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The City of Petersburg recently announced the expansion of the City’s tax abatement program to include vacant lots designated as rehabilitation areas. The program will be a pilot to run for three years after which time the program will be audited for its effectiveness. The pilot program includes the three wards with the highest number of vacant lots. Wards 1, 4 and 5 have the highest number of vacant lots for a combined total of 1,457 lots. Petersburg City Council approved and adopted the expansion of the program on Tuesday, January 5.
“The expansion is a win-win for the city and our community,” comments William E. Johnson, III, City Manager. “This will give the city an opportunity to attract developers to the city who can build infill housing and commercial uses to support the neighborhood.”
“This is another tool in our toolbox as we think outside the box of ways to attract developers and begin the process of restoration of our communities and neighborhoods,” says Michelle Peters, Department of Planning and Community Development Director. “For so long, our leadership and citizenry have asked for a plan to restore our communities and bring back our neighborhoods; this pilot program serves as a catalyst to do just that.”
Applicants to the tax abatement program will be evaluated by the City Assessor’s office and must follow certain eligibility requirements to qualify for the exemption. Some of the eligibility requirements include the following: the property is for owner occupied dwellings, the property must be of residential use and cannot exceed four units, the property owner must file for the proper building permits and the new improvements must be completed within two years after the application is made for the building permits. In addition, safeguards are built in the program to make sure the new construction from a single family dwelling to a four-family dwelling must comply with zoning rules and regulations with respect to height, setbacks, off-street parking and design. This program works in conjunction with the City’s zoning ordinance and does not supersede it, and applicants are subject to compliance with these regulations.