Town mulls tax breaks for buildings


McCORDSVILLE — Town officials finished annexing land onto McCordsville’s south side for a project proposing three large buildings and are now considering tax breaks for the developments.

Indianapolis-based Strategic Capital Partners is pursuing the project on about 160 acres at the northwest corner of Mt. Comfort Road and CR 500N. Plans filed with the town propose one building over 1 million square feet and two nearly 600,000 square feet. No occupants have yet been identified.

The eastern half of the site is already in McCordsville town limits. Town council members voted unanimously earlier this month in favor of an ordinance on final reading annexing the western half.

They then voted 4-1 to approve an ordinance on final reading rezoning most of the site to a medium-intensity industrial designation and a small amount in its southeastern corner to a commercial designation. Council members Chad Gooding, Larry Longman, Tom Strayer and Branden Williams voted in favor and Greg Brewer voted against.

That same vote tally followed for the council’s approval on the first of two readings on a resolution regarding tax abatements for the buildings. The abatements would result in less taxes on the properties by deducting the assessed values of the real property improvements over the course of 10 years. Deductions would be 75% in years one through three, 50% in years four through six, 40% in year seven, 35% in year eight, 30% in year nine and 15% in year 10.

The resolution states construction must start on each building by certain dates and complete within a year of those start dates. The first building must start construction by July 1, 2024, the second by July 1, 2027 and the third by July 1, 2030.

Town officials noted the abatements differ from the traditional schedule of no taxes owed on real property improvements in year one.

“But the council’s been very clear that they wanted to see tax revenue generated the very first year,” McCordsville town manager Tim Gropp said.

Longman confirmed.

“That allows us to pass through for public safety and the things that we’re concerned about that aren’t getting their fair share,” he said.

Longman said he supports the project because it allows town officials to have more influence over it than if the annexation didn’t occur and something else developed in the area under Hancock County jurisdiction. He added he understands those living in the Stansbury neighborhood north of the site oppose the proposal, but thinks the way it’s planned with setbacks and buffers is respectful to the residents. Were the site to develop residential rather than industrial, he continued, houses likely would be built right up to existing homes.

Brewer said he supported the annexation because the only way for municipalities to grow is for adjoining landowners to offer their ground voluntarily. He added that while Stansbury is not in McCordsville, he understands their concerns and couldn’t support the rezone or abatement for the industrial proposal.

“They were listened to and I vote based on when I have more people against something than for, I’m going to lean in that direction,” Brewer said. “I understand that the financial benefit to the town will be very good in the near future but at the same time it can’t always be just about the money.”

Ryan Crum, McCordsville assistant town manager – planning and development, said he received 14 letters and one voicemail in opposition to the project. Several attendees of the town council meeting who live near the site voiced their opposition to the large industrial developments as well. Their concerns included noise, light, unsightliness, traffic, stress on emergency services, stress on infrastructure and a desire to rather see residential developments in the area.

Randy Ifft pointed out that the project would be similar to dozens in western Hancock County south of McCordsville over the past few years.

“When’s that going to stop?” he said. “How crowded is it going to be?”

Brian Tuohy, a lawyer with Indianapolis-based Tuohy Bailey & Moore representing Strategic Capital Partners, noted the 26 commitments the developer agrees to for the project, some of which address screening and roadway improvements. The buildings will be at least 300 feet from Stansbury and Mt. Comfort Road. Commitments also call for screening measures like mounding, a privacy fence and plantings. CR 500N along the site’s frontage would be reconstructed and widened.