
“We are not simply clearing the way for more apartments in downtown Kent, said Councilmember Tim Clark. “These would be special types of developments in a designated zone. These structures will have market-rate rents, include retail on the bottom floor and be built ‘green’.”
City code currently allows property tax exemptions for multi-family condominiums in the downtown core. According to Kent’s Economic Development Director, Ben Wolters, extending the tax exemption to apartment developers is the right move during this tough economy.
“Our neighboring cities have successfully encouraged new residential opportunities within their downtown areas,” Wolters said. “This change should increase the willingness of developers to build quality housing in downtown Kent by reducing the risks associated with the condominium and sales market.
In order for developers to receive the exemption, they must build in a designated area from Willis Street north to Cloudy Street and from the east end of Titus Street west to State Route 167.
Michelle Witham, City of Kent