“Yes” to Avon’s Downtown Development District
A Downtown Development District (DDD) in Colorado is typically a designated area within a city's downtown that aims to promote economic growth, revitalization, and overall improvement of the designated environment. The Avon Town Council approved Ordinance 23-02 referring the establishment of a Downtown Development Authority (Avon DDA) to a Special Election to be conducted on August 29, 2023.
The Avon DDA would authorize new revenues for Community Housing and public infrastructure without raising existing tax rates. New revenues would occur through tax increment financing (TIF) which allows future increased property tax from new development within the proposed DDA boundary to be dedicated to the DDA.
A DDA is authorized to capture the increment of new property taxes from new development and construction within the DDA area. This property tax increment can be pledged for the payment of municipal bonds to construct Community Housing and other approved public improvements. We applaud the Avon Town Council for the proposed DDA and encourage eligible voters to vote “yes”.
The primary purpose of the DDA is to provide additional funds to construct Community Housing. As we know, the shortage of affordable housing is at a crisis level and is directly impacting the ability of private and public employees in Avon to fill vacant positions. The shortage of affordable housing is also leading to increased employee turnover and increased costs associated with recruiting and training new employees.
A secondary purpose of the DDA is to provide additional funds for public improvement that benefit the health, vitality, and success of the commercial core. Public improvement projects may include public parking structures, enhanced streetscapes and pedestrian connections, early childhood education, expansion of the Avon Recreation Center, and construction of parks and trails amenities.
There is a severe shortage of workforce housing negatively impacted Avon’s business community. The draft Avon DDA Plan states that at least 50% of the tax increment financing revenue source of the Downtown Development Authority shall be dedicated to Community Housing.
This is municipal leadership at its finest with a minimum 50% of TIF funds generated within the DDA boundary and off new development go to housing - not waiting for the private sector to solve alone, not waiting for legislative mandates, but rather taking the initiative to address community issues without raising taxes. That’s right – the DDA does not have any new or increased taxes. It’s worth repeating: no new or increased taxes are proposed as part of the formation of the DDA, and the funding will be used to address key community issues.
The downside to the TIF funding is that special districts won’t capture the incremental increase in funding for 30 years, but with property valuations as they are, funding these districts still strong throughout the rest of Avon - and the potential to see housing for their employees come out of it, creating a win-win for the community and the districts.
We applaud the Town of Avon and Avon town council for following the lead of towns and cities across Colorado by seeking a Downtown Development District. The commonality in these districts – and Avon’s proposed district – is commercial property owners choose to invest in the vitality of the district by creating a vibrant, inviting, and thriving commercial area.
Avon voters in the DDA have a unique opportunity to shape the future of the Town of Avon by voting in favor of the Downtown Development District. This ballot measure represents a bold step forward in revitalizing Avon’s core and creating a vibrant, thriving heart for the community by increasing housing.
Chris Romer is president & CEO of Vail Valley Partnership, the regional chamber of commerce. Learn more at VailValleyPartnership.com
Organization Name : Vail Valley Partnership