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CorneliusNews.net: New Red Line Map Details Properties In Special Assessment Districts

New red line map

The map shows exactly which properties would be in Special Assessment Districts. Click to view. One of the big unanswered questions about the Red Line Regional Rail Project has been which commercial properties would be included in "special assessment districts" that would be asked to help pay for the line. This week, project consultants finally unveiled a parcel-by-parcel map that clears up the picture, at RedLineRegionalRail.org/map/. It's a detailed map that uses a "yes-no-maybe" color scheme to show property owners if they will be asked to vote whether to voluntarily create the special districts. Those owners would pay an annual assessment of 75 cents per $100 of property value to help build the line, on the theory that they would benefit from the line's presence. Consultants have said they expect to revise the plan based on feedback at community meetings. The assessments, originally slated to begin in 2013, could be pushed back to 2017, once the trains are actually running. Single-family rental properties are expected to be exempted. And the consultants are talking about shifting to a tiered schedule of assessments aimed at relieving potential financial pain for existing small businesses in the Special Assessment Districts, or SADs. The new map shows the largest district in the Mount Mourne area of south Iredell, north of Davidson - an area that planners consider ripe for development and which also includes the Lowe's Corp. headquarters. Another large district would be along NC 115 in Huntersville, from Stumptown Road north to Mayes Road. Additional properties are in Cornelius and Davidson. Planners and other officials in each town or county have helped to put the maps together, based on what they know about properties, development patterns and potential future development, Red Line consultants said. The map-drawing began by looking at properties within a roughly half-mile radius around the tracks. In at least one case - Langtree at the Lake off I-77 Exit 31 - a property owner whose land was beyond the half-mile has asked to be included in the district, consultants said. The Red Line would run about 25 miles from Charlotte to Mooresville on tracks owned by Norfolk Southern Corp. Organizers have proposed a business plan that calls for improving the tracks to handle commuter rail as well as additional freight traffic. The plan is currently under review by local governments, which are being asked to vote yes or no by later this year. Local officials, review committees, business owners and citizens have been asking lots of questions since the plan was unveiled in December, questioning the funding plans, the potential future benefits and even the rationale for building a commuter rail line. Norfolk Southern also has questioned the plan, and said it won't sign on without a new - and potentially lengthy and costly - review of assumptions about the cost of track repairs and the viability of side-by-side commuter and freight rail. Each property owner would get one vote whether to create a special assessment district (regardless of parcel size) and 50 percent of owners would have to sign the petition asking town or county governments to create a given district. Those 50 percent would have to own at least 66 percent of the assessed property value in the proposed district. Map users can zoom in to view the Red Line's proposed path, the 10 station locations, and individual parcels. Consultants said Thursday the map is still in a draft (or "beta") form, and could change as the plan is refined. The map also includes all properties in the so-called "Unified Benefit Districts," the areas around proposed stations. In addition to SADs, the Red Line business plan also asks local governments to dedicate 75 percent of future tax revenues on other properties in those districts to pay for the line. Property owners themselves would not face any increase in the tax rate. But as their property assessments gain value, the consultants say, local governments would agree to share the increased revenue with the Red Line. RELATED LINKS View the new map, RedLineRegionalRail.org/map/. Find out more about the proposed districts and how the map was created in an online Q&A, RedLineRegionalRail.org/qa/. (See questions A-8 and J-4) Feb. 9, 2012, DavidsonNews.net, Red Line to revise special assessments to help small biz." CHAMBER FOCUS FRIDAY LOOKS AT RAIL LINE The Lake Norman Chamber will host a Focus Friday discussion this Friday morning, March 23, on the Red Line Regional Rail Project. Bill Thunberg, executive director of the Lake Norman Transportation Commission, and two property owners along the line - Bob McIntosh and Matt Gallagher - will be the featured speakers. Read more CLICK HERE-