City reduces minimum home size for incentive program to attract builders to north Tyler

Program focuses on Butler College-Duckenfield area and Texas College District

City reduces minimum home size for incentive program in hopes of attracting builders to north Tyler

TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - The City of Tyler is hoping to attract home builders to the city’s north end. On Wednesday morning, city council voted to reduce the minimum home size for the city’s incentive building program, and they’re certain that action taken will one day be credited with bringing not only new homes to the north side of town, but new business, as well.

“The program targets on two areas within our north-end revitalization area. It’s the Butler College-Duckenfield area, as well as the Texas College District," said Heather Nick, Managing Director with the City of Tyler.

Council voted to lower the minimum size of new homes eligible for an incentive program that includes reimbursable fees for things like building permits. The minimum building size was 1,600 sq. feet, but is now 1,300 sq. feet.

“What we did is we updated the square footage to be more in line with the square footage that we’re seeing built in the north-end area, and now we know that we’re going to get more applications," Nick said.

And while this program focuses on new homes, city leaders hope it also attracts new businesses.

“When we increase the rooftops in those areas, that’s what other retail outlets and restaurants are looking for, so it’s going to spur some other development," said Broderick McGee, the Tyler city councilman representing district 2.

“I have to go outside of north Tyler proper in order to buy my groceries," said district 3 councilwoman Shirley McKellar. "And that’s the thing people talk to me about all the time. Can we get a supermarket? Can we get a Chick-fil-A?”

And while there’s no sign of a new Chick-fil-A or supermarket just yet, homebuilders are expressing their intent to build in the areas eligible for the program.

“They are excited," McGee said. "So I guarantee you they’ll soon be knocking on the city’s door saying, 'I’m ready to build some houses!”

In 2013, city leaders set a goal of adding 3,000 mixed-income households to the north side of Tyler and downtown over the the next 20 years. About 586 homes were added since the adoption of the Tyler 1st Comprehensive Plan in 2007 compared to the 3,406 households that were added in other areas of Tyler, according to city officials.

Eligible fees, waivers or reimbursements include building permits, platting and zoning fees, water and sewer taps and water meter activation fees.

Ineligible fees include Smith County recording fees, plan check fees and existing taps associated with new construction.

2020 Program Incentives:

  • Development Services funds: Reimbursable fees for building permits are capped at $5,000.
  • Zoning and platting fees: These reimbursable fees are not included in the $5,000 cap. Allows for about 10 homes to participate in the program. The average building fees for a single-family home valued at $153,527 are about $559.
  • Water Fund: Fees that can be waived are capped at $31,435 allowing about 10 homes to participate in the program in 2020.

Eligibility Criteria:

  • Applicants must request to participate in the program prior to or at the time of the first application.
  • Residence must be located on a residential lot zoned as single-family, attached or detached zoning districts.
  • Home shall have a minimum of 1,300 square feet of heated and cooled space.
  • Residence must be built on an infill lot, vacant or undeveloped land within previously built areas. Infill lots do not include lots accessing public or private streets or private ways constructed and accepted after January 1, 2008. New subdivisions are ineligible for this program.
  • Property must not have any outstanding liens or enforcement issues.

Applicants have 180 days from the date the building permit is issued to complete and obtain a certificate of occupancy for the property. If the project is not completed within 180 days or within any granted extension timeframe, all previously waived fees will need to be paid.

Builders and residents should contact the Planning Department at (903) 531-1175 with questions or to apply for the program.

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