Changes to Renaissance Zone tax exemption

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BISMARCK, N.D. - Renaissance Zone programs help business owners and residents renovate properties in the heart of North Dakota cities. Bismarck City Commissioners made a change that will make it more difficult for single family homeowners to apply for such a program.​

In September, a home in the Bismarck Renaissance Zone applied for a tax exemption.

The program would provide waive property taxes for five years if a single family home is working on a renovation project that is at least 20% of the home's assessed value or $15 per square feet.

"After that five years then she's paying property taxes on the $169,000 versus the $41,000 has it sat there," said Shawn Oban, city commissioner.

The proposed project includes a new porch, as well as other renovations, but the tax exemption for the home was denied by the commission.

"It checks all the boxes so to speak, but to give property tax relief for a porch and changing a few windows just doesn't seem like it meets the renaissance zone idea of rehabilitation," said Greg Zenker, city commissioner.

The City Commission has now approved an increase in the requirements that will go into effect in the next couple months. Which will make the exemption scalable.

"The property tax exemption would vary based on the value of whatever the project is in comparison to the value of the property," said Ben Ehreth, Community Development director.

Projects will now need to be at least 40% of the assessed value to get a full exemption.