Dominick Calsolaro

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Making homes the way they were

Council member proposes tax break for owners who convert rental units to owner-occupied

Published on 10/3/2005

Under the proposal by First Ward Council member Dominick Calsolaro, owners would get an eight-year property tax break to restore such apartment warrens into owner-occupied, one- or two-family homes.

"We need to offer people who have these homes an incentive," he said Monday. "Even if it only is used by seven or eight homes a year, it would be helpful."

The idea drew immediate support from the past president of the Center Square Neighborhood Association, which has for years fought to keep the area's many historic row houses from being turned into apartments.

"I think this is a terrific idea," said Clare Yates. She said there were at least two dozen converted apartments in the area, which is bounded by Lark, State and South Swan streets and Madison Avenue.

Yates said owner-occupied homes are better for a neighborhood than apartments. "Every time you bring a home back, it cuts down the density in a neighborhood, and reduces the demand for parking, as well as police and fire calls."

Calsolaro said the tax break would apply to any additional assessed value applied to a home by the city after conversion. In the first year, 100 percent of the additional value would be exempt from taxation. The exemption would decrease every year until the ninth year, when the entire assessed value would be taxable.