Obtaining A Property

There are two ways to obtain a property in the Fountain Avenue Neighborhood. The first is the traditional private transaction that occurs anywhere else in the City.  The second is to acquire a publicly owned (city) property.  The Urban Renewal and Community Development Agency (URCDA) handles all city-owned property transactions within the Fountain Avenue area.  The Paducah Planning Department is the staff support for this board. This section will describe the process to obtain one of the city owned properties.  For a listing of properties, click on Available Properties above.

Step 1 – Answering the Questions

Check out the neighborhood and Paducah to make sure this community is a place you would like to live.  Assuming you have made that decision, the first thing we ask you to do is figure out how much space you need (square feet) and your project budget.  Before the planning staff first meets with you, we ask that you meet with one of our partner banks, or other financial institution of your choice, to help determine your project budget range.  The Paducah Planning Department does not require any specific details about your financial situation. That remains confidential between you and your financial institution. Once we know your needs and your budget, we can start paring you with appropriate properties that suit your desires and your wallet.  As a point of reference, $100 per square foot is a good estimate for new construction or rehabilitation.  Personal taste will always dictate costs of your project.

Step 2 – Making a Proposal

Once you have selected your desired public property, it is time to start the proposal process. Planning staff will assist you in getting your proposal ready for the URCDA board.  All proposal requirements must be met and a complete proposal submitted to the board before it will be considered.  In general, the requirements must include at a minimum: a narrative of the project outlining the intended use of the property, the proposed purchase price, detailed rehab or construction plans with floor plans, elevations, landscaping, a firm third party detailed estimated of construction costs from an engineer, architect or contractor; a project timeline and proof of financial ability to complete the project from a lending institution.  Complete proposal requirements can be downloaded here. A sample proposal can be downloaded here.

Step 3 – Public Disposal of Property Requirements

Once planning staff has a complete proposal in hand, notification requirements are started.  Publicly owned properties must be advertised or offered to any interested party for a two-week time period.  A sign is placed on the property and a notice is published in the Paducah Sun that states that the property is available.  During this two-week time period, any other interested person(s) can submit a competing proposal for the URCDA Board to consider.  Once the deadline has passed, the proposals are gathered and the URCDA meeting agenda is set. The meeting date then has to be advertised at least seven days prior to the meeting.  Generally, this step takes about three to six weeks from the time the first proposal is submitted.   

Step 4 – URCDA Board Decision

URCDA has their regularly scheduled meetings on the first Tuesday of every month at 4:00 p.m. in the Conference Room off the City Commission Chambers on the second floor of City Hall.  At the meeting, all persons have the opportunity to present their case concerning the property and the board members can ask questions.  Then the board goes into a closed session to discuss particulars of each proposal and take a vote on whether to transfer the property or not.  Generally, the board will make a decision on property transfers at the meeting.  However, they have the option of approval of a selected proposal, denial of all proposals or to table the proposal to a later meeting. Once the decision is made to transfer the property, you have controlling interest of the property based on the proposal requirements and any conditions placed on the approval of the transfer.  The board’s counsel then will set up the deed transfer and closing, at which the property will be placed in your name.  A restriction is placed on all deeds that require the proposal requirements be completed and the five-year residency requirement.  Any violation of the terms of the proposal may result in forfeiture of the property along with any improvements made.  This is to ensure project completion and to protect the taxpayer’s investment in your project and the neighborhood.  More information about the URCDA can be found here.

Step 5 – Design Review Process

After you have controlling interest in your selected property; the next step is the design review process. Any new construction or a change in exterior appearance requires approval from the Historic & Architectural Review Commission (HARC) if you are located in the Neighborhood Services Zone (NSZ) Zone.  Planning Commission review is required for new commercial construction in the Neighborhood Commercial Corridor Zone (NCCZ), while the Fire Prevention Department approves residential design.  Most projects fall into the NSZ and will go before the HARC board.  First, an application for a Certificate of Zoning Compliance must be filled out.  Detailed elevations, plans, samples, colors, etc. are required to accompany the application.  Design Guidelines for this zone have been created to help you with these selections and can be downloaded here.  This board meets on the second Monday of each month at 5:30 in the Commission Chambers on the second floor of City Hall.  The deadline for HARC is 10 days prior to the meeting on a Friday at noon.  Decisions are usually made at the meeting.  This step usually takes approximately four weeks. More information about the HARC board can be found here.

Step 6 – Starting Construction

Once the property has been transferred into your name and the design review process is complete, you can obtain your building permit by submitting complete building/construction plans to the Fire Prevention Department.  Once they are reviewed and approved, a building permit is issued and construction can begin.  Review of building plans generally takes about three weeks once submitted.

Step 7 – Moving In

Once construction is complete, a final inspection is performed.  If the building codes are met, a Certificate of Occupancy is issued and you can move in. 

The amount of time that passes from the time you select a desired property until you move in depends on a number of factors.  Architects/designers need time to draw, contractors need time to construct and city staff has to make sure notification requirements are met. We have seen the process described above completed in as little as five months.  The average time generally is in the 12 to 18 month range from the time you select a property untill the time you move in.