Surface Lots, Land Banking, Ect

Issues concerning Downtown as described by the Downtown Council. River to 31st Street, I-35 to Bruce R. Watkins.
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TheLastGentleman
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Surface Lots, Land Banking, Ect

Post by TheLastGentleman »

Would it be possible to just tax surface lots into nonexistance? As far as I understand it, from looking at this forum and elsewhere, the main reason surface lots in US cities stay empty is that there's just no economic reason to develop them. Low taxes and profits from parking seem to beat out doing development of even modest scale.

Could a tax be levied on surface lots in a specific area of downtown (river to crossroads perhaps?) that's so steep that it would be more expensive to not develop them? To be clear, I'm not expecting skyscrapers to sprout like mushrooms or anything, but we could at least get a bunch of cheap 1-2 story filler buildings to get some urban cohesion back. Sure as hell beats waiting decades for a perfect megaproject to appear. Especially since it's a problem in even the most booming US cities, as this article points out; https://www.strongtowns.org/journal/201 ... f-the-city

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normalthings
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Re: Surface Lots, Land Banking, Ect

Post by normalthings »

Would the state need to approve the ability to put a special tax on these empty lots?

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Eon Blue
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Re: Surface Lots, Land Banking, Ect

Post by Eon Blue »

A Land Value Tax could do this in booming areas, but it wouldn’t have and much effect in disadvantaged areas.

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TheLastGentleman
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Re: Surface Lots, Land Banking, Ect

Post by TheLastGentleman »

Eon Blue wrote:
Sun Sep 19, 2021 9:48 pm
A Land Value Tax could do this in booming areas, but it wouldn’t have and much effect in disadvantaged areas.
I guess I should clarify. The surface lot tax I'm suggesting would be completely null once anything gets built. Even if it's one story tall and looks like crap. So instead of permanently hiking up taxes, like a value tax, it would just act as a penalty for undeveloped land. It would also only be deployed in areas where that emptiness is doing the most damage, such as the Loop or River Market. If an owner can't afford the tax, I guess the parcel will just be passed around in a game of hot potato until someone can fund something resembling a building.

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Re: Surface Lots, Land Banking, Ect

Post by beautyfromashes »

I assume this would cause the forfeiture of many vacant lots to the city, especially those in depressed areas which would increase the cost for the city to mow those lots and also lose any property tax being paid for those properties. If the cost of holding the lot is more than any value of the property, there'd be no incentive to hold it, and building on it might be a money losing endeavor.

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Re: Surface Lots, Land Banking, Ect

Post by AlkaliAxel »

beautyfromashes wrote:
Sun Sep 19, 2021 11:51 pm
I assume this would cause the forfeiture of many vacant lots to the city, especially those in depressed areas which would increase the cost for the city to mow those lots and also lose any property tax being paid for those properties. If the cost of holding the lot is more than any value of the property, there'd be no incentive to hold it, and building on it might be a money losing endeavor.
City would probably gain more than lose if this tax were just targeted to loop, crossroads, river market.

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Re: Surface Lots, Land Banking, Ect

Post by beautyfromashes »

AlkaliAxel wrote:
Mon Sep 20, 2021 12:18 am
beautyfromashes wrote:
Sun Sep 19, 2021 11:51 pm
I assume this would cause the forfeiture of many vacant lots to the city, especially those in depressed areas which would increase the cost for the city to mow those lots and also lose any property tax being paid for those properties. If the cost of holding the lot is more than any value of the property, there'd be no incentive to hold it, and building on it might be a money losing endeavor.
City would probably gain more than lose if this tax were just targeted to loop, crossroads, river market.
I'm positive that would bring a court challenge.

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Re: Surface Lots, Land Banking, Ect

Post by flyingember »

beautyfromashes wrote:
Mon Sep 20, 2021 8:29 am
AlkaliAxel wrote:
Mon Sep 20, 2021 12:18 am
beautyfromashes wrote:
Sun Sep 19, 2021 11:51 pm
I assume this would cause the forfeiture of many vacant lots to the city, especially those in depressed areas which would increase the cost for the city to mow those lots and also lose any property tax being paid for those properties. If the cost of holding the lot is more than any value of the property, there'd be no incentive to hold it, and building on it might be a money losing endeavor.
City would probably gain more than lose if this tax were just targeted to loop, crossroads, river market.
I'm positive that would bring a court challenge.
They're describing a CID, it would hold up.

https://revisor.mo.gov/main/OneSection. ... on=67.1521

Would take a vote of the people inside the district

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Re: Surface Lots, Land Banking, Ect

Post by Riverite »

What about hiking the taxes on vacant properties and using it to lower the taxes on residential properties even if miniscule. That way it also helps people see it as not just a tool of gentrification, but one that is keeping taxes lower for people using property to live on

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Re: Surface Lots, Land Banking, Ect

Post by Riverite »

It could make it fairly politically easy to pass in that case

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Re: Surface Lots, Land Banking, Ect

Post by beautyfromashes »

flyingember wrote:
Mon Sep 20, 2021 8:32 am
They're describing a CID, it would hold up.

https://revisor.mo.gov/main/OneSection. ... on=67.1521

Would take a vote of the people inside the district
Huge stretch. You'd only be taxing certain properties within a "CID". It'd be like a neighborhood street deciding they didn't like someone and setting up a CID where everyone on the street voted to just tax that one house. It wouldn't fly.

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Re: Surface Lots, Land Banking, Ect

Post by FangKC »

It would seem to me that the approach to take would be to change how the county values a surface parking lot versus a parcel with an improved, maintained building on it.

The obvious way is a land tax, and by how you zone the parcel. If the tax on vacant land is high enough, it motivates the property owner to increase revenue from it.

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Re: Surface Lots, Land Banking, Ect

Post by wahoowa »

flyingember vs. beautyfromashes is a good set of usernames thematically

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Re: Surface Lots, Land Banking, Ect

Post by flyingember »

FangKC wrote:
Mon Sep 20, 2021 7:46 pm
It would seem to me that the approach to take would be to change how the county values a surface parking lot versus a parcel with an improved, maintained building on it.

The obvious way is a land tax, and by how you zone the parcel. If the tax on vacant land is high enough, it motivates the property owner to increase revenue from it.
Expecting the state to change how property is taxed is unrealistic.

It's why I looked for other methods.

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Re: Surface Lots, Land Banking, Ect

Post by snigglefritz »

flyingember wrote:
Mon Sep 20, 2021 8:32 am
beautyfromashes wrote:
Mon Sep 20, 2021 8:29 am
AlkaliAxel wrote:
Mon Sep 20, 2021 12:18 am


City would probably gain more than lose if this tax were just targeted to loop, crossroads, river market.
I'm positive that would bring a court challenge.
They're describing a CID, it would hold up.

https://revisor.mo.gov/main/OneSection. ... on=67.1521

Would take a vote of the people inside the district
A CID would only be able to impose special assessments for public improvements and/or a 1% sales tax. Unfortunately, a CID wouldn't be able to close the gap with land-banking surface lot owners.

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Re: Surface Lots, Land Banking, Ect

Post by flyingember »

snigglefritz wrote:
Tue Sep 21, 2021 1:30 pm
flyingember wrote:
Mon Sep 20, 2021 8:32 am
beautyfromashes wrote:
Mon Sep 20, 2021 8:29 am

I'm positive that would bring a court challenge.
They're describing a CID, it would hold up.

https://revisor.mo.gov/main/OneSection. ... on=67.1521

Would take a vote of the people inside the district
A CID would only be able to impose special assessments for public improvements and/or a 1% sales tax. Unfortunately, a CID wouldn't be able to close the gap with land-banking surface lot owners.
So in other words, do nothing because it’s not good enough?

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Re: Surface Lots, Land Banking, Ect

Post by snigglefritz »

flyingember wrote:
Tue Sep 21, 2021 1:43 pm
snigglefritz wrote:
Tue Sep 21, 2021 1:30 pm
flyingember wrote:
Mon Sep 20, 2021 8:32 am


They're describing a CID, it would hold up.

https://revisor.mo.gov/main/OneSection. ... on=67.1521

Would take a vote of the people inside the district
A CID would only be able to impose special assessments for public improvements and/or a 1% sales tax. Unfortunately, a CID wouldn't be able to close the gap with land-banking surface lot owners.
So in other words, do nothing because it’s not good enough?
Not at all. I'm just saying that a CID literally can't be the mechanism to accomplish these kind of targeted tax increases. It doesn't have that kind of power.

Source: Am CID attorney.

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TheLastGentleman
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Re: Surface Lots, Land Banking, Ect

Post by TheLastGentleman »

Boost The Parking Lot Tax

https://www.theurbanist.org/2017/01/17/ ... g-lot-tax/
The surface parking lot excise tax could take the place of a LVT and likely extract one of the biggest benefits: converting the lowest value uses for land to higher uses, and it’s hard to get much lower than a surface parking lot in a dense urban environment. Many surface parking lots in Seattle are already controlled by developers who are biding their time for the right moment to build (and some have already pounced). This tax would reduce speculation and nudge them in the right direction so that the wider Downtown area including Lower Queen Anne, Belltown, South Lake Union, and First Hill has would have fewer parking craters.

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Re: Surface Lots, Land Banking, Ect

Post by CorneliusFB »

snigglefritz wrote:
Tue Sep 21, 2021 3:15 pm
flyingember wrote:
Tue Sep 21, 2021 1:43 pm
snigglefritz wrote:
Tue Sep 21, 2021 1:30 pm


A CID would only be able to impose special assessments for public improvements and/or a 1% sales tax. Unfortunately, a CID wouldn't be able to close the gap with land-banking surface lot owners.
So in other words, do nothing because it’s not good enough?
Not at all. I'm just saying that a CID literally can't be the mechanism to accomplish these kind of targeted tax increases. It doesn't have that kind of power.

Source: Am CID attorney.
Wouldn’t the CID be able to establish a different assessment based on use? The Westport CID is tiered so Taverns pay the highest assessments and offices/residential properties pay the lowest. Vacant buildings are assessed somewhere in between. That example doesn’t include parking lots, but would it be feasible to establish a higher tier for a surface parking lot?

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Re: Surface Lots, Land Banking, Ect

Post by flyingember »

CorneliusFB wrote:
Thu Sep 30, 2021 10:17 am
snigglefritz wrote:
Tue Sep 21, 2021 3:15 pm
flyingember wrote:
Tue Sep 21, 2021 1:43 pm


So in other words, do nothing because it’s not good enough?
Not at all. I'm just saying that a CID literally can't be the mechanism to accomplish these kind of targeted tax increases. It doesn't have that kind of power.

Source: Am CID attorney.
Wouldn’t the CID be able to establish a different assessment based on use? The Westport CID is tiered so Taverns pay the highest assessments and offices/residential properties pay the lowest. Vacant buildings are assessed somewhere in between. That example doesn’t include parking lots, but would it be feasible to establish a higher tier for a surface parking lot?
The law says property owners absolutely can approve charging parking lots more if parking lots receive a greater amount services because they pay more.

RSMO 67.1521 (2) 3
The method for allocating such special assessments set forth in the petition may be any reasonable method which results in imposing assessments upon real property benefited in relation to the benefit conferred upon each respective tract, lot or parcel of real property and the cost to provide such benefit.

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