Neighborhood Empowerment Zones (NEZ)

Promote housing, economic development and quality services in Fort Worth central city.

Now there are more reasons than ever to build in Fort Worth’s central city, thanks to an incentives package recently approved by the city council for any NEZs designated in the city.

Municipal property tax abatements, fee waivers and release of city liens are available to property owners who build or rehabilitate property within a NEZ. These incentives are designed to promote affordable housing, economic development and expanded services. 

Eligible Areas

The NEZ Program is available for all NEZs designated by the City Council. Creation of a NEZ area shall meet the following guidelines:

  • Be 100% Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) eligible
  • Be bounded by clearly-defined boundaries (streets, railroads, creeks or other logical boundaries)
  • May encompass an existing neighborhood or several neighborhoods
  • Have a concentration of population at or below poverty level
  • Have a low median household income and per capita income
  • Contain a predominance of substandard homes/aged housing stock
  • Have a higher than average vacancy rate
  • Have a higher than average rate of crimes against persons or property
  • Have low commercial permit values
  • May contain areas targeted for revitalization
  • If a proposed NEZ boundary includes an urban village as defined in the Comprehensive Plan, a logical, defensible area of the urban village as determined by the City of Fort Worth must be zoned mixed-use or form-based code district as defined in the City of Fort Worth Zoning Ordinance.
  • Meet the criteria for a Reinvestment Zone

 

Ineligible Projects

The following Projects or Businesses shall not be eligible for any incentives under the City of Fort Worth’s Neighborhood Empowerment Zone (NEZ) Basic Incentives and Tax Abatement Policy:

  • Sexually Oriented Businesses
  • Non-residential mobile structures
  • Stand-alone bars (Bars as part of a mixed use project may apply for NEZ incentives)
  • Single family investor owned projects / Rental Properties
  • Package stores or liquor stores
  • Projects to be constructed on property purchased or to be purchased under a contract for deed

Basic Incentives

Following are basic incentives available for all NEZ areas. Download a copy of the Neighborhood Empowerment Zone Program (NEZ) Basic Incentives and Tax Abatement Policy(PDF, 103KB) (Revised Jan. 29, 2019) adopted by the City Council.

Municipal Property Tax Abatement The following properties may qualify for municipal property tax abatements:

  • Owner-occupied property
  • Multi-family development project
  • Commercial, industrial or community facilities development project
  • Mixed-use development project

Fee Waivers

The following fees are waived for qualified projects:

  • All building permit related fees (including plans review and inspections)
  • Plat application fee (including concept plan, preliminary plat, final plat, short form replat)
  • Board of Adjustment application fee
  • Demolition fee
  • Structural moving fee
  • Community Facility Agreement (CFA) application fee
  • Zoning application fee
  • Street and utility easement vacation application fee
  • Ordinance inspection fee
  • Consent\encroachment agreement application fee
  • Transportation impact fee
  • Urban forestry application fees
  • Sign permit fees

 

Release of City Liens

he following City liens may be released for qualified projects:

  • Weed liens
  • Demolition liens
  • Board-up/open structure liens
  • Paving liens

Apply

Step 1.How to Apply

  • You may apply in person at the Permitting Center Check-in located in City Hall at the south-end lower level.
  • All submittal documents must be present to intake the application, as we do not accept incomplete applications. Appointments are available to submit your application.

Step 2.Apply Online

You may also apply online.

Step 3.Waiting Time 

  • Certification processing for Basic NEZ Incentives is approximately 2-3 weeks.
  • If you are also seeking Tax Abatement please add an additional 12-14 weeks for that process.

Step 4.Contact Information

Telephone: 817-392-2222
Email: nez_ns@fortworthtexas.gov

For more information about NEZ Tax Abatements, call Sarah Odle, 817-392-7316.

 

Criteria

Step 1.What are some of the criteria for becoming certified to receive NEZ incentives?

  • The property must be located in a NEZ area.
  • The proposed rehab must be 30% or more than the TAD improvement value of the property.
  • The property is a permanent structure, and not a mobile structure.
  • The owner/developer is not delinquent in paying taxes and does not have any City liens against any property they own.
  • The owner/developer has not been subject to a Building Standards Commissions’ order of Demolition where their property was demolished within the last five (5) years.
  • The property has received City Council support if it is a liquor store or package store.
  • All new construction must conform to the NEZ Design Guidelines per section E.1 in the NEZ policy.
    • No metal buildings except for industrial projects
    • All new construction projects must contain 70% masonry product
    • Exceptions to the masonry product will be made at the city’s discretion for design district overlays (where applicable) and approved planned development projects
    • Compliance with design guidelines for Council adopted NEZ Strategic Plans is required for certification
    • Attached garages for new single family homes may not extend more than 4 ft. past the front building wall

Step 2.What if I qualify but do not wish to participate in the program?

The owner of the property will be required to sign a NEZ Opt-Out form acknowledging that they were informed about the program but declined to participate. A copy of the owner’s drivers license is required. A copy of the Registered Warranty Deed is only required if the owner’s name listed in Tarrant Appraisal District (TAD) is different from the current owner of the property.

*If property is owned by a corporation, corporation papers noting all principles, partners and registered agents is required.

 

Fees

Are there any fees associated with participating in this program?

Yes. There is an application fee of $25 for all Basic Incentives excluding tax abatements. The application for residential tax abatements is $100. The application fee for multi-family, commercial, industrial, community facilities and mixed-use development projects is one-half of one percent (0.5 percent) of the proposed Project’s Capital Investment, with a $200 minimum not to exceed $2,000. If you are approved for tax abatements, City staff will work with you to finalize the tax abatement agreement with the City.