Borough of Columbia, PA
Lancaster County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[Adopted 1-13-2014 by Ord. No. 841]
As used in this article, the following words and phrases have the meanings set forth below:
BOROUGH
The Borough of Columbia, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.
DETERIORATED AREA
For purposes of improvements as defined herein, the area bounded and described as the "deteriorated area" by Ordinance No. 640, passed by the Borough Council of the Borough of Columbia on August 10, 1992, and as the same may thereafter be amended from time to time, and for purposes of residential construction as defined herein, the areas described in Ordinance No. 640, passed by the Borough Council of the Borough of Columbia on August 10, 1992.[1][2]
DETERIORATED PROPERTY
A dwelling unit located in a deteriorated neighborhood, or a dwelling unit which has been or upon request is certified by a health, housing or building inspection agency as unfit for human habitation for rent withholding, or other health or welfare purposes, or has been the subject of an order by such agency requiring the dwelling unit to be vacated, condemned or demolished by reason of noncompliance with laws, ordinances or regulations.
DWELLING UNIT
A house, double house, or duplex, townhouse or row house, apartment or condominium, or any building or unit of a building intended for occupancy as a separate living quarters by an individual, family or families or other groups of persons, which living quarters contain a kitchen or cooking equipment for the exclusive use of the occupant or occupants.
IMPROVEMENT
Repair, construction or reconstruction, including alterations and additions, having the effect of rehabilitating a deteriorated property so that it becomes habitable or attains higher standards of housing safety, health or amenity, or is brought into compliance with laws. Ordinances or regulations governing housing standards, ordinary upkeep and maintenance shall not be deemed an improvement.
RESIDENTIAL CONSTRUCTION
The building or erection of dwelling units, as defined above, upon vacant land or land specifically prepared to receive such structures.
[1]
Editor's Note: Ord. No. 846, adopted 1-13-2014, included, in part, the following:
"SECTION 1. Pursuant to the Act, Borough Council of the Borough of Columbia, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania does hereby designate and affix the boundaries of a deteriorated area for purposes of the said Act to be the boundaries of the Columbia Borough as are shown and described in Ordinance No. 640 of the Borough of Columbia, a copy of which is attached hereto, which is on file in the Borough Office and does hereby designates all areas within the boundaries of the Columbia Borough as a Deteriorated Area for purposes of the said Act. The descriptions and any and all exhibits attached to Ordinance No. 640 as amended from time to time are hereby incorporated by reference into this ordinance and shall be as much a part of this ordinance as if fully described herein."
Ord. No. 847, adopted 2-10-2014, specified that Ord. No. 846 shall be effective January 13, 2014, without any action taken by the Columbia Borough School District. It further provided that as a result of the adoption of Ord. No. 846, Ord. No. 802 is repealed and its provisions are null and void.
[2]
["The Act" refers to Improvement of Deteriorating Real Property or Areas Tax Exemption Act, 72 P.S. § 4711-101 et seq.]
A. 
The exemption from real property taxes shall be limited to:
(1) 
The exemption schedule as established by this article; and
(2) 
That portion of the additional assessment attributable to the actual costs of improvements to deteriorated properties or the actual costs of residential construction built in a deteriorating area.
B. 
In all cases, the exemption from taxes shall be limited to that portion of the additional assessment valuation attributable to the actual costs of the improvements or residential construction, as the case may be, and for which a separate assessment has been made by the Lancaster County Board of Assessment Appeals, and for which an exemption has been separately requested.
C. 
No tax exemption shall be granted by the Borough if the property owner does not secure all of the necessary and proper permits prior to commencing the residential construction or making the improvements.
D. 
In any case, after the effective date of this article, when residential construction or improvements are damaged, destroyed or demolished by any cause or for any reason, and the assessed value of the property affected has been reduced as a result of the said damage, destruction or demolition, the exemption from real property taxation authorized by this article shall be limited to that portion of the new assessment attributable to the actual costs of the residential construction or improvements that is in excess of the original assessments that existed prior to the damage, destruction or demolition of the improvements or residential construction.
E. 
Notwithstanding anything to the contrary, each item of construction and/or improvements shall be treated separately for exemptions under this article if they are being performed or constructed under separate building permits. By way of example only, if a property owner obtains a building permit to construct a house in year one, and then in year two obtains a separate building permit to install a garage or make additional improvements to the previously constructed house, that garage or new improvements shall be treated separately for purposes of exemption under this article.
A. 
The following exemption schedule shall apply for deteriorated properties to which improvements have been made, which schedule shall be in effect for five tax years commencing with the new tax year following the tax year within which a certificate of occupancy or other Borough-issued certification of completion for the improvements to the property is dated:
Length
Portion Exempt
First year
100%
Second year
80%
Third year
60%
Fourth year
40%
Fifth year
20%
After the fifth year, the exemption shall terminate.
B. 
The following exemption schedule shall apply for properties in a deteriorated area subject to new residential construction, which schedule shall be in effect for five years commencing with the new tax year following the tax year within which a certificate of occupancy or other Borough-issued certification of completion is dated:
Length
Portion Exempt
First year
100%
Second year
80%
Third year
60%
Fourth year
40%
Fifth year
20%
After the fifth year, the exemption shall terminate.
C. 
The exemptions set forth above are limited to the additional assessment valuation attributable to the actual costs of the improvements or residential construction.
D. 
If the use of the property at the time the exemption is granted is modified, terminated or changed during the five-year period which in any way would have affected the exemption if the property had been so used when the exemption was granted, then at the election of the Borough, the exemption shall terminate as of the date the use was modified or terminated or the Borough determines that the continuation of the exemption would be inconsistent with the purposes of this article.
E. 
The exemption from taxes authorized by this article shall be upon the property exempted and shall not terminate upon the sale or exchange of the property.
A. 
Any person desiring tax exemption pursuant to this article shall apply to the Borough at the time a building permit is secured for new residential construction or for the improvement. The application shall be in writing upon forms specified by the Borough setting forth the following information:
(1) 
The date the building permit was issued along with zoning, land division and/or land development requirements;
(2) 
The location of the property to be improved;
(3) 
The nature of the property to be improved, (industrial, commercial, etc.);
(4) 
The type of improvement;
(5) 
The summary of the plan of the improvement;
(6) 
The cost of the improvement;
(7) 
The property has been inspected and verified by the Columbia Borough Manager or his designated agent;
(8) 
Certification by the applicant that there are no unpaid real estate taxes, municipal sewer charges, or other municipal charges, bills or liens outstanding related to the property; and
(9) 
Such additional information as the Borough may require.
B. 
A copy of the exemption requests shall be forwarded to the Lancaster County Board of Assessment by the Columbia Borough Manager. The Lancaster County Board of Assessments shall, after completion of the new residential construction or improvement, assess separately the new residential construction or improvement and calculate the amounts of the assessment eligible for tax exemption in accordance with the limits set forth in this article and shall notify the taxpayer and the Borough of the reassessment and amounts of the assessment eligible for exemption.
C. 
The cost of new residential construction or improvements to be exempted and the schedule of taxes exempted existing at the time of the initial request for tax exemption shall be applicable to that exemption request and subsequent amendment to this article, if any, shall not apply to requests initiated prior to their adoption.
D. 
Appeals from the reassessment and the amount eligible for the exemption may be taken by the Borough or by the taxpayer as provided by law.
No amendment to this article shall be effective unless consented to by resolution or ordinance of each local taxing authority which has consented to be bound by the terms of this article.
Unless prior to that date which is five years from the effective date of this article, the Columbia Borough Council adopts an ordinance and Columbia Borough School District Board of Directors adopts a resolution or takes other appropriate action extending this article for an additional five years, this article shall terminate exactly five years from the effective date of this article. On or prior to each renewal period, this article shall terminate on the fifth year following renewal unless both the Columbia Borough Council and Columbia Borough School District Board of Directors have adopted ordinances, in the case of the Borough, or resolutions or other appropriate actions, in the case of the School District, extending the term of this article for an additional five years. This article shall terminate at the discretion of either the Columbia Borough Council or the Columbia Borough School District Board of Directors upon adoption of appropriate repealing ordinance or resolution, respectively, with formal written notification to one another at least 90 days in advance of said planned ordinance or resolution, respectively. Notwithstanding the foregoing, any taxpayer who has received or applied for exemption granted by this article prior to the expiration or termination of this article, if said exemption is granted, shall be entitled to the full exemption authorized herein.
Any exemption made permissible under this article shall not be applied to any properties not subject to exemption hereunder and under the Improvement of Deteriorating Real Property or Areas Tax Exemption Act, 72 P.S. § 4711-101 et seq.