Downtown incentive on table

City Council members Maxine Harris, left, and Neal Strickland listen during a recent Council meeting. The board is expected to consider an incentive program that would encourage residential and commercial development within the downtown.

In a continuing effort to strengthen its downtown core and encourage growth, City of Clinton officials are promoting various housing options and are poised to offer incentives to assist property owners and developers locating within the downtown historic district.

The incentive program, which will be discussed by the City Council next month, encourages mixed-use development to provide for new commercial and residential uses. The program would assist property owners by waiving water, sewer, and fire line connections fees up to $5,000.

Clinton-Sampson Planning director Mary Rose pointed to the Clinton 2035 Comprehensive Plan, which identifies mixed-use development in downtown Clinton as one of the top priorities for the future. City staff and the Clinton Main Street Program have developed the Mixed-Use Residential Development Incentive Program with the aim being to incentivize such development.

A mixed-use center is defined as a building or area that blends a combination of residential, commercial, cultural, or institutional uses into a single structure or area. The development of these types of units will increase property values, patronization of downtown businesses and the profile and density of downtown Clinton, city officials said.

Dale Holland of Holland Consulting Planners worked with the city for more than a year to formulate the Clinton 2035 Comprehensive Plan, which was approved by City Council last week.

Among the highlights of that plan, Holland addressed the possibility to expand land use sectors in the future, including adding mixed-use development and a medical district, neither of which currently exist in local planning. Holland said having a medical district could see the growing area around Beaman Street protected and expanded further, while mixed use would open up new avenues for development, notably in the downtown.

“As one of the first aspects of implementing a recommendation which was included in the Clinton 2035 Comprehensive Plan, planning staff respectfully requests consideration of the Mixed-Use Residential Development Incentive for Downtown Clinton,” Rose stated in a correspondence to City manager Shawn Purvis and Council members.

“The Clinton 2035 Comprehensive Plan identifies mixed-use development in Downtown Clinton as one of the top priorities for the future of downtown,” Rose stated.

The National Main Street Center — Clinton is an accredited N.C. Main Street community — also cites mixed-use centers in historic commercial districts as being the single most important element of successful and prosperous downtowns.

In order to accomplish that vision for downtown, the City of Clinton will waive water, sewer, and fire line connection fees associated with the creation of residential units which are part of a mixed-use residential project within the Downtown Special Tax District with a cap of $5,000. Any water, sewer, and fire line connection fees above $5,000 would be the responsibility of the property owner/developer, according to the proposal.

In order to be eligible, according to the current proposal, those new residential units must be in the upper floors of an existing commercial building that is in the downtown district. The first floor of the structure must be either occupied by a commercial use, available for lease for a commercial use or under construction for a commercial use at the time of application submission.

The program would have a cap of $5,000 in fees waived, any fees above which would be the responsibility of the property owner/developer.

“We pretty much have this ironed out,” Purvis said, however the matter was continued so City Councilman Steve Stefanovich, absent from the regular meeting because he was being honored by the governor, could be present for the discussion.

It will be further discussed at the Council’s put on the June 2 meeting.