NORTHFIELD TOWNSHIP REQUEST FOR PROPOSALS FOR A QUALIFIED DEVELOPMENT PARTNER FOR THE NORTH VILLAGE SITE AND PARK PROPERTY IN DOWNTOWN WHITMORE LAKE, NORTHFIELD TOWNSHIP RFP QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS *
Q1. In order to make certain private development feasible and to offset developer contribution to public improvements, land used for private development needs to have minimal initial and ongoing cost. The initial cost can be defrayed through conveyance to the developer at a price which is incentivized. As to the ongoing costs, I am referring to property taxes. Hypothetically, is it technically doable for Northfield to convey title to land for a private development and abate/reduce property taxes on that land and improvements? This would be helpful for making a proposal but it falls into municipal law which we have little knowledge of. An alternative method of providing incentive on the private land might be a ground lease, but it is less desirable than conveying title from my perspective.
A1. The Township will consider all proposals, including innovative proposals for the structure and price paid for land conveyance. In the State of Michigan certain uses qualify for tax abatement and tax capture (tax increment financing), others do not. Please include any relevant Federal, State, Local, Private, or other incentive programs that will help to maximize the public benefits on the site.
Q2. Your conceptual plan indicates a long new roadway to the rear of the site which is important for vehicular movement and access to much of the 23 acres. A road such as this with underground utilities is an expensive infrastructure component. Has Northfield given thought as to what parties would bear this cost; and the timing of that road?
A2. The Township will consider all proposals, including innovative proposals for constructing roads and utilities on the site. Please include any relevant Federal, State, Local, Private, or other incentive programs that are needed to finance site infrastructure. The Township is also open to proposals for alternate phasing plans, as stated in the RFP. The Township anticipates that construction phasing may influence the timing proposed site amenities.
Q3. How can we access copies of the surveys and geotechnical reports that Northfield has?
A3. Respondents can visit the Northfield Township offices and review Township files onsite. The Township can arrange to make copies and scans of materials with costs paid by respondents.
Q4. Do you have information or an idea of the lake floor in the desired beach area? We want to make an educated guess, if possible, as to whether the natural underwater lake floor in that area is suitable for beach use, or if additional engineering and cost will be necessary.
A4. The Township does not have any survey information related to the condition of the lake floor. Based on site inspection, it is reasonable to assume additional engineering cost will be necessary to develop a beach amenity.
Q5. Will public financing be considered or available?
A5. A good part of this site would be planned for park and public access and would be eligible for MDNR grants and other opportunities for public financing and incentives. The Township owns the property and applicants can make proposals that include innovative approaches to land transfer. We recommend developers show what part of the gap between development cost and revenue can be addressed through public partnership.
Q6. Would the Township consider Tax Abatement?
A6. The developer would need to identify a qualifying program or activity to be considered for tax abatement. The Township Board would make a decision on tax abatement if an eligible activity is identified in the development program.
The site is in the DDA. The DDA currently does not have revenue to contribute but is authorized to use funds to help with the infrastructure construction, like roads and streets, with TIF capture. A proposal that involved a base-year reset to realize capture based on new development is a reasonable option to explore.
Q7. Are there affordable housing grants available?
A7. The county has eligible programs that could be utilized for an affordable housing component. With the number of units included in the preferred concept plan for North Village, some mixed income level would be appropriate.
Q8. Are the roads shown on the concept plan existing?
A8. No, all the required infrastructure for the site would need to be included in the site development program.
* Other Questions and Answers will be posted if any more come in.