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Tacoma extends moratorium on multi-family housing tax break

Post by News Tribune Staff on April 8, 2009 at 11:00 am with No Comments »
April 8, 2009 11:00 am

Traffic passes new townhouses and a single family home near the intersection of South 43rd Street and South Warrner Street Sunday, May 25, 2008. JOE BARRENTINE/The News Tribune

As expected, the Tacoma City Council voted Tuesday to extend a moratorium on offering the city’s multi-family housing tax incentive to developers who want to build near the Tacoma Mall.

But the move came despite objections from council members Mike Lonergan and Spiro Manthou.

Lonergan questioned the logic of the moratorium, particularly in a recession. He noted that the Tacoma Mall area is the only one of Tacoma’s mixed-use centers where the city is not offering the tax break as an incentive to spur economic development.

He added that council members said the suspension of the tax break would be only for a short time. Council members adopted an ordinance last June suspending the tax break, and they extended the moratorium in October.

Councilman Spiro Manthou said he did not support the action for similar reasons.

Councilwoman Lauren Walker, who supported the move, said the delay was needed because the city is close to finishing a comprehensive review of the rules for all of its mixed-use centers, and it would be in front of the City Council soon.

Developers can still build townhouses and other multi-family units in the Tacoma Mall area, but they are not eligible for the tax break the city offers in other parts of town.

The council enacted the moratorium over concerns about how the area near the Tacoma Mall was being developed, and what they believed to be a lack of neighborhood planning.

The ordinance extended the moratorium through Aug. 31 was approved 6-2. Lonergan and Manthou voted no. Councilwoman Connie Ladenburg was absent.

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