The Everett City Council on Wednesday deadlocked 3-3 on a vote to extend the life of an economic carrot for downtown landlords to build more condominiums and apartments.
The impasse centered on the costs and benefits of retooling a 1998 property tax exemption crafted to bring more residents to live in Everett’s core.
Supporters say the tax break will help the city achieve its goal of a more vibrant and densely populated downtown.
Others argued that doling out benefits to downtown property owners is unfair and that it shifts the burden of paying for city services to everybody else.
Under the plan, property owners can skip 10 years of taxes on the value of eligible residential buildings, paying only taxes on the land value. That can translate to tens of thousands of dollars of savings per unit.
Nautica Condominiums on Grand and Hewitt avenues built 121 homes, and Peninsula Apartments on Colby Avenue, just south of Pacific Avenue, built 63 under the tax exemption program.
Another 500 downtown apartments and condos in the planning stage could also benefit from it.
Wednesday’s ordinance sought to:
* Extend the program from 2008 to 2018.
* Roughly double the eligible area, to include land around Everett Station and a sliver along W. Marine View Drive.
* Reduce the minimum number of dwellings required for eligibility from 20 to four units.
Converted houses would not have qualified for the exemption under the ordinance.
Council President Brenda Stonecipher and Councilmen Arlan Hatloe and Drew Nielsen were in favor of the extension.
Councilmen Mark Olson, Ron Gipson and Bob Overstreet voted to table the ordinance until its financial effects could be studied.
Councilman Paul Roberts was absent.
Supporters say they are working to bring the idea back to the council before the existing exemption expires.
Reporter David Chircop: 425-339-3429 or email@example.com.