Infill development within the City of Yuma has been a topic of discussion amongst City Council and Staff for a number of years. While the concept for creating an Infill Incentive Plan sounds relatively simple, in reality the task became a much larger hurdle than initially anticipated. To comply with Arizona Revised Statute § 9-499.10 regarding infill incentive districts, staff drafted an ordinance to identify the Infill Overlay District (IO) as well as this Infill Incentive Plan to outline the incentives related to development within the IO.
The purpose of the Infill Incentive Plan is to explore issues associated with infill development and to identify potential incentives available to those who choose to develop and/or redevelop within the IO. As government budgets become ever tighter, the City of Yuma must learn to grow within, rather than expanding outward. This means accommodating growth within the existing infrastructure network, rather than expanding the City’s maintenance liability ever broader. The City is conscious of the impacts of sprawling development on environmental resources, transportation grids, and the overall quality of life for residents.
There are a variety of benefits related to infill development that directly impact the Yuma community:
Make better use of urban land while reducing consumption of agricultural land;
Reduce the time, money and air pollution associated with commuting and other use of single occupant automobiles;
Renew older neighborhoods and housing stock; and
Make better use of existing infrastructure and lowering costs of public services such as: transit, sidewalks, water and sewer, school, and public safety.
Research provided within the Infill Incentive Plan reflects the existing conditions of the community, including current development, existing infrastructure, and vacancy within the infill area. The key to successful implementation of infill development is flexibility of zoning, design standards, and fees for both new construction and renovation of existing buildings.
This research serves as the foundation upon which recommendations for infill incentives are based. Current vacant and underutilized parcels stay vacant for a reason. Unless growth pressure is very strong and land costs are high, developers prefer land with few constraints; this typically translates to development on greenfield land as it tends to carry a low purchase price. Therefore, it was vital that the City of Yuma provided a sufficient package of incentives to encourage infill and redevelopment efforts.
The “Infill Incentive Toolkit” within the plan outlines the incentives available for development within the IO. These incentives will help lessen the burden of development and encourage developers, business owners and potential homeowners to seek property within the infill area. Identifying potential incentives required collaboration between several City Departments. Such collaboration required staff to evaluate existing regulations and identify potential deviations available to properties within the Infill Incentive District.
The City’s toolkit is like a deck of cards; staff can help developers assemble the best hand for each project. Not all incentives apply to every project, but staff can help determine the ones that fit and provide the best deal for each unique project. Some of the incentives focus on allowing flexibility and deviations from the typical development standards identified in the City of Yuma Zoning Code, while others focus on reducing the cost of fees associated with development. Flexible standards are allowed, but are carefully calibrated to ensure that the scale and character of new construction and redevelopment is in accordance with and further enhances the surrounding area.
Any incentives offered on a case-by-case basis should be in accordance with adopted Redevelopment or Revitalization Plans for those neighborhoods. This recommends all prospective projects schedule a pre-development meeting to discuss development requirements and applicable incentives. To schedule a pre-development meeting, please contact the Department of Community Development at (928) 373-5175.
To review the entire Infill Incentive Plan, please click here.