TIRZ #3 and Transit Oriented Development

What is a Transit Oriented Development (TOD)?
A defined area that includes a mix of commercial, residential, office and entertainment centered around or located near a transit station. 

What is a Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone (TIRZ)? 
TIRZs are governed by Chapter 311 of the Texas Tax Code. They are used as forms of tax increment financing, which is an economic development tool to incentivize both development and redevelopment in a specified area. 

Why was the TOD in Burleson formed? 
In 2000, the North Central Texas Council of Governments (NCTCOG) identified a future metro transit rail that would run from Cleburne to Fort Worth in their Mobility 2025 plan.

In 2002, Burleson was identified by the NCTCOG’s Regional Transportation Committee (RTC) as a general location for a transit stop along the transit rail line. 

In 2005, the city of Burleson voluntarily annexed 653 acres to form the TOD. In 2006, a Planned Development District was created which modified the base zoning of the property within the TOD.  The modified zoning allowed for multifamily development, which was approved to help spur the demand for a commuter rail system.  The zoning is separate and apart from the TIRZ, and its dissolution does not impact the underlying zoning for the area. As written, the PD allows a minimum of 4,052 residential units and a maximum of over 5,700 residential units.  

In 2007, city council decided to define a portion of property on the city’s west side to accommodate a light rail and commuter station. 

Why was a TIRZ formed for the TOD?
In 2012, the TIRZ was formed to provide for public infrastructure in the TOD. This is similar to the Tax Increment Financing Zone (TIF) in Old Town. However, a TIRZ Board was never appointed and no project plan was ever created.

Why are we dissolving the TIRZ?
NCTCOG’s Mobility 2045 plan estimated that the Cleburne to Fort Worth commuter rail would have less than 1,000 riders per day. The cost for construction only is estimated at $1.73 billion. Ridership would need to support the commuter rail’s annual operation costs, estimated at $845,000. The current estimates indicate that the line is not self-sustaining and would require an operational subsidy.

The COVID-19 pandemic has also significantly impacted the commuter rail system. Public transit has seen a sharp decrease in ridership and studies from the American Public transportation Association suggest commuter rail travelers are more likely to be able to work from home compared to bus riders.