Wednesday, July 18, 2001
F'ville Historic District: A lose-lose proposition for landowners, taxpayers
Certainly the Mayor and the Fayetteville City Council are men of honor, character and integrity and intend nothing but the best for the citizens of Fayetteville. However, even those with the best intentions sometimes overlook things. In this case, it's the financial effects on the citizens of Fayetteville that have been overlooked.
The only reason not to own a property in the proposed Historic Preservation District is the fact that the limitations put on the property by the Historic Preservation Ordinance causes the properties within the district to have less value. Some will say differently and cite examples of success like Charleston, Savannah and New Orleans, but these are all destination cities. If Fayetteville is a destination city, where are the hotels?
If inclusion in the district increases the value of property, why isn't there a long line of property owners waiting to be signed up? Why does the ordinance force the property owners to be included in the district?
If inclusion is so good, why isn't it voluntary instead of mandatory? If identical properties, side by side, have one included in the district and forced to abide by the terms of the ordinance and the other not, which property will have a higher value? Any reasonable person would agree that inclusion in the district holds down the value of property.
And since according to Georgia law, real estate taxes are based on the value of property, and the ordinance holds down the value of property within the district, then it also holds down the amount of real estate taxes paid by property owners within the district.
Well then, in a group, if one part has its taxes held down, the other part of the group has to pay more. Any reasonable person would understand that if the real estate taxes of the owners within the district are held down, then it is an absolute certainty that the real estate owners in Fayetteville outside the district must pay more. Whether it's $1,000, $100, or $1, those owners outside the district must pay higher taxes.
It's a classical "loselose" situation: A. The limitations of the Historical Preservation District cause the value of the properties within the district to be held down. B. The owners of property outside the district must pay higher taxes.