Hancock County Council denies tax abatement for RISE

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RISE president Jim Sapp delivers a presentation to the Hancock County Council in search of a tax abatement.

Photo by: Kristy Deer

HANCOCK COUNTY – RISE Commercial District was denied a tax abatement by the Hancock County Council at the council’s Wednesday morning meeting.

RISE, which has been looking to set up a location in Hancock county for three years according to RISE president Jim Sapp, describes itself as a “soft barrier” between residential and industrial areas.

The company provides warehouse and office space for local businesses, most of which are independent contractors. The facility would consist of 20 buildings on 135,000 square feet of property which could be built over three years. The company currently has four locations in the Indianapolis area, including one which recently opened in Avon with a similar abatement, and 14 in the midwest.

Up to 450 employees of outside businesses would be based out of the RISE facility, which would be fenced and gated 320 feet back from the road, with most of the traffic coming in and out being delivery vehicles such as FedEx trucks.

“It will employ people in your county,” Sapp said.

A primary concern of the council was the location of the property at 3083 N 800W outside of Greenfield and the traffic warehouses would create. Sapp attempted to dismiss traffic concerns, saying his business would only add around 125 vehicles’ worth of traffic to the area, but Councilmember Kent Fisk pushed back, refusing to let the abatement go through at that location, citing concerns about large trucks that roads in the area would not be able to handle effectively.

“We just have better location areas that won’t affect dozens of homeowners, and hopefully they can search out some of those better areas.”

The location issues also went beyond traffic for Fisk, as he mentioned that if the location was closer to the center of the county it would bring more business into Hancock, as according to RISE, most people who work at their facilities live within 10-18 minutes of them.

Sapp tried to push past Kent’s concerns, saying that Rise would pull subcontractors out of residential areas and into their facilities, but he was unable to convince the council. While Kent was by far the most vocal opponent of the abatement on the council, he clearly was not the only member opposed to it as the proposal failed to even reach a vote without a second.

“I’m disappointed that their problems became ours,” Sapp said.

Fisk emphasized that his primary concerns were with the location rather than the business itself, and he indicated that he would be willing to reconsider the issue of an abatement if RISE found a new location.

“I like the business model, I just don’t like the location.”

While RISE’s attempt for an abatement failed, the property is already bought and properly zoned, so the company could still move forward, albeit without the tax benefits they were seeking. Sapp went on to say that without the abatement, the project would be placed on hold and RISE would make a decision on whether or not to continue with the property within the next month.

 The Hancock County Council hears a proposal for a tax abatement for RISE Commercial District. Kristy Deer