At their regularly scheduled meeting on Wednesday, March 23, the Tyler City Council voted unanimously to create a Neighborhood Empowerment Zone (NEZ) that will overlay a portion of a 395 acre master planned community conceptualized by North Chase Development in North Tyler.

On Oct. 28, 2008, the City Council originally authorized the creation of a pilot NEZ for a portion of the North Chase Development that was designed to increase public health, safety and welfare. The development has since changed locations and this newly approved NEZ will now incorporate the new location.

"The synergy of the North Case Development and the programs the City is rolling out is exactly what the Tyler 21 Plan calls for to revitalize this area of our community, ‘' said Mayor Barbara Bass. "The convergence of public programs and private investment is the perfect recipe for mobilizing further development."

"The NEZ is a tool that has been used in many other communities to successfully spark private investment," said Mayor Pro Tem Ralph Caraway. "We are hoping to see the same level of success here in Tyler."

Neighborhood Empowerment Zone (NEZ)
In the Tyler 21 plan to revitalize North Tyler, a critical goal was to "add 3,000 more households to North Tyler and downtown in the next 20 years to create mixed-income neighborhoods." A program that can help bring that goal to fruition is a NEZ. The goal of the NEZ is to:

· Create affordable housing;

· Increase economic development;

· Improve the quality of social services, education or public safety in the neighborhood; and/or,

· Rehabilitate affordable housing.

In addition to meeting at least one of the objectives listed above, an area must meet the following criteria before it can be designated a NEZ by the City Council:

· Have clearly defined boundaries;

· Constitute a new neighborhood in the form of new improvements on at least 20 contiguous lots;

· Properties within the proposed zone must have a residential zoning; and,

· Properties within the proposed zone must be owner occupied.

The NEZ provides incentives to builders who develop projects that address these goals. The prospective incentives include:

· Waiving or rebating zoning fees and platting fees;

· Waiving building permit fees, testing fees and tap fees;

· Providing direct access to the City's First Time Homebuyers Program; and,

· Providing an infrastructure incentive in the amount of $2000 per unit for single family attached homes or $1,000 per unit for single family detached units – up to a maximum of 50 units.