Chapter 11.63


11.63.010    Purpose.

11.63.020    Short title.

11.63.025    Duly authorized administrative official.

11.63.030    Statutes adopted.

11.63.040    Residential target area designation and standards.

11.63.042    Project eligibility.

11.63.045    Application—Procedures.

11.63.100    Appeals.

11.63.010 Purpose.

The purpose of this chapter is to provide for increased residential opportunities in the city of Yakima within urban centers where the Yakima city council determines there are insufficient housing opportunities. It is further the purpose of this chapter to stimulate the construction of new multiple-unit housing and the rehabilitation of existing vacant and underutilized buildings for multiple-unit housing in urban centers having insufficient housing opportunities that will increase and improve residential opportunities within these urban centers. To achieve these purposes this chapter provides special valuations for eligible improvements associated with multiple-unit housing in residentially deficient urban centers. It is intended that this chapter meet all required provisions and procedures set forth in Chapter 84.14 RCW to comport with state law. (Ord. 2017-001 § 2 (part), 2017).

11.63.020 Short title.

The following sections shall be known and may be cited as the “downtown redevelopment incentive.” (Ord. 2017-001 § 2 (part), 2017).

11.63.025 Duly authorized administrative official.

The duly authorized administrative official of the city will be the city’s department economic development or an authorized designee. (Ord. 2017-001 § 2 (part), 2017).

11.63.030 Statutes adopted.

The following Revised Code of Washington (RCW) sections, as currently enacted or as hereafter amended or recodified from time to time, are hereby adopted by reference and shall be given the same force and effect as if set forth herein in full:


84.14.005    Findings.

84.14.010    Definitions.

84.14.020    Exemption—Duration—Valuation.

84.14.030    Application—Requirements.

84.14.060    Approval—Required findings.

84.14.070    Processing—Approval—Denial—Appeal.

84.14.090    Filing requirements for owner upon completion—Determination by city or county—Notice of intention by city or county not to file—Extension of deadline—Appeal.

84.14.100    Report—Filing.

84.14.110    Cancellation of exemption—Notice by owner of change in use—Additional tax—Penalty—Interest—Lien—Notice of cancellation—Appeal—Correction of tax rolls.

(Ord. 2017-001 § 2 (part), 2017).

11.63.040 Residential target area designation and standards.

A.    Criteria. Following a public hearing, the city council may, in its sole discretion, designate one or more residential target areas. Each designated target area must meet the following criteria, as determined by the city council:

1.    The target area is located within a designated urban center;

2.    The target area lacks sufficient available, desirable, and convenient residential housing to meet the needs of the public who would likely live in the urban center if desirable, attractive, and livable places were available; and

3.    The provision of additional housing opportunities in the target area will assist in achieving the following purposes:

(a)    Encourage increased residential opportunities within the target area;

(b)    Stimulate the construction of new multiple-unit housing and the rehabilitation of existing vacant and underutilized buildings for multifamily housing;

(c)    Stimulate the historically sensitive reuse of vacant and underutilized upper floors of urban center commercial space for permanent residential living;

(d)    Encourage mixed-use development or redevelopment of buildings in the identified areas of the urban center presently containing retail and commercial uses that would support downtown residential living on the ground floors and would provide permanent residential housing on the upper floors.

In designating a residential target area, the city council may also consider other factors, including, but not limited to: whether additional housing in the target area will attract and maintain a significant increase in the number of permanent residents; whether an increased residential population will help alleviate detrimental conditions and social liability in the target area; and whether an increased residential population in the target area will help to achieve the planning goals mandated by the Growth Management Act under RCW 36.70A.020. The city council may, by ordinance, amend or rescind the designation of a residential target area at any time pursuant to the same procedure as set forth in this chapter for original designation.

B.    Target Area Standards and Guidelines. For each designated residential target area within an urban center the city council shall adopt standards and guidelines, as required by RCW 84.14.040(5), for both new construction and rehabilitation, including any area-specific application procedures that may be required in addition to the standard application process described herein. The requirements for a particular development plan (hereinafter “project”) shall be relative to the size of the proposed development and the tax benefit to be obtained. In addition to the specific guidelines set forth in YMC 11.63.042, the city council adopts the following guidelines applicable to the specific projects at issue in this chapter:

1.    Minimum Investment. Each project must represent an investment of a minimum of twenty-five thousand dollars per unit.

2.    Relocation. The project shall not result in residential displacement and shall not be considered for approval unless all relocation obligations required by state and federal law are satisfied.

3.    Ground Floor Space. The program is not available for projects that plan to convert existing ground floor commercial space (occupied or vacant) to housing, unless approved by way of specific waiver from city council. The city council encourages the use of ground floor spaces for retail and commercial uses that are supportive of downtown residential living in urban center residential projects approved under this program.

4.    Reuse and Conversion. The program encourages the conversion and rehabilitation of the upper stories of urban center buildings for residential use.

C.    Designated Target Areas. The boundary of the “residential target area” subject to this chapter is the boundary of that portion of the urban center set forth below and indicated on the map identified as Exhibit “A,” attached to the ordinance codified in this chapter and incorporated herein by this reference, which are on file in the city clerk’s office.

Beginning at the intersection of East Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd and North 6th Street; then south to the intersection of South 6th Street and East Walnut Street; then west to the alignment of the BNSF railroad tracks; then north to the alignment of West Chestnut Street; then west along the alignment of West Chestnut Avenue to South 7th Avenue; then north to East A Street; then east along the alignment of West A Street to the alignment of the BNSF railroad tracks; then north to the alignment of East Martin Luther King Boulevard; then east to point of beginning.

(Ord. 2017-010 § 1, 2017: Ord. 2017-001 § 2 (part), 2017).

11.63.042 Project eligibility.

A proposed project must meet the following requirements for consideration for a property tax exemption:

1.    Location. The project must be located within a residential target area, as designated in YMC 11.63.040(C).

2.    Tenant Displacement Policy. Existing dwelling units proposed for rehabilitation must have been unoccupied for a minimum of twelve months prior to submission of an application and must have one or more violations of the city’s minimum housing code, or the project shall not displace existing residential tenants of structures that are proposed for redevelopment prior to a demonstration that all relocation obligations set forth in and required by state and federal laws have been complied with. Applications for new construction cannot be submitted for vacant property upon which an occupied residential rental structure previously stood, unless a minimum of twelve months has elapsed from the time of most recent occupancy.

3.    Size. The project must include at least four units of multiple-unit housing within a residential structure or as part of a mixed-use development. A minimum of four new units must be constructed or at least four additional multiple-units must be added to existing occupied multiple-unit housing. Existing multiple-unit housing that has been vacant for twelve months or more shall not be required to provide additional units so long as the project provides at least four units of new, converted, or rehabilitation multifamily housing.

4.    Permanent Residential Housing. One hundred percent of the space designated for multiple-unit housing must be provided for permanent residential occupancy, as defined in RCW 84.14.010(13).

5.    Proposed Completion Date. New construction multiple-unit housing and rehabilitation improvements must be scheduled to be completed within three years from the date of application approval.

6.    Compliance with Guidelines and Standards. The project must be designed to comply with the city’s comprehensive plan, building, housing, and zoning codes, and any other applicable regulations in effect at the time the application is approved. Rehabilitation and conversion improvements must comply with the city’s minimum housing code. New construction must comply with the International Building Code (IBC). The project must also comply with any other standards and guidelines adopted by the city council for the residential target area in which the project will be developed. (Ord. 2017-010 § 2, 2017: Ord. 2017-001 § 2 (part), 2017).

11.63.045 Application—Procedures.

A property owner who wishes to propose a project for a tax exemption under this chapter shall complete the following procedures:

1.    An applicant desiring to make use of this program shall file with the city’s planning and development services department the required application, together with the required fees. The initial application fee to the city shall consist of a base fee of zero dollars, plus zero dollars per multiple-unit, up to a maximum total fee to the city of zero dollars. An additional one-hundred-dollar fee to cover the Yakima County assessor’s administrative costs shall also be paid to the city. If the application shall result in a denial by the city, the city shall retain that portion of the fee attributable to its own administrative costs and refund the balance to the applicant.

2.    A complete application shall include:

(a)    A completed city of Yakima application form setting forth the grounds for the exemption;

(b)    Preliminary floor and site plans of the proposed project;

(c)    A statement acknowledging the potential tax liability when the project ceases to be eligible under this chapter; and

(d)    Verification by oath or affirmation of the accuracy and completeness of the information submitted.

For rehabilitation projects, the applicant shall also submit an affidavit that existing dwelling units have been unoccupied for a period of twelve months prior to filing the application, or verifiable evidence that all state and federal laws regarding residential displacement have been complied with, and shall secure from the city written verification of property noncompliance with the city’s minimum housing code. (Ord. 2017-001 § 2 (part), 2017).

11.63.100 Appeals.

A.    An appeal denying an application filed under this chapter may be appealed by the applicant by requesting a hearing before the city’s hearing examiner, as provided by RCW 84.14.070(4).

B.    Within thirty days of receipt of the director’s denial of a final certificate of tax exemption, the applicant may request an open record appeal before the city’s hearing examiner, as provided in YMC 16.08.020 and RCW 84.14.090, at which all affected parties may be heard and all competent evidence received. The hearing examiner will affirm, modify, or repeal the decision to deny the issuance of a final certificate of tax exemption based on the evidence received.

C.    Within thirty days of receipt of a cancellation of exemption, the applicant may request an open record appeal before the city’s hearing examiner, as provided in YMC 16.08.020 and RCW 84.14.110, at which all affected parties may be heard and all competent evidence received. (Ord. 2017-010 § 3, 2017).