City wants to expand CHOICE tax breaks for housing development


WANT TO BUILD A HOME IN ROCHESTER? THE CITY IS TRYING TO MAKE WORTH YOUR WHILE. ((ADAM/2EAST)) ROCHESTER IS EXPANDING A TAX BREAK PROGRAM CALLED CHOICE. THE GOAL IS TO ENCOURAGE INVESTMENT…BUT AS CHRISTIAN GARZONE REPORTS, SOME CRITICS WHO’VE SEEN “CHOICE” IN ACTION, SEE PROBLEMS WITH OFFERING IT TO MORE PEOPLE. ((PKG)) “” ONCE DESOLATE AT NIGHT — DOWNTOWN ROCHESTER IS BECOMING HOME TO MORE AND MORE PEOPLE. SOME OF THOSE MOVING IN HAVE TAKEN ADVANTAGE OF A CITY TAX BREAK PROGRAM — A PROGRAM CITY HALL NOW WANTS TO OFFER TO FOLKS OUTSIDE THE CENTER CITY. ((SOT)) “We’re trying to stimulate growth in the form of owner- occupancies and construction in our residential neighborhoods.” THE CITY’S GARY KIRKMIRE SAYS THE CHOICE PROGRAM ENCOURAGES THE CREATION OF NEW HOMES BY OFFERING A HEFTY TAX INCENTIVE TO PEOPLE WHO BUILD THEM AND LIVE IN THEM. ((SOT)) “Anytime you can increase owner- occupancy and we’ve had 51 to date, it’s successful.” BUT SOME AREN’T THRILLED ABOUT THE PROGRAM’S EXPANSION. CITY COUNCIL CANDIDATE MARY LUPIEN SAYS IT FAVORS THE WEALTHY. ((SOT)) “When we’re focused on middle and high income neighborhoods, we’re giving support to development that doesn’t need more support.” COUNTY LEGISLATURE CANDIDATE RACHEL BARNHART AGREES SAYING MOST WHO WILL APPLY FOR THE TAX BREAK WILL BUILD ANYWAY. ((SOT)) “If you can afford a unit that cost a half million dollars, you do not need us to give you a tax break.” ((SOT)) “You can look on East Ave., you can look on Park Ave. There have been new builds in the last decade without this program.” : BUT KIRKMIRE SAYS THIS INCENTIVE IS NOT JUST FOR DEVELOPERS, ITS FOR OWNER- OCCUPANTS. AND THE 600 VACANT LOTS IN THE CITY, IF DEVELOPED, WILL BE A SUCCESS FOR ALL PARTIES. ((SOT)) Gary Kirkmire “That can actually lead to success, and all of our residents can be able to get into this and be able to afford various types of structures.” ((CHRISTIAN/NEWS)) KIRKMIRE SAYS ALL OF THIS WILL HAVE TO GO TO CITY COUNCIL FOR APPROVAL——- AND THERE WILL BE PUBLIC INPUT ON IT AS WELL. ——-THAT’S ALL

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