News Release - Mayor Warren Seeks to Offer Tax Incentive to Stimulate Neighborhood Housing Construction

City of Rochester

News Release 

(Tuesday, Sept. 17, 2019) – Mayor Lovely A. Warren announced today that the City is seeking approval to offer tax incentives to homeowners who build new, one- or two-family, owner-occupied residential units in any city neighborhood.

“Tax breaks for new owner-occupied housing are currently limited to our Center City, which directs the benefit to wealthier residents and developers with the capital to build multiple units,” Mayor Warren said. “By expanding these incentives across our city, we can bring more equity to these opportunities while encouraging new investment in our neighborhoods.”

The City is seeking approval from Imagine Monroe, Monroe County’s industrial development agency, to expand the Core Housing Owner Incentive Exemption program. The program offers owners of new owner-occupied units a descending discount on property taxes – from 90 percent in year one to 10 percent in year nine and no discounts in year ten and after.

The goal of the program is to close the gap between the cost of new construction and the assessed property values in many city neighborhoods. The program could be combined with the City’s new “clean demolition” practices, which reduce the cost of site preparation; and grants for first-time home buyers to reduce building costs even further.

As a result of decades of disinvestment, there are more than 600 vacant parcels in city neighborhoods with middle- to high-value markets. Since 2015, the City has reduced the number of vacant structures, or zombie properties, by 615 units while adding almost 1,900 units to its housing inventory. However, more than 90 percent of the new units are rental units.

The expanded CHOICE Program would complement strategies outlined in Rochester 2034, the City’s pending comprehensive plan – such as encouraging the development of innovative housing options, including tiny houses and houses specifically designed for residents to age in place.

Gary Kirkmire, the City’s commissioner of Neighborhood and Business Development, is scheduled to present a proposal on the CHOICE expansion to the Imagine Monroe Board today.


News Media: For more information, contact Press Officer Jessica Alaimo at 428-7135.