By Dedra Cordle
The village of Urbancrest council has turned down a development company’s request for a tax abatement.
At its meeting on June 8, council denied a 10-year, 50 percent enterprise zone tax abatement application from the Dublin-based T&J Properties with a 5-1 vote.
According to representatives with the company, they sought to build a 100,000 square-foot industrial complex on Urbancrest Industrial Court that could have netted the village approximately $280,000 in property and payroll taxes and brought approximately 40 full-time and part-time jobs to the area.
The members of the council said they rejected the application for a variety of reasons.
Councilwoman Nikky Ziglar-Zimmerman said she voted against their request because she did not feel the abatement would be a net gain for the community despite the financial figures listed in an economic impact study conducted by county officials.
“We have other projects coming in that are not paying an abatement,” she said. “Why are we going to entertain it when we don’t need it?”
She added that if the council had approved the application as is, the village could have actually seen a reduction in those property tax collections as they would have to split the revenue gained evenly with the South-Western City Schools District.
“It just didn’t make a lot of sense for me to vote for this,” Ziglar-Zimmerman said after the meeting. “It’s an attractive property – they even kept saying it was an attractive property – so why are we going to settle for an abatement?”
Councilman Steven Larkins explained his rationale for voting against the proposal as fear of occupancy, or the lack thereof.
“I think they have put the cart before the horse,” he said.
During the discussion for the application request, R.J. Sabatino, the development administrator for T&J Properties, said there is interest in the single or multi-tenant industrial building but no commitments thus far.
“That concerns me greatly,” said Larkins after the meeting. “I drive past these big, empty warehouses all of the time and I do not want to see that in or around Urbancrest.”
Josh Roth, a senior program coordinator at the county economic development and planning department, said those concerns are valid but feels the size of this proposed warehouse would likely meet capacity.
“It’s much easier to fill a space that is 100,000 square-feet than something that is seven times larger,” he said.
Larkins said though he is not strictly opposed to industrial development, he would like to know who any potential tenants are before making a decision of this magnitude.
“It’s going to impact our community for generations to come,” he said.
After the tax abatement application was voted down, Sabatino said he was disappointed but appreciated the council’s time and consideration.
“Hopefully, the project happens (in the future),” he said.