Residential CRA Program

The same program that has brought millions in investment to revitalize Downtown Wooster is available to any Wooster homeowner, landlord, or developer working to rehabilitate or even rebuild a single and two-family home within Wooster’s designated Community Reinvestment Area.

For projects exceeding $2,500.00 in the Downtown area, property owners may receive a 100 percent Tax Abatement for 10 years on the improved value of the home, or 100% for 12 years on new construction projects. (Projects north of Long Road are eligible to receive abatements of 50% for 10 years, or 12 years if LEED certified.)

*Please note, though this does not apply to most areas of the CRA, the City cannot approve abatements within certain areas recently added to the CRA until it receives authorization from the State of Ohio, anticipated in December 2020. 

Make An Application

Click here to navigate to the City of Wooster's ViewPoint system to make and track the progress of an application. (If you do not have a user account, you can follow the prompts to set one up instantly.) You can save drafts of your application, upload documents, and send questions. We look forward to welcoming your project!

How It Works
  • A homeowner remodeling or constructing a new home within the CRA documents expenses (keeps invoices or receipts).
  • The homeowner (or developer) fills out a simple CRA Application form submits it to the City of Wooster's Office of Economic and Community Development.
  • We review your application for completeness and may contact you with additional questions.
  • The City forwards applications to our partners at Wooster City School District and Triway Local School District for review and comment. This takes about two weeks.
  • All applications that meet the minimum requirements will be approved. (If we are not able to approve an application, we will send an explanation of what additional data we need, or provide information on the appeals process.)
  • We send a confirmation letter to the Wayne County Auditor, requesting that any future taxes resulting from the new investment be abated.
  • About a month after completing the application, homeowners will receive an electronic letter stating that their application has been approved. 
  • Over the following year, the Wayne County Auditor will reassess the property. Any increase in property value will be abated up to the amount of the investment.
  • The property will enjoy a tax savings for the following decade. For every $10,000 invested, the owner will save $200 annually in real estate taxes, or $2,000 over a ten year term.
Example

For instance, the initial market value of a home is $60,000.00. Improvements made to the home reflect a $30,000.00 increase in the market value, making the home worth $90,000.00. The tax abatement will be placed on $30,000.00 of the improved value of the home. The owner will only owe taxes on the initial $60,000.00.

About CRA

The Community Reinvestment Area is a zone within the City where home-owners who remodel existing homes or construct new homes may receive tax abatements on future tax increases. It is a program designed to help home-owners improve their homes by allowing a tax savings.

Many Wooster property owners have already taken advantage of the program to rehabilitate or expand their homes, or even construct new houses. This investment is not only a great opportunity for home-owners, but also helps the community by improving the value and quality of surrounding homes.

The Community Reinvestment Act was passed by the Ohio State Legislature to encourage reinvestment in areas “in which housing facilities or structures of historical significance were located and new housing construction and repair of existing facilities or structures are discouraged”. (ORC 3735.65). The City of Wooster joined this program in 2004.

How To Participate

An easy application (available below) and documentation of your expenses is all that is needed to save on your taxes for the next 10 years. As soon as possible after construction, but no later than six months, submit a Residential CRA application to the City’s Development Coordinator at City Hall (538 N. Market Street, Wooster, Ohio. Phone - 330.263.5250).

 

Location

The CRA covers the City’s historic neighborhoods, most of which are located south of Bowman Street (or East of Akron Road). A few additional areas immediately south of the College of Wooster, as well as certain R-2 Zoned areas north of Long Road, are also included.  A detailed map is available below and also at City Hall. You are also welcome to contact us anytime over email or telephone.

Map Close-Up

CRA Map 2020

Obligations

As part of the program, the property owner must maintain the investment made, or not let the property fall into disrepair. This means meeting all zoning codes. Also, property owners must remain current with their taxes. Violating zoning codes or becoming delinquent on taxes could result in the valuable exemption being revoked. Meeting these obligations helps improve the value of the home, as well as the value of the neighborhood, creating a safe and prosperous environment.

 

Program Requirements
  • The property must be residential in use (no more than two units) and located within the CRA.
  • Documentation/proof of expenses are required to estimate the actual improved value.
  • The investment must be at least $2,500.00 (Or $50,000 for homes north of Long Road)
  • The Application must be received by the City of Wooster as soon as possible, but no later than six months of completing work.

Since certain projects will require permits and zoning review, please coordinate with the Property Maintenance / Zoning and Residential Building Inspector at City Hall, who may be reached at 330.263.5237.

What Is Covered

Any construction that improves the assessed value of the home is eligible. Example projects include:

  • Creating additional living area
  • Building a new or enlarging a garage
  • Installing an additional bathroom
  • Adding a new porch
  • Converting a half bathroom to a full bathroom
  • Installing an indoor fireplace
  • Finishing an attic with walling
What Is Not Covered?

Generally, a cosmetic repair alone, such as new carpeting, new windows, replacing a roof, or other routine maintenance, will not increase the value of a home. Since taxes will not increase as a result of these activities, no abatement is needed. However, if performing several of these activities at once, you may increase your home value, and therefore your real estate taxes. If performing substantial repairs, an application may still be helpful. The Wayne County Auditor is responsible for assessing how improvements impact home valuation.

Additional Information

Submitting a CRA Application is easy! Below you will find an application, along with a map of the CRA area, and also a detailed brochure. Please feel free to call our office if you have questions. Thank you and congratulations on starting a new project!