Kettering home improvement tax break zone may expand to more neighborhoods

Kettering’s plan to give tax breaks to spur economic growth in an area that includes about 900 homes and 28 acres of Miami Valley Research Park may be expanded to other Kettering neighborhoods.

The program approved by the city last week targets reinvestment in a northeast section that includes many homes built in the 1940s-50s by offering long-term tax exemptions to property owners making qualifying housing improvements.

Kettering Economic Development Manager Amy Schrimpf said the Community Reinvestment Area that includes the Aragon and Oak Park neighborhoods is a concept that could spread in future years.

“We’re really looking forward to seeing how this works,” Schrimpf said. “If it does result in a lot of homes seeing more investment we may try this out in other parts of the city.

“I can’t promise we will. But we definitely want to see what happens,” she added. “And we’re very optimistic that this will be an amazing thing for both neighborhoods.”

CRAs “are areas of land in which property owners can receive tax incentives for investing in real property improvements,” according to the Ohio Department of Development.

Kettering does not have any, but they are common in Montgomery County, which has 33 active zones, according to the state’s website.

Warren County has eight current CRAs while Greene and Miami counties each have four, Ohio records show.

Pending county and state approval, Kettering’s Aragon Oak Park CRA would offer 75% annual property tax exemptions in increments of 10, 12 and up to 15 years, city records show.

The zone also includes city-owned research park land near the Beavercreek corporation line at research park that Kettering has agreed to sell to a developer interested in building a 300-unit apartment complex, Schrimpf said.

Kettering City Council voted 5-0 to approve the plan, called a “good move for those neighborhoods,” by member Lisa Duvall, who said she’s a former Oak Park resident.

“I know lots of people in the Aragon neighborhood and there is not one person in that neighborhood who doesn’t want to live in a house that has a good roof and windows and a driveway,” Duvall said.

City officials said they plan to meet with the neighborhoods’ residents and provide details about the program. The number of applications in the first year will be a key factor in any decision to expand the concept to other areas, Schrimpf said.

“And then, we could sort of benchmark that year after year after year,” she said. “And also then go and look at the houses and see which ones have actually made improvements.”

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