The Urban Center Housing Tax Increment Financing (UCH-TIF) Program is a statutory program authorizing cities and towns to promote housing and commercial development, including affordable housing, in commercial centers through tax increment financing. The UCH-TIF Program provides real estate exemptions on all or part of the increased value (the "Increment") of improved real estate. Such development must be primarily residential. Tax increment financing may be combined with grants and loans from local, state and federal development programs. The Department of Housing & Community Development's (DHCD) Division of Community Services is responsible for the operation and administration of the UCH-TIF Program, including review and approval of all UCH-TIF applications.
All Massachusetts municipalities having designated commercial centers and a need for multi-unit housing. A commercial center is an area in a city or town used primarily for commerce or business, which may include but need not be limited to the sale of or provision of goods or services, including medical and educational services and services provided by profit and nonprofit entities. A commercial center has a high population density during the daytime or during regular business hours, when compared with its non-business hours or with the daytime population of surrounding developed areas of similar size. Daytime automobile traffic and parking in a commercial center is higher, when compared to its automobile traffic and parking during non business hours or with the daytime automobile traffic and parking in surrounding developed areas of similar size.
In order to participate in the program a city or town must adopt a detailed urban center housing tax increment financing plan ("UCH-TIF Plan") for a designated commercial area with high business or commercial use (the "UCH-TIF Zone"). The UCH-TIF Plan must include development plans for proposed public and private projects in the UCH-TIF Zone, including executed agreements with the property owners who will be undertaking new development and who will be receiving tax increment exemptions ("UCH-TIF Agreements"). A UCH-TIF Agreement provides an annual real estate tax exemption for up to 20 years for all or part of the real estate tax on the increment. The Agreement also specifies the affordable housing to be created and includes an affordable housing restriction which ensures that 25% of the housing assisted by the exemption will be affordable for 40 years or the useful life of the housing, whichever is longer.
DHCD will review and approve all UCH-TIF Zones and UCH-TIF Plans, as well as each individual UCH-TIF Agreement in order to ensure compliance with program requirements set out in the UCH-TIF statute, regulations and program guidelines.
How to Apply
Before submitting an application for approval of a UCH-TIF Zone and a UCH-TIF Plan to DHCD, a municipality must implement a local review and approval process. The steps of this process must conform to the regulatory requirements specified under 760 CMR 58.04, "Local Approval Process". Contact the Division of Community Services at 617-573-1400 for more information and specific application instructions.
Additional Program Information
UCH-TIF Program Guidelines containing specific application instructions are currently in development.
760 CMR 58 - UCH-TIF Program Regulations
For additional information, please call the Division of Community Services at 617-573-1100.