Council Discussion Suggests Openness Toward Residential TIF Deals


By Jim Dayton, Janesville Gazette

While Janesville City Council members wanted more details on the use of tax increment financing for development of multifamily housing, they were all open to the idea during their meeting Monday night.

The council took no action but discussed modifying city policy to give more flexibility to residential TIF deals throughout Janesville.

Council President Doug Marklein said after the meeting that Janesville previously only allowed housing TIF deals downtown. A modified policy could lead to more development elsewhere.

The council mostly focused on infill sites, loosely defined as vacant lots surrounded by developed ones. These sites would be mostly ready for development and would not need much, if any, infrastructure extension for a new user.

Economic Development Director Gale Price kept the conversation general but gave two examples of infill sites: the abandoned youth baseball fields off Woodman Road and a cornfield tucked behind Woodman’s Food Market.

Adding a TIF tool for infill sites could help solve the city’s multifamily housing shortage, Price said. He estimated Janesville’s multifamily housing vacancy rate is around 1 percent.

The city needs to help developers build in a market where rental rates have not met the rising cost of construction, Price said. If rents aren’t high enough to make a project financially viable, then developers won’t build here—whether that’s downtown or elsewhere, he said.

“We have an extreme need for units here in this community,” Price said.

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