Friday, June 15, 2012

The Difference Between Chrin's TIF and the NIZ

As promised, Palmer Township's Dave Colver has sent me a plan of the zoning overlays for the massive Chrin TIF in the northern section of the Township, near Tatamy.

The 13 acres in red is the retail. The red areas on all 4 corners of the interchange are zoned that way.

The green areas provide for buildings up to 400,000 sq. ft  The pink areas allow for buildings only half that size up to 200,000. And they can fit on the proposed lots. Maximum building coverage on a lot in those areas is 40%.

The purple area, which I believe is about 275 acres, does permit a 1 million square-foot building. But because of the maximum building coverage restriction, that will be possible only on one lot.

Basically, the zones drop to 400,000 as you get close to the interchange. On the south and east sides of the interchange, they are only 200,000 sq. ft.

This development, six times the size of Allentown's NIZ, is expected to create 3,500 jobs. It will do so without diverting state taxes intended to buy medical insurance for children. It will do so without grabbing tobacco or sales taxes. It will do so without misappropriating the EIT of other municipalities. It will do so without poaching businesses from other areas in the Lehigh Valley. Developer Charles Chrin is willing to contribute up to $2 million to enable the County to preserve an acre of farmland for every one used for this development. Finally, thanks to the creation of a Neighborhood Improvement District, Charles Chrin will assume the risk of failure, and not the state.

34 comments:

Anonymous said...

not trying to be difficult but a couple points:

-how do you know it won't poach?

-it despoils farmland, while the other tries to redevelop an urban area

-being a greenfield, on an interchange, it's a much easier area to develop than the NIZ. one could well argue that such a development doesn't need any tax dollars.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Anon 5:58 AM. I could not have said it better myself. This whole issue flies in the face of the hypocrisy that exists among the suburbs. For example, Bethlehem Township. They have no problem taking PennDOT money to take more farmland to increase the size of the park and ride on William Penn Highway. Who the heck do they think is paying for that? Who paid for the hundreds of millions that created the roads and highways to move to the burbs? How quick they forget. Why not put a gate on the park and ride and charge to park so tazpayers that don't use it can recoup their investment?

Come on suburbs you all have been at the state coffers for decades and the cities didn't squawk. LEt the city have a little of the leftovers you have been eating from the state, county and federal pie.

Noe for the real legislation the state lawmakers don't have the guts to pass or even discuss ---- consolidation of municipalities. Us taxpayers are paying 2 to 3 times the taxes we should to allow politicians, police chiefs, fire chiefs, etc. to keep thier little fiefdoms. I have lived here 15 years and the number of large government levels never ceases to amaze me. And they say they rungovernment like a business. No way.

zoid said...

To anon 8:27, get your facts straight on the Park and Ride. Bethlehem Township did not receive a dime from Penn DOT on this project. Penn DOT already owned the land which was acquired during acquisition for the Rt 33 project. Bethlehem Twp. did not ask for the park and ride nor did they ask for 33 but they got them anyway and had to deal with it. Further Penn DOT was not at all cooperative with the township with regards to the park and ride. They refused to submit a land development plan and would not pay the township engineer and solicitor for any plan review fees. It was the old do as I say not as I do dance that they did. Enough on that. I think Palmer Township has done a great job on this whole thing. It has been years in the making and they seem to have it under control. Hats off to them. Where else would you put a development like this than off an interchange.

Anonymous said...

Let's revisit this plan 2 years from now to see the progress.

Many private developers have grand ideas...but no CASH to back it up!

urban_LV said...

The Difference Between Chrin's TIF and the NIZ is that one project uses tax incentives to encourage reinvestment into one of our core cities. As a side benefit, it reduces the need to develop farmland for office buildings.

The other uses tax incentives to encourage development of farmland for warehouses and big box stores.

Anonymous said...

Anon 8:27....always amazes me to see people advocating that the state force consolidation of municipalities and school districts. Don't you think residents of individual municipalities/districts should be the one to make the decision on mergers, rather than outside entities?

My experience has been that those who advocate for forced consolidation are usually from urban areas where their disasterous policies have gotten them so far under that they feel their situation is hopeless. At this point, instead of changing their policies and making the necessary tough decisions, they turn around and demand bailouts from the suburbs that they feel they are "owed". The rest of your post pretty much proves my point.

In fact, I think I just figured something out...Anon 8:27...is your name Ed Pawlowski?

Anonymous said...

To-Anon 9:32,

It can't be left up to Municipalities or individuals...Many are controlled and employee Family members in these positions.

Lighthouse said...

First, I support Palmer’s desire to increase its long-term tax base, particularly business development that does not add to the demands on schools/property taxes. That is intelligent planning, especially if gifted with a highway.

I have been looking over the new maps, the old, and aerial views. There are some lots that may beg to be rezoned down the road, or have ZHB appeals, particularly the three that appear to be locked between the Main St Commercial Overlay, Rte. 33, and the Township border. Secondly, lots can be combined if approved by future Boards, so I would take the “only one lot” argument with a small grain of salt. Third, when it comes to development and even zoning ordinances, none of us can talk in absolutes as all is subject to change or appeal.

I know I sometimes slip and allow emotions of desired development (concern that 33 between 248 and Tatamy will be all warehouses with few jobs) to color some of my comments, but looking at this more coldly, my biggest gripe has been that Chrin was willing to pay for this himself in 2009, but instead fell on the Twp, County, and School District to use deferred tax monies (which is still a form of corporate handout) to help build what he was willing to use his own money for. And I am pessimistic that market value projections will allow future bond obligations to be met. If the moral hazard really is with Chrin/future owners of lots, and not the tax payers, then let it be from the beginning. Something in my gut feels like the taxpayers still have some sort of exposure, even though not apparent on its face.

As to the comments re Bethlehem Township, Zoid is correct. As I understand it, that was all PennDOT’s call, and the Twp was pretty impotent to do anything about it. Also, those two BT interchanges are a case in point for this Palmer discussion. One, I believe that all infrastructure costs (current and pending in the $25 million range) fell on market driven developers, with no taxes deferred or other cost to the local taxpayer (with some developer secured Transportation grant money, that would have been spent regardless if it came locally or not). Second, the best laid zoning plans are always subject to change as developers, markets, and governing Boards change. The Forest City zoning to expand the tax base is now land-banked by a hospital that may or may not develop it in a tax-generating way down the road.

Anonymous said...

It's their call on how to develope the land. I personally don't see the use of open space for big boxes. Didn't some opposed to the NIZ moan the loss of EIT for land preservation?

There are technical differnces between a NIZ and a TIF, but they basicly do the same thing. Both, divert tax funds from the original purpose to an other use.

It's government deciding what business they want to subsidise.

Anonymous said...

Anon 9:59, your answer makes no sense and appears to have at least one typo. Small municipalities and school districts are much more representative of their communities than larger organizations. They are also much more responsive of the demands of their residents. While we can have a debate on whether these benefits are worth some additional cost, you can't deny that these benefits exist.

In cases where the benefits don't outweigh the costs, there's a process in place for mergers of municipalities and school districts that requires approval of voters in both affected entities. I personally think it's a little too restrictive and I'd like to see some changes, but this is a much better model for consolidation than having it imposed by outside forces on unwilling entities.

Anonymous said...

I don't have a problem with the TIF district.

I have a problem Palmer Township going for the low hanging fruit of warehousing jobs.

zoid said...

In today's economy, jobs are jobs!!

Anonymous said...

Amazing how PennDOT puts in the states largest Park and Ride (1500 spots) that is a pure traffic generator with NO road improvements yet the Sheetz is taking grief over its plan? Can someone answer that? Please? PS, I think Sheetz is widening the road and putting in a signal and PennDOT did nothing.

The Huntress said...

Lighthouse is right on with regard to the potential "flexibility" of the zoning map for Chrin's development. These can be changed as needs be by the municipalities. As time goes by and none of the office or light industry hoped for comes to fruition, the zoning will be changed to suit big warehouses. Also, the NIZ here doesn't pass the smell test, the local municipalities are sacrificing dollars at some point. Chrin knows this. As far as his 2 mil for open space elsewhere, he's still getting a bargain considering he was going to shoulder the entire $25 mil for the interchange until he wrangled a way to get the locals to pay for it. Again, he is laughing all the way to the bank.

Lighthouse said...

To Anon 2:12

Bluntly because PennDOT can do what ever it wants. Even local state legislators have little influence over the decisions they make. And to Anon 8:27, do you really think the Twp wanted to have prime development land paved into a parking lot?

As Zoid explained, the Twp asked for some reasonable things and were snubbed. As for Pektor and other developers, they have to follow PennDOT rules to get their Highway Occupancy Permit, as they should. Developers who create the expanded burden on infrastructure should pay for the improvements. PennDOT, on the other hand, can exempt themselves--they're the government :)

Lighthouse said...

"In today's economy, jobs are jobs!!" partially true, partially short-sighted...once the land is built up, that's it, so what kind of long term character is desired? McDonald's, gas stations, treatment centers, and prisons also provide jobs, but haven't always been welcomed everywhere.

Anonymous said...

Regarding Mergers..First any Municipalty that has 1500 0r less residents should be disbanded and merged with the adjoining Township.

Further any School district that Graduates 100 or less Students should be disbanded.

Anonymous said...

Further.. When a Municipality can't afford a Police car, Truck or Full-time employees, than it's time to disband.

Anonymous said...

Mark it down here, right now. This area will become the "new" western Lehigh County Warehouse improvements district. It will poach users from western Lehigh County due to its closer proximity to NYC via 78 and 80. Truck traffic on Route 33 will become incredibly noticeable. The Tatamy area will look like Route 100 and Schantz Road over time. These discussions of housing, retail, shops, offices yah yah yah are hollow at best. This project is best suited for warehousing and distribution. Plan change, economies change. There is too much at stake for this to not work once it is set in motion. Get ready for rezonings and variances to be granted on a regular basis.

Anonymous said...

Who are you to tell me how much tax I should pay and what I should spend it on? Maybe I live in a small municipality because I CHOOSE to and because I like to and because I like everything about it. Just because your over bloated, inefficient, over-bearing city government has become too expensive for you to pay for, you think that i should merge with you to help pay for what YOU think I want. If I want to live in a crime-filled, crowded street, dirty, city with unriendly people and a pompous fool of a mayor leading layers and layers of unnecessary government I will move to your town. But for right now I will stay where I am. I wake up in the morning breath fresh clean air, my neighbors are friendly and always say hello; the leaders of my township know my name and will talk to me whenever I need them; I can park my car where I want without paying; our police haven't fired their guns in the line of duty for over 30 years; and my children attend a school that is top rated. Why in the world would I want to merge and be more like you?

Anonymous said...

6:52 is right, of course. Nobody wants more houses. The area is chock full of ones looking for occupants. Few are investing in new retail. The economy is bad and will continue to flounder for as far as the eye can see. I see warehouse city coming. It makes the most sense from a business standpoint. Talk of mixed development and anything other than big blue/gray behemoths is rather unrealistic. Local guys do their best, but often have a parochial view of wider economic realities.

Anonymous said...

Further, when a bankrupt city can't pay its bills and goes to its neighbors to steal - it should be disbanded.

Anonymous said...

Further, when city officials call minority citizens a cancer, then use neighbors' money to perform ethnic cleansing to enact a scheme that has NEVER succeeded ANYWHERE - it needs to be disbanded and its defenders who criticize municipalities where there are not stabbings and shooting EVERY SINGLE day need to be institutionalized.

Anonymous said...

SMALL TOWNS AND SMALL MINDS!

Anonymous said...

Big cities..... Big as*es

Anonymous said...

The end of small government is near.

Anonymous said...

chuckie chrin - yet another bo man crush

Bernie O'Hare said...

Actually, I have been highly critical of Chrin over the years. I have been especially critical of the landfill.

Anonymous said...

Let them eat cake...

Anonymous said...

Bernie -

I'm confused.

Is the TIF already in place? If not, how did you get a map and other information from a public official?

Surely they didn't just give it to you.

If they did, haven't they learned anything from the "expert" politicians pushing the NIZ in Allentown?

Anonymous said...

To All Those Wanting Consolidation (of Municipalities & School Districts) -

I couldn't agree more.

The entire state should be as well run as Allentown, Harrisburg, Philadelphia, etc.

Yeah, on second thought, never mind.

Bernie O'Hare said...

9:43, The TIF has been voted on, but a cooperation agreement still needs to be signed. If that does not happen, it can unravel.

The map deals with a zoning overlay and is a public record, which was made available to me after it was approved by the Planning Commission.

Unlike NIZ advocates, Palmer Tp practices transparency, to its credit.

Anonymous said...

Bernie -

Who voted on it? Surely not anyone at the local level.

This was probably passed at the state level with no local input, right?

Bernie O'Hare said...

As I am sure you know, the TIF was voted on at the local level by three different entities - Palmer Tp, EASD and NC. Yet another very big difference.