Redevelopment Agencies empower local governments to help promote economic development, job creation, and eliminate blight. Municipalities are authorized to create redevelopment agencies or “urban renewal agencies” to accomplish these purposes. As of 2010 in Utah, 70 cities have redevelopment agencies.
Redevelopment Agencies or RDAs have a long history in Utah. In 2006 the Utah legislature passed the Community Development and Renewal Agencies Act as Title 17C of the Utah Code found at the following link: http://le.utah.gov/xcode/Title17C/17C.html?v=C17C_1800010118000101.
The Act divided “redevelopment” into three different purposes including Urban Renewal, Economic Development, and Community Development.
Urban Renewal is the new term for what was historically redevelopment. The goal of Urban Renewal is to eliminate blight from specific areas within the community.
Economic Development is a tool that redevelopment agencies can use to help promote job growth in the community. The redevelopment agency may use tax increment to help encourage business relocation, expansion, and development through incentives targeted toward the creation of high-quality jobs.
Community Development is a flexible tool that allows redevelopment agencies the opportunity to encourage different kinds of new development that the community believes will be beneficial, including mixed-use and retail.
Examples of redevelopment tools include:
- Ability to assemble land for development
- Ability to utilize tax increment and issue bonds
- Ability to invest in infrastructure to assist private enterprise
- Ability to increase affordable housing
Redevelopment plans can help communities to:
- Attract new jobs and businesses
- Create more affordable housing
- Stimulate private reinvestment in local neighborhoods and businesses
- Reduce crime
- Stimulate development of improvement programs
- Stimulate private investment and help rehabilitate homes and businesses
- Build or improve roads, utilities and public facilities
- Preserve open space
- Create, adopt and/or implement specific plans
- Initiate and fund comprehensive planning efforts
The Redevelopment Agency, also known as a Community Development and Renewal Agency, is a separate, distinct legal entity from the City. However, the City Council serves as the governing board of the Agency.
The Redevelopment Agency can utilize city staff or hire its own staff and advisors to carry out its day-to-day operations as well as to help formulate and implement redevelopment plans. The benefit of this system is that the Redevelopment Agency is ultimately responsible to the voting public through the elected governing body that oversees the Agency.