Roeland Park to join Westwood in exploring Neighborhood Revitalization Program

The southwest corner of 47th and Mission in Roeland Park has seen redevelopment nearby and some tenants have had their leases ended.
The southwest corner of 47th and Mission in Roeland Park has seen redevelopment nearby in recent years and some tenants have had their leases ended.

Roeland Park agreed this week to move ahead in a joint venture with Westwood to prepare a Neighborhood Revitalization program proposal that could allow homeowners who undertake major remodeling projects to receive a reimbursement on the additional taxes that result from a higher assessed value. A Roeland Park analysis of building permits and assessments showed that home additions and major interior remodels have the greatest impact on subsequent house value.

The idea for the program and for the two cities to work together on the project was first presented to the Roeland Park City Council In November 2013 by members of the 47th Street and Mission Road Overlay Committee, which has representatives from Westwood, Roeland Park and Kansas City, Kan. The committee reviews projects along the corridor which touches all three cities, and hopes to encourage redevelopment. A number of projects have started along the 47th Street corridor recently.

Scott Bingham, who chairs the overlay committee, said the program is designed to encourage substantial investment, not just maintenance projects. The program works by allowing cities to set a rebate on additional taxes that might result from a home improvement. The program does not lower current tax collections, but gives back a portion of the new taxes if the property is assessed at a higher value after the remodel.

Cities can set a number of conditions, including the percentage of the rebate and a minimum investment to trigger the program. They also can include commercial property and rentals if they want. The program has also been discussed in Mission.

The program does not need to be identical in the two cities. Staff from both cities will put together a proposal on the details of the program. They would then go jointly to the school district and county to ask those taxing districts to participate.

Bingham said the program is designed to keep housing stock strong which would attract more young families and, in turn, commercial investment. Councilor Michael Rhoades asked if re-investment isn’t already happening so the program would give back money that the cities would otherwise collect.