Press "Enter" to skip to content

Chamber considers H/L Plan, and Management District

Chamber Director Jessica Woods presented details of the Highlands/Lynchburg Plan, and a Management District proposal, to the Chamber luncheon meeting.

By Gilbert Hoffman

HIGHLANDS — The Chamber luncheon last week included a presentation, and discussion, of the Highlands/Lynchburg plan that Pct. 2 has commissioned, and also a discussion about whether the Highlands area should have a Management District to help implement the many facets and suggestions in the H/L Plan.

Chamber Director Jessica Woods led the discussion, with the help of Chamber Board chair Randy Casey. A small group of chamber members also participated, with their opinions and experiences. The plan was presented with slides, prepared by the consultants. These are Goodman Group, and Clark-Condon, as well as staff from Pct. 2. In her presentation, Woods made the point that the Chamber has not taken a position for or against the plan, and that it was still under discussion by all parties including the public.

The H/L Plan has been worked on for about 9 months, with presentations to the public, surveys and study groups and feedback incorporated. It is due to conclude in April. Through community engagement, outreach, and surveying, the issues and concerns identified by the community have been translated into three main objectives for the community plan:

— Connectivity, related to community services, with parks, transportation included

— Community Growth, with emphasis on economic development and social and civic initiatives

— Improved Public Safety, including social services for the needy population

The H/L Plan made specific recommendations:

— Foster Economic Growth and Development with several initiatives

— Create a Civic Core District

— Reinvest in Stratford Library as a catalyst for other goals

— Partner with Workforce Solutions

— Expand Community Events

— Expand Drug Awareness Outreach

— Improve the Homeless Outreach program

— Increase Police Patrols, with contract deputies or private security, or both

— Improve Traffic Safety, both pedestrian and vehicle

— Expand Public Transportation

— Add sidewalks and street lights

— Provide safe paths to schools

— Create a Lynchburg Loop for outdoor recreation

— Create Community Enhancements with signage, landscaping, etc.

— Emphasize Environmental issues and remediation, such as the Superfund site, and air pollution

— Park improvements and connectivity

— Improve amenities at Highlands Reservoir

— Create new wetlands parks

To implement the elements of the Plan, the Precinct has suggested a Management District structure would generate additional revenue and provide services above what the County could provide. They would provide additional revenue, through Ad Valorem or property taxes, on Commercial and Industrial properties only. Woods said the study showed a tax base of about $92 million, and with an assessment of $.10 per $100,000 the first year revenue would be about $100,000 to $150,000. The proposed district would run from Barrett Station to Lynchburg Ferry.

CREATION OF MANAGEMENT DISTRICT

Purpose:

• Provide an entity focused on improving the local community Recommendation:

• Creation of Management District to:

— Provide safety & security

— Fund increased patrolling & law enforcement

— Address nuisance issues

— Attract small businesses

— Leverage grants and funding for several areas of need such as parks projects and roadway projects

— Provide a sustainable funding mechanism for the community

— Provide public health and neighborhood services

— Incentivize business location and types

— Create a forum for culture & community, be an advocate

WHAT IS A MANAGEMENT DISTRICT?

• Management Districts typically exist to provide supplemental services (over and above City and County services) in the areas of infrastructure, safety, security, litter abatement, etc.

• They are a means to allow property owners to work together to supplement City and/or County services

• They can work with partners (City, County, State) to amplify and leverage benefits

• Management Districts are created by special law (state legislature) then go through a local petition process

• Considered a political subdivision of the state so they are eligible for grants and loans and can issue bonds to fund projects and initiatives

• They typically levy an assessment or a tax on commercial property to pay for services

• Management Districts are different than a Municipal Utility District (MUD) and a Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone (TIRZ)

• Each district sets its own priorities based on community needs

• Powers can include: economic development, business recruitment, promotion of health and sanitation, public safety, traffic control, recreation and cultural enhancement, construction/maintenance of public infrastructure, lighting, signage, drainage, solid waste, water, sewer, power, parks, historic areas, works of art, parking facilitates, public transportation, and others

GOVERNANCE & OPERATIONS

• The activity is governed by a service and assessment plan which is created, revised, and adopted typically every ten to twenty years

• Governed by a Board of Directors who are appointed; authorizing legislation can prescribe the appointment process (i.e., concurrence by County, City, or other process, etc.)

• Size of board and involvement of the board can vary (hands off versus hands on leadership, similar to municipal City Council or Mayoral dynamics)

• Management Districts can be dissolved at any time by a majority vote of the board or a petition of property owners

WHY WE RECOMMEND A DISTRICT?

• Highlands / Lynchburg areas are unincorporated without any municipal or local government entity

• Local concerns such as safety, security, aesthetics, quality of life exist which can best be addressed by local voices and local solutions

• Management Districts generally take time to become well-established, funded, and effective “The best time to plant a tree is twenty years ago, the second best time is now.”

• Management Districts can leverage, work with, and strengthen existing organizations such as the Chambers of Commerce

• This district can champion and oversee several of the recommendations mentioned, achieving action and implementation

REVENUE PROJECTIONS

• Management Districts provide a level of sustained and consistent funding for needs; funding likely to grow over time

• The numbers are based on the appraised value of the properties. There are 3 tax “rates” that are shown in the table below. Annual cost to commercial property owners per $1 million ranges from $1,000 to $1,400

• The revenue projections shown below are typically coupled with funds received from grants or partnerships with County Precincts to increase funds for improvements or projects

FOLLOW UP COMMENTS & QUESTIONS

Website Portal: HighlandsLynchburgPlan.com

Email or call the Consultant / Precinct Teams:

Jorge Bustamante, P.E.
jorge.bustamante@pct2.hctx.net
713-456-9452

Amanda Haney, PLA
ahaney@clarkcondon.com

Mary Keilers, PLA
mkeilers@clarkcondon.com

Gretchen Knowles
gretchen.knowles@pct2.hctx.net
713-274-2252