AVON, Ohio — Mayor Bryan Jensen wants to slow residential growth in the city. He hopes a 0.15% increase in income tax in the May 3 primary will help him achieve that goal, providing funds that will allow the city to buy land for parks. .
“The reason for that is (on the May 3 ballot) because people don’t want to see more residential properties develop,” Jensen told city council.
He said asking voters for their support makes it “as simple as possible for residents to understand that we have no intentions other than trying to control residential development – not commercial development.”
He notes that some people think that business development is “the thing that generates the most money that can help the general fund etc., which is why we want people to realize (this voting question) is just for control residential development.”
Jensen said there are nearly 300 acres of land in the city “that could be available for purchase within the next two years. Some (land) owners have approached us.
“Buying some properties now (for parks) means we don’t have to hope for some plots to be available down the line,” he said.
He noted that the tax would only be used for the purchase of land, not for construction costs.
The city could have “imposed a bigger tax to consider buying more and more land,” Jensen said, “but this proposal is reasonable and, again, it’s residential development that people want we stopped”.
“Residents come before us at the Planning Commission asking how we can deter or stop residential development. They never ask to stop business development; it’s always residential that people are concerned about,” he said.
General Counsel John Gasior said: “Residential land is where the need for parks is, because that’s where people live and that’s where they want to enjoy parks. They don’t want to have to drive into the industrial or commercial sections of town to enjoy the park – the residential land for the parks is where people are likely to enjoy it.
When a question arose about the city occasionally buying land, down the line, changing its use, perhaps for something like a new fire station, Economic Development Director Pam Fechter told the council: “In our code, under permitted uses, a public security installation is permitted under residential.
“There are many uses that would be permitted in a parcel zoned residential, such as a utility substation, school, public library, etc.,” she said.
“When you’re talking about a special use permit, yes, every time you change parks you have to come and modify it, but there are a lot of uses allowed in our already zoned residential land, so that helps a little too, without having to put too many restrictions on it, because the kinds of things we would use it for are already permitted uses.
Jensen said that, if approved, the city’s income tax would increase from 1.75% to 1.90% from January 1, 2023 to December 31, 2032. He would also change the tax credit given to residents on income tax paid to other municipalities for fixed at 1.60% for the same period.
With a nod to seniors, Jensen said: ‘For retired seniors, there will be no cost to you and there will be a slight reduction in your property taxes.
“This is the first time an older person will be able to vote for a levy that won’t cost them more money and save them the small levy if they own a house,” he said.
The mayor said he received overwhelming support for the tax hike, with people calling him to say they thought it was a good idea and were willing to pay the small amount of money. money it would take to try to keep residential development under control.
Ultimately, Jensen said, “if residents vote against raising income taxes and say they don’t want to pay for it, that’s going to be a clear message that they want to see more residential development. Buying (land) now could make it clear that the land will be preserved for the park.
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