A plan that would see the construction of around 9,400 housing units and just under 830,000 square feet of commercial space in northwest El Paso will be presented to the city’s voters next spring.
Opponents of the creation of a Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone, approved earlier this summer by the El Paso City Council, have secured more than 2,600 signatures on a petition calling for the matter to be put on a ballot.
Those opponents have singled out a particular aspect of the TIRZ designation that would allow for development to take place in a 1,000-acre area that is home to several popular walking, hiking, and biking trails.
As envisioned by backers of the TIRZ, the designation would allow for tax revenues to be spent on basic infrastructure needs in an area adjacent to the Franklin Mountains State Park, just north of the Transmountain Road.
According to city documents, the TIRZ would, over time, pay for up to $24 million in water facility infrastructure; $33 million in sewer system installation; and another $33 million in storm water improvements.
Construction of that infrastructure, say the supporters of the TIRZ, would make the area more appealing to both developers and retailers.
As proposed, the TIRZ would eventually see the creation of a village-like project with two-story residences and businesses, courtyards, and open spaces.
According to the El Paso City Clerk’s Office, the petitions asking for the TIRZ designation to be voted on in an election were submitted too late to appear on this November’s ballot.
By Garry Boulard
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