City changes rule for affordable housing program - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

City changes rule for affordable housing program

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Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke. Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke.
Hamilton County Mayor Jim Coppinger. Hamilton County Mayor Jim Coppinger.
CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -

Tuesday, Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke announced that the city would no longer recommend for Council approval any PILOT that does not significantly exceed 20% affordable units.

PILOT stands for Payment In Lieu of Taxes.

“When we revised the PILOT in 2014, the goal was to jump start downtown housing investment and at the same time encourage affordability,” said Mayor Berke. “If you take a walk downtown, there is no doubt. We’ve accomplished that goal. Now it’s time to set a new goal.”

According to the mayor, the city has exceeded its goal of creating 2,000 housing units in the downtown area, and the market is now strong enough to generate more on its own.  

The PILOT program began in 2002 and provided tax breaks for housing construction downtown in exchange for 20 percent of the units being listed as affordable.

“The downtown real estate market is strong. Without incentives from government, we think our city will continue to grow,” said Mayor Berke. 

The fifth and final PILOT building is currently under construction in the 700 block of Market Street.

According to Mayor Berke, the city will still accept proposals for new PILOT projects, but will examine each on a case-by-case basis.

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