Development Assistance for Residents & Businesses
There are a variety of resources available to residents and businesses developing within the Town of Summerville.
Individuals interested in these programs are encouraged to contact the Town of Summerville’s Planning and Economic Development Department for more information, 843-851-4231.
- Capital Investments
- Brownfields Cleanup Fund
- Conservation Easements
- For-Profit Property Credit
- Discounted Sewer Connection
- Low Income Housing Tax Credits
- SC Community Loan Fund
- Historic Rehabilitation Credit
- Owner Occupied Property Credit
- Retail Facilities Credit
- New Market Tax Credits
- Economic Development Incentive
- Voluntary Cleanup Program
- Permitting Process
Capital Investments/Infrastructure Improvements
The Town of Summerville realizes the critical role quality infrastructure plays in supporting quality development. To that end, the Town seeks strategic partnerships where it may leverage its capital improvement investments such as streetscaping, open space, and recreational amenities as identified in the Town of Summerville’s Vision Plan.
Brownfields Cleanup Revolving Loan Fund (BCRLF)
The BCRLF is a state program that provides loans of up to $900,000 at 2% below prime for the cleanup of brownfield sites. It is administered by the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC) through a federal grant from Environmental Protection Agency. For more information, contact SCDHEC at 803-896-4069.
Conservation easements are voluntary legal agreements that can be used to protect significant historic, archaeological, environmental or cultural resources. If certain criteria are met, an owner who donates an easement may be eligible for tax benefits. Certain areas within Summerville, particularly along the Ashley River, may offer opportunities to incorporate this tool within the development of adjacent land. Some of the nonprofit groups who manage conservation easements in the Summerville and Low Country areas of South Carolina include:
As a member of the Main Street program (a 501 (c)(3) organization), the mission is dedicated to improving the quality of life in Summerville by enhancing the aesthetic, cultural, social and economic aspects of the downtown area, while preserving its historic identity. The DREAM Building Improvement Grant program (B.I.G. IDEA) will provide financial assistance on a cost reimbursement basis to commercial property owners and business owners in the Historic Downtown District that qualify for façade improvements. The purpose of the program is to support the revitalization of the downtown area by stimulating private investment in high-quality improvements that enhance the appearance of buildings and properties and eliminate blight and non-conforming design standards.
Federal/State Tax Rehabilitation Credits for Income-Producing Properties
Provides 20% Federal Income Tax Credit/10% State Income Tax Credit on rehabilitation expenditures of at least $5,000 during a 24-month period that are greater than the adjusted basis of the building.
Discounted Sewer Connection Fees
New development within the Town of Summerville may qualify for lower sewer connection fees, than those in the unincorporated areas served by the Summerville Commissioners of Public Works.
The South Carolina State Housing Finance and Development Authority, through a competitive application process, provides tax incentive to owners developing affordable multifamily rental housing within qualified census tracts. Owners of and investors in qualifying developments can use the credit as a dollar-for-dollar reduction of federal income tax liability.
The SC Community Loan Fund (CLF) is a Community Development Finance Institution (CDFI) that provides non-traditional loans and technical assistance for developing affordable housing, healthy food outlets, community facilities, and community businesses (i.e. retail stores, service businesses, wholesalers, and small manufacturers) that serve underserved populations and neighborhoods. Eligible uses of financing may include:
- Permanent financing development costs
State/Federal Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credits
There are a number of tax incentives to assist in rehabilitating historic properties. Much of Summerville’s downtown is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Contributing buildings in this district, as well as many older buildings throughout the Town limits, may be eligible. The program allows for both income-producing buildings (commercial and residential), as well as owner-occupied homes. These incentives are coordinated through the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO), and typically, require a preapproval process before beginning any construction.
State Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credit for Owner Occupied Property
Provides a state income tax deduction of 25% of repairs/renovation costs for homeowner-occupied buildings, over a 5-year period. Requires a minimum expenditure of $15,000 within 36 months.
Retail Facilities “Big Box” Revitalization Tax Credit
South Carolina offers tax incentives for renovating, rehabilitating and redeveloping large retail facilities that remain 80% nonoperational as a retail site for at least a year. The program offers two options:
- A state income tax credit equal to 10% of expenses for a period of 8 years
- A property tax credit equal to 25% of expenses for each local taxing entity consenting to the credit, up to 75% of the real property taxes due for up to 8 years
Property tax credits require public hearing, consent from affected local taxing entities, and approval by resolution from the Town and county where the site is located. Income tax credits may be combined with historic rehabilitation tax credits, making this a strong incentive for qualifying properties. The state legislation for this program may be found here.
Two areas within the Town of Summerville are located within census tracts that may qualify for the use of New Market Tax Credits to support development projects. In general, one is in the Downtown area, and the other in the Oakbrook commercial area, along the east side of Old Trolley Road.
South Carolina Economic Development Incentives
The State of South Carolina offers various statutory and discretionary incentives to targeted industries to reduce the property tax liability of a potential investor, and/or offset the infrastructure related expenditures of that potential investor. Eligibility varies, and is typically tied to new capital investment and job creation. Under state law, counties are vested with the authority to grant these incentives, and therefore, provide oversight in the negotiation of incentive packages on behalf of the qualifying company, the County, Town and the State Department of Commerce.
The Town of Summerville is located within three counties and works collaboratively with each county on prospective commercial and industrial businesses seeking to locate a project within the Town.
South Carolina Voluntary Cleanup Program (VCP)
South Carolina provides CERCLA liability protection to Non-Responsible Parties interesting in purchasing Brownfields sites. Also provides an incentive to Responsible Parties with a covenant not to sue for work performed in cleaning up a site. For more information, contact South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (SC DHEC), 803-896-4069.
The Town of Summerville understands that when developing property, time is of the essence. Therefore, we work hard to ensure that obtaining Town development, building and occupancy permits is a fairly straightforward and quick process. Contact the Town’s Building Department when any questions regarding the development review process, 843-851-5200.