FORT WAYNE — Fort Wayne will grow by 2.3 acres next month, plus a dentist office in the near future.
The City Council on Tuesday approved annexing land at the northeast corner of Coldwater and Union Chapel roads, which will officially be the city’s northern tip July 27. The council also approved a tax abatement for a proposed $1.7 million dental office to be constructed on the site by dentist David Painter of Auburn.
Some council members criticized the project because they were concerned about granting an abatement to a dentist office. Others were concerned that the developer said he was seeking annexation to get an abatement only after Allen County officials said they wouldn’t support one.
In the end, the council voted 6-2 in support of the annexation and 5-2-1 on the abatement.
Councilmen Tom Smith, R-1st, and Russ Jehl, R-2nd, opposed each bill. Councilman Mitch Harper, R-4th, abstained from the abatement vote, saying it wasn’t proper for the council to approve tax incentives for land not yet formally in the city.
Councilman Tom Didier, R-3rd, pleaded for his fellow members to support the project. He said it was disappointing to see people oppose development, which the city should be encouraging, and added the city is at no risk under the proposal.
“In the long run, if he (the developer) doesn’t produce, the abatement is annulled,” he said.
Councilman John Crawford, R-at large, said it’s important to discuss which developments deserve tax incentives, especially with the new state property tax caps. He said medical offices don’t typically spur economic development because they will be built based on needs, as opposed to a manufacturing or distribution center that could locate anywhere.
Crawford eventually supported the project because it applied for the incentive before the council began discussing changes to its policy.
The project qualified for a special abatement, meaning the dentist office won’t pay 75 percent of its taxes on a $1.3 million building for seven years. The incentive drops to 65 percent, 50 percent, 40 percent and zero percent in subsequent years. A $400,000 equipment investment has a different abatement schedule.
With the abatement, the development will save more than $352,000 in property taxes over the next decade, according to the city’s tax abatement schedule.
The project will generate $157,918 in additional property taxes over that decade, taxes that would not have been paid if the project wasn’t built.