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Urban renewal plan gains preliminary approval

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By unanimous vote, the Delta Urban Renewal Authority has approved the plan that outlines how the city will reduce, eliminate and prevent blight in an effort to attract and stimulate economic development.

While a hotel is the primary means by which the plan is intended to be implemented, it is not the only option on the table, said DURA attorney Carolynne White.

The plan requires additional review and approval by the Delta Planning Commission and Delta City Council before implementation can take place. The Delta City Council will host a public hearing on the matter at its Nov. 21 meeting.

The plan was prepared to satisfy the requirements of state statutes that cover urban renewal authorities.

Those statutes require that a minimum of four conditions of blight be identified before DURA can exercise its powers. Additionally, DURA must find that those conditions of blight "substantially impair or arrest the sound growth of the municipality or constitutes an economic or social liability, and is a menace to the public health, safety, morals or welfare."

A study conducted by city staff revealed that 10 of 11 blight conditions outlined in the state statute can be found in the plan area.

The boundaries of the plan area are also identified, with Delta County agreeing to contribute sales tax only within the subarea designated for a hotel development.

Adoption of the plan authorizes the use of tax incentive financing as one means of facilitating investment. However, the plan notes, in addition to TIF, DURA shall be authorized to finance implementation of the plan by any method allowed by state statute, leaving the door open for "a variety of strategies and mechanisms which are financial, physical, market and organizational in nature."

The outcome of mediation with Delta County Mosquito Control District #1 and Delta County Fire District #1 will not affect plan adoption.

DURA has retained its right to exercise eminent domain -- described by White as an important negotiating tool, even though the county has put DURA on notice its intergovernmental agreement will be voided if that step is taken.

The complete plan can be found on the city website at www.cityofdelta.net.

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DURA, urban renewal
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