TIF’s Given to Two Developers, Despite Opposition from Greens for Lack of “TIF Policy”

The Public at Last Night’s City Council Meeting

By Carol McCracken (Post # 1,192)

As expected, two developers were given TIF’s needed to get their respective projects up and running from the City Council last night. But it wasn’t a slam dunk process with Green councilors citing the lack of a tax break policy as justification to vote against them.

The less controversial of the tax breaks to be doled out was to Opeechee Construction, N.H., for Phase 2 in redevloping the former Jordan Meats site. This Phase will be built on 1.09 acres of land and will include a five-story, 180,000 sq. ft. mixed-use project. There will be retail space, office space and 18 luxury (over $500,000.00) residential condominium units. It is expected to have an urban grocery which has not yet been identified. The reason for the TIF request is to compensate the developers for the extraordinary costs associated with undergrounding overhead electric power and telecommunication services which is required – estimated to cost upwards of $1,000,000. An investment of $144,000.
will be reserved to invest in support of the India Street area for neighborhood planning services – an area which has long been neglected because of the poor economy. The one Green councilor supporting that tax break was Kevin Donoghue, District l, in which the development is located. Greens Marshall and Anton did not support the tax break.

None of the three Green councilors, Anton, Donoghue and Marshall, supported the tax break for Bay House, which is on the site of the former Village Cafe, a popular family restaurant for generations on the Hill. Although the tax break was granted, the three Greens voted against it – citing the lack of a city TIF policy. That lack of policy forces councilors to rely on their own subjective judgments in the decision making process.

Democrat and long-time councilor Ed Suslovic said: “I support the idea of a comprehensive TIF policy. But if we don’t do a TIF here, it will remain a parking lot for several more years. We need a comprehensive policy, but we can’t wait for that to happen.”

Please see Post # 409, dated 3/10/11 herein for more background information.