Hearing Monday March 4, 2013 on Takoma Park Enterprise Zone

There will be a public hearing Monday evening, March 4, 7 pm at the community center on re-designation and extension of the Takoma Park/Piney Branch Enterprise Zone (EZ). The EZ was established in 2003 with a 10-year designation that expires soon. I posted maps at takotra.org/LongBranchTakomaParkEZMaps.pdf, and please see the Montgomery Country Press release. Information on the program, which provides property-tax and income-tax credits for businesses, is online as well.

(I apologize that I haven’t posted information to the Ward 1 lists before now. I did post to the city-wide TakomaPark list and to my Facebook page and Twitter account.)

The city council will consider a resolution on the enterprise zone request at the March 11 council meeting. We will consider the March 4 public testimony as well as comments posted to e-mail lists and offered at the March 11 meeting. You may also send your views to the council via the address clerk@takomagov.org.

Some residents are rightly concerned about the addition, proposed by planning staff, of the Washington-McLaughlin property off New Hampshire Avenue, near Conway and Gude Avenues, to the EZ. Part of the parcel is wooded and undeveloped, and the entire parcel is zoned R-60, single-family residential homes.

While the EZ designation would not change the zoning, it has already raised some alarm. It is unlikely that the council will move forward with inclusion of the Washington-McLaughlin property in the enterprise zone.

Also, I’m trying to promote discussion of removal from the EZ of the property at the southeast corner of the University & New Hampshire intersection. It’s owned by Walgreen’s. I’m not keen on offering Walgreen’s property-tax breaks, although if individual small businesses are taking income-tax credit for creating jobs there, I’ll support continuing the EZ there.

Further, I have asked staff about the justification for adding the area east of New Hampshire Avenue and north of Erskine Avenue, which is zoned for residential apartment buildings, to the EZ.

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