Urban Infill Program
Since the nationwide financial crisis of 2008 to 2009, the Wichita community has experienced much lower construction of new homes than during the prior period of 1998 to 2008. Given the rising prices of construction materials, both renovations and new construction are financially difficult for homeowners and builders. Workforce housing is in critical demand, and some neighborhoods are in various stages of decline. Incentives for investment in existing neighborhoods can help provide affordable options to meet workforce needs and reinvigorate declining neighborhoods.
On June 19, 2019, the Wichita: Places for People Plan was adopted as an element of the Wichita-Sedgwick County Comprehensive Plan. This plan serves as the Urban Infill Strategy and is focused on the Established Central Area (ECA). The ECA has special significance for area employment, population, walkability, and community vitality. The planning process included significant public engagement, including a committee focused on developing incentives to spur reinvestment in the core part of the city. The plan identifies the "need to leverage limited public resources by implementing incentive tools in strategic ways to catalyze the development of walkable places in the ECA."
Since then, the City Council has taken several actions to address the housing situation, most of which were recommended by the committee, including establishing a land bank, devoting more resources to ridding neighborhoods of dangerous and unsafe structures, and allocating $5,000,000 to an Affordable Housing Fund, and approving a two-year pilot program of 20-year special assessments. Recently, people familiar with that effort suggested the City reignite this discussion and introduce additional incentives.
The Urban Infill Program would encourage the construction of residential improvements in Formative areas of the ECA, shaded in pink on the Neighborhood Cycle Map:
Formative neighborhoods in pink as those areas in greatest decline and most in need of reinvestment. Other neighborhoods are categorized as Emerging (light grey), Flourishing (light blue) or Maturing (purple).
The Urban Infill Program begins October 3, 2022 and extends for two years, unless otherwise determined by the City Council.
- Qualifying projects must be located in a formative area within the Established Central Area (ECA).
- Program participants must be current on the payment of all real estate taxes and outstanding special assessment taxes.
Incentives for Infill Residential Construction
- Waive fees associated with building permits for all residential projects; however, a multi-family project categorized as a commercial permit would qualify for a maximum waiver of $10,000 in building permit fees. Builders and owners must still get required permits and meet all zoning, building codes, and other routine requirements. Fee waivers apply to new home construction, renovations, and any work requiring a permit. Fee waivers are available to owners for DIY projects as well as builders, contractors, and landlords as long as they are current on all real estate taxes and outstanding special assessments. All investment in improving properties in this target area is encouraged, including multi-family construction in an effort to provide workforce housing at various price points and both for owner-occupants and renters.
- Reimburse up to $5,000 in fees incurred at Brooks C&D Landfill, which is owned by the City. This reimbursement shows recognition that redeveloping in an established neighborhood sometimes includes the added expense of demolishing an old structure, hauling debris to the landfill, and paying landfill tipping fees. This reimbursement of landfill fees would offset a portion of these costs. Property owners and builders would need to show proof of the MABCD fee waiver and documentation demonstrating construction completion on each eligible lot.
- In the interest of public safety, all permits will continue to be required; only building permit fees will be waived. Utility fees (water, stormwater and sewer) will continue to be charged when pulling building permits, which is necessary for the financial health of these special utility funds.
Does Your Address Fall Within a Formative Area?
Enter your address in the field below to check and see if your address is eligible for the Urban Infill Program.