Lot 15 Committee
July 28, 2011
Present: Mike Buscher, Carrie Harlow, Joe Iadanza, John Kiedaisch
Also in attendance: John Roos
Update: Hannaford has resubmitted information to the DRB. Depending on how quickly things are done, may be on DRB agenda for 9/6 or 9/20.
Went over previous meeting minutes: updates, corrections, tasks for follow up made. Follow up tasks include:
• Follow up with Rocky regarding information needed on June 2 minutes.
John K reported on presenting Interim Report to Select Board: the report is now posted online.
The Select Board wants the committee to describe the Education Tax implications if Lot 15 is owned by the Town in the final report.Because all non-residential commercial education tax is sent to the State and then shared among the entire state, implications/benefits to Hinesburg itself will be diluted.
• John R contacted the State Department of Taxes and learned that based on the previous assumptions (large retail store assessed at $3,000,000 built on Lot 15, generating $56,049 in property tax,) the education tax implications for Hinesburg residents would potentially mean a net decrease of two cents per $100,000 assessed value.
The Select Board requested the final report include sequence of steps for Select Board to take should DRB deny based on Official Map
The Select Board questioned only using town assessed value of property as the purchase price. Joe suggested that the Select Board could use the formula and compute a value for various project scenarios – i.e., if we use a value 5 times the amount of assessment, or half the size of assessment, what would that project costs to taxpayers to be?Discussion ensued regarding should the committee re-check assessed values (and more recent sales) of National Bank of Middlebury, Dark Star empty lot and Giroux’s lots bordering on 116 as well as the Hinesburg Animal Hospital?Or is this more projections that may or may not prove to be relevant to an appraised value? It was decided the committee would ask the Select Board if they would fund having an appraisal done.The committee would handle the bidding process, review the results and make a recommendation.Estimated cost of an appraisal could cost between $3000 and $5000 and take up to three months to complete.John K will make this request to Select Board at their next meeting.
John R has done some research comparing Williston to Hinesburg in terms of municipal taxes: taxes are lower in Williston, due to a number of factors, which include:
• Less local road expenditures in Williston – many less miles of gravel roads and steeply inclined gravel roads
• More industry in Williston
• Higher police costs in Hinesburg
• Higher assessed property values in Williston
John R suspects that retail commercial properties probably have more “pull” on town expenditures than other commercial property (for instance, office space) and he is checking on this with the Williston Town Clerk’s Office. John K asked John R to send information to the committee in writing regarding the research he’s done.
Discussion involving how to use information that John R presents to the Lot 15 Committee. The Select Board has asked John R to present his findings to this committee and that the committee then share this information with the Select Board.
Recommendations for steps for the Select Board to take should the DRB deny the Hannaford request based on the Official Map:
• All agreed the first step would be the appraisal on the property.
• Mike B suggested John K look at developing the step-by-step list of what may need to be done by the Select Board.
• It will be difficult to assign timelines, how much time it takes for certain steps, such as appraisal to take place.The Select Board said they will be OK with not having a time line - the sequence is the most important aspect.
• If individuals had indicated an interest in donating to such a project, this may be the time to have people commit with pledges, donations, etc.
Carrie reported about organizations who have been contacted about funding:
• Many of the organizations contacted thus far have a preference of the town either owning the land already or having a purchase and sales agreement in the works.
• Organizations expressed interest in funding projects that have demonstrated public support (town engagement, public vote), rather than projects still being considered and/or debated.
• John R suggested the list gets separated in terms of types of funding: appraisal, acquisition, planning
• There are organizations still to be contacted.
• John K suggested contact with Hinesburg Land Trust as well as the Center for Rural Studies at UVM.
Discussed how specific and developed does information, planning and proposed uses for the property need to be as part of the Lot 15 Committee work. Should the town wish to utilize for community space?Mike presented conceptual plans for various uses, noting size of areas required for buildings, parking and drives, developed open space and apparent wetland.
• One of the proposals involves smaller-scale commercial use combined with community use.The committee was concerned that such use may bring up legal issues with the town denying one commercial entity and approving another.It was decided not to include commercial uses as appropriate even when combined with public uses.
Next Lot 15 meeting scheduled for Thursday, August 18 at 7 pm