Borough of Columbia, PA
Lancaster County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[Adopted 1-13-2014 by Ord. No. 840]
As used in this article, the following words and phrases have the meaning set forth below:
DETERIORATED AREA
The area bounded and described as the "deteriorated area" by Ordinance No. 640 passed by the Borough of Columbia on August 10, 1992, and as the same may hereafter be amended from time to time.
DETERIORATED PROPERTY
Any industrial, commercial or other business property owned by an individual, partnership, association, corporation or other entity and located in the Borough of Columbia. No residential homes, apartments or other living establishments will be included except hotels and motels which rent rooms on a short-term basis.
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 safety, health, economic use or amenity, or is brought into compliance with laws, ordinances, or regulations governing such standards. Ordinary upkeep and maintenance shall not be deemed an improvement.
LOCAL TAXING AUTHORITY
The Borough of Columbia, the Columbia Borough School District and the County of Lancaster or any other governmental entity having the authority to levy real property taxes within the Borough of Columbia.
NEW CONSTRUCTION
Construction of new industrial, commercial or other business facilities which are owned by an individual, partnership, association or corporation and will be used solely for business purposes.
A. 
The exemption from real property taxes shall be limited:
(1) 
To the exemption schedule as established by this article; and
(2) 
To that portion of the additional assessment attributable to the actual cost of new construction or improvements.
B. 
In all cases the exemption form taxes shall be limited to that portion of the additional assessment valuation attributable to the actual costs of new construction or improvements, as the case may be, and for which a separated 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 if the property owner does not secure the necessary and proper permits prior to improving the property.
D. 
In any case, after the effective date of this article, when deteriorated property or new construction is damaged, destroyed or demolished by any cause or for any reason, and the assessed valuation of the property affected has been reduced as a result of said damage, destruction or demolition, the exemption from real property taxation authorized by this article shall be limited to that portion of new assessment attributable to the actual cost of improvements or construction that is in excess of the original assessments that existed prior to the damage, destruction or demolition of the property.
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.
[Amended 4-10-2017 by Ord. No. 883]
A. 
The following real estate exemption 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 is dated:
Length
Portion Exempt
First year
100%
Second year
100%
Third year
100%
Fourth year
50%
Fifth year
50%
After the fifth year, the exemption shall terminate.
B. 
The exemption from taxes granted under this article shall be upon the property exempted and shall not terminate upon the sale or exchange of the property but shall continue for the full time originally granted.
C. 
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 of Columbia, the exemption shall terminate as of the date the use was modified or terminated or the Borough of Columbia determines that the continuation of the exemption would be inconsistent with the purposes of this article.
D. 
Any property which has already begun the exemption schedule as set forth in Ordinance No. 840-2014 at the time this Ordinance No. 883-2017 is adopted shall continue on the same five-year schedule as in effect prior to the adoption of this Ordinance No. 883-2017.
A. 
Any person desiring tax exemption pursuant to this article shall apply to the Borough of Columbia at the time a building permit is secured for new construction or for the improvement. The application shall be in writing upon forms specified by the Borough of Columbia 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; and
(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.
(9) 
Such additional information as the Borough of Columbia 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 construction or improvement, assess separately the new 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 Columbia Borough of the reassessment and amounts of the assessment eligible for exemption.
C. 
The cost of new 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 of Columbia 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 residential home, apartment buildings or other living establishments, except hotels and motels which rent rooms on short-term basis.