A first of its kind application for local tax breaks for a massive residential rental complex in Hawleyville referred to as the “Covered Bridge” development became the first under the Newtown Business Incentive Plan to be rejected July 27 when the Board of Finance voted 4-1 against it. Following substantial deliberations and discussion, the majority of finance officials opted against the application after the Board of Selectmen sent it forward with unanimous support.
Town Planning Director George Benson said that while the Economic Development Commission, which is charged with vetting and forwarding incentive plan applications through the mandated three-step approval process, could continue its effort to gain Legislative Council approval, he would advise against it.
“My understanding is the finance board has already suggested the EDC consider bringing back a proposal with a lesser benefit for consideration,” Mr Benson said, “so it will be up to the EDC to decide if they want to try and bring it to the council, or come back with a different proposal, or not. I would advise against taking this to the council after it was [rejected] by finance.”
Finance members Aaron Carlson, Kelley Johnson, Mark Boland, and Vice Chair James Gaston all voted against the proposal; Sandy Roussas was absent for the vote. Finance board Chairman John Godin, who was the sole yes vote in favor of the current EDC incentive proposal, said he could have gone either way.
But Mr Godin told The Newtown Bee following the meeting that he considered the selectmen’s unanimous approval of the proposal, and saw merit in treating the residential complex as a potential economic generator…
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