Brookhaven has discussed creating a URA for several years, City Attorney Chris Balch told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Redevelopment agencies create another financing option for developers, who can use them to access tax-free loans.

In return, the redevelopment agency has negotiating power over how new projects look and feel. This can vary from the construction materials used in the project to streetscape improvements to subsidizing rent for low-income tenants.

Balch said URAs go beyond rezoning requests to give city leaders an additional layer of input in redeveloping certain areas. In

“In a zoning dispute with a developer, you’re bound by your code. The code says what is allowable and what is not allowable, and if you start trying to negotiate differences within that, you’re opening the door to getting sued,” he said. “… With a URA, there’s no limit to what we can negotiate because we’ve got actual dollars and cents in the deal.”

While the vote failed to pass, Balch said his staff will still work on drafting a redevelopment plan, which will identify the specific areas in the city that are considered underutilized or blighted. He said those likely include strip malls without anchor stores or outdated residential complexes.

If a URA were to be created, it would only have jurisdiction over those designated areas.

Christian Sigman, Brookhaven’s city manager, told the AJC those areas will likely match the high-priority redevelopment zones detailed in the city’s comprehensive plan.

By Zachary Hansen, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution,
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