2014-09-26 / Front Page

TIF vote decision will wait

Town manager suggests special town meeting to decide seasonal cottages issue
By Alex Acquisto
Staff Writer

ARUNDEL — Whether residents should vote on changes to a portion of the Land Use Ordinance affecting the Arundel Seasonal Cottages TIF at the polls or in a special town meeting was discussed by the board of selectmen, but not voted upon.

Changes would allow the TIF district to operate for eight months out of the year, as opposed to the previously approved six.

“The original ordinance limited the stay from May 1 to Oct. 1,” said Town Planner Tad Redway. Joe Paolini and his team wish to extend it to December because “it’s a popular time to stay and would increase marketability,” Redway said.

“It would be my recommendation to have a special town meeting,” said Town Manager Todd Shea, who acknowledged that many people who visit the polls may be uninformed. “I think it’s worth having that conversation in a public hearing.”

Residents approved the TIF district earlier this summer that would allow more than 250 seasonal cottages to be built in a 159-acre parcel between Route 1 and Mountain Road in Arundel by Paolini, a Massachusetts-based developer.

The size of the units will range from 850 square feet to 1,350 square feet, and will be valued up to $220,000, according to the town’s development program.

The TIF district, which at the time of its initial proposal was the first in Arundel, is expected to bring more than 20 full-time year-round jobs to the town, in addition to a couple hundred seasonal employees.

It is estimated that the town will collect approximately $10 million during the life of the 25-year TIF.

Shea told residents during a special town meeting in June that the creation of a TIF district is “one of the only mechanisms that a municipality has to give some incentive to the developer to bring development to the town.”

Said Shea, “The parcel of land is valued at approximately $712,000 for the portion of the property that is being proposed for TIF development. For a full build out in the future, there’s a potential for a $58 million value.”

During the past two years, town committees and boards have been actively reconfiguring the town’s comprehensive plan as a means to an end to make Arundel more attractive for outside businesses. This effort was typified last year when the town contracted The Chesapeake Group to conduct a market and branding study. Efforts to continue refining Land Use Ordinance amendments and the TIF district signify the town’s continued push to market itself.

The voting to make changes to the Land Use Ordiance to extend the stay of seasonal residents at Arundel Seasonal Cottages will likely take place before the end of the year.

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