Overland Park & Leawood

Overland Park approves policies for Community Improvement Districts

Updated: 2014-01-14T23:20:02Z

By JENNIFER BHARGAVA

Special to The Star

Overland Park now has a guideline to give developers who want to create a Community Improvement District in the city.

At its meeting Monday evening, the council unanimously approved policies and procedures it will use when considering CIDs, where the city can levy a sales tax of up to 2 percent to pay for economic development projects and improvements.

“This will provide us with some structure to what has become an ever more frequent utilization of this tool,” said Councilman Terry Goodman, referring to the CIDs the council has approved in the past year. “It will also give us flexibility when we take into consideration projects that don’t fit into a perfect square.”

The document states that the creation of a CID should meet the minimum requirement of one or more of the following criteria: It should attract retail development that will enhance the city’s economic climate; it should attract large regional retail development to benefit the city; it should result in the construction of infrastructure beyond what the city would require or otherwise build; and it should promote rejuvenation and/or redevelopment within the city.

The document also provides details on how the council will evaluate each type of project and eligible costs.

For example, the council will consider how much private versus public funding would be used to pay for the project. Private funding in comparison to CID funding should not be below 55 percent, according to the new policy.

The council will give more favorable consideration to projects that demolish and replace old buildings with new over remodeling projects. And projects that are in areas of special interest to the city — like the Vision Metcalf corridor — will be given stronger consideration. The council also likes projects with public amenities, like trails, art and gathering spaces.

The sales tax money could be used for buildings, infrastructure and public amenities, such as streets, parking and parks and trails. It could not be used for promoting the business or events, certain operation costs, or paying taxes and project fees.

After several council members had suggested establishing a CID policy throughout the past year, the new set of guidelines offered a welcome change.

“Finding a proper balance is important, so I’m very, very pleased with what we’re doing,” said Councilman David White. “This is going to help us for a very long time.”

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