WHAT: Patterson City Council Special Meeting
WHEN: 7 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 14
WHERE: City Hall, 1 Plaza
DETAILS: Mayor Luis Molina and council members Deborah Novelli, Annette Smith, Larry Buehner and Dominic Farinha all were present.
The City Council voted unanimously to approve the first reading of a development agreement Tuesday, Aug. 14, as the developers of a 1,119-acre expansion to West Patterson Business Park agreed to higher tax rates.
The 948-acre Arambel park would provide space for light industrial businesses, similar to the CVS and Kohl’s distribution centers already in West Patterson Business Park. The 104-acre KDN center would include retail stores.
Together, they would expand the West Patterson Business Park and the city’s physical boundaries in four phases during 20 years or more. Most of the land is now farmland.
A final vote is scheduled for the regular City Council meeting Tuesday, Aug. 21.
Representatives of Patterson’s existing business park and the two proposed business parks addressed the council Tuesday on the subject of per-acre tax rates.
The city requires payment of $3,266 for an acre of developed land in the existing portion of the West Patterson Business Park, to pay for road improvements and sewer and water line upgrades.
In the agreement drafted by city staff members and project representatives, developed land in the new parks would have been taxed at $3,000 per acre.
Keith Schneider of Keystone Pacific Business Park argued to the council that the lower rate would create an advantage for the new business parks. Keystone Pacific still has parcels to develop in its portion of the West Patterson Business Park and would be at a disadvantage, Schneider said, because that land would be taxed at a higher rate.
“We question the fairness,” Schneider said. “If it hadn’t been for (Keystone), there would be no expansion. We expect to compete, but on a level playing field.”
Joe Hollowell, who represents Arambel Business Park, said developers were asking for a break on taxes to make up for differences in infrastructure costs.
Sperry Avenue and Baldwin Road were both improved by the city at no cost to Keystone when the first phase of the West Patterson Business Park was begun, he said. By contrast, he said, Arambel and KDN would pay for most of the road improvements required by their development.
Hollowell also said project developers had already conceded $10 million, noting that they originally proposed a tax rate of $2,510 an acre.
Schneider, although saying he didn’t want to get into a debate with Hollowell, quoted the late Sen. Everett Dirksen of Indiana.
“A million here and a million there, we’re starting to talk about real money here,” he said.
Councilman Dominic Farinha said he thought that the new business parks would be the most successful projects the city had seen but added that the council needed to do the right thing.
When Councilwoman Annette Smith pressed Farinha to be more specific, he said, “The costs have to be on a level playing field.
Landowner and developer Jeff Arambel then told the council that the developers of both projects would accept the higher tax rate of $3,266 per acre.
A developer agreement sets forth all the rules for a development, including how construction will proceed and obligations of the city and requirements of the landowners before building can begin.
• Nick Rappley can be reached at 892-6187, ext. 31, or email@example.com .