3. Tax abatements and downtown development:Food for thought when you NOW read how the mayor is now on board with the Democrats amendment that would not allow BRT to do what they're doing now with the apartments on Crosby (a.k.a. turning them basically into a college dormitory).
The current housing controversy in Danbury concerns the granting of tax deferrals to a major developer for the development of two large developments in downtown Danbury. Specifically, the City of Danbury approved, on the urging of Mayor Boughton, the granting of a seven-year tax abatement for the construction of a 115 unit apartment building on Crosby Street and the development of over 500 condominiums on Kennedy Avenue.
Mayor Boughton stated that he wanted to spur market rate housing in downtown Danbury and claimed the tax give away would be necessary because otherwise no developer would commit to the down town.
This claim and the project were both absurd and damaging to the future of Danbury.
First, tax abatements were not necessary and claiming they were is nothing short of insulting the intelligence of Danbury residents.
Unnecessary: There are many projects in downtown Danbury overseen by responsible developers committed to Danbury that didn't receive such breaks. For example: new three bedroom condominiums are being built on the corner of Division Street and Park Avenue. For example: several years ago the Nolan family developed the Harrison Square apartment project on Main Street. For example, the Nolan family has rehabilitated several multi-family houses on Terrace Place in downtown Danbury. None of these developers received a windfall in the form of a tax abatement; yet they committed their time, energy, vision and money to creating real housing opportunities in downtown Danbury.
Damaging: the tax abatements will cost the City of Danbury millions of dollars in lost taxes and lost sewer and water charges. Moreover, the developer has decided to market the rental building on Crosby Street to college students as an alternative to dorm living. I hold two degrees from Western Connecticut State University. I truly believe the college adds a lot to the City of Danbury and I have no problem with the concept of college students living in downtown Danbury. I do, however, recall that the reason the mayor and the developer gave for the granting of the tax abatement was to spur economic development through the creation of market rate housing in the downtown area. Even if you agree with this argument, it is hard to envision exactly how much economic activity will be generated by college students!
The 500-unit complex on Kennedy Avenue hasn't even begun yet. Once its open, however, this will generate traffic on an already congested downtown. Moreover, this will generate burdens on the Danbury Schools and the Police and Fire Departments. Yet while this project will create these burdens to the owners will not be contributing to the costs because of the tax abatement. Instead, the rest of the property owners in Danbury will have to carry these costs for seven years!
Boughton/BRT tax giveaway madness: Danbury DTC chairman Joe DaSilva on why Boughton's tax giveaway is bad for the city
Time: 1:49 PM
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