By Laurie Bassett-Edmonds
RAYMORE – The Raymore City Council approved the first reading Monday evening, in a 7-1 vote, of a request for Chapter 100 Tax Abatements for the Watermark Apartment Community, which will be located on 21 acres east of Dean Avenue and south of the Raymore Galleria.
This 300-unit complex will consist of 1, 2, and 3 bedroom apartments with rental rates expected to range from $1,200-1,700-plus.
The developer, Thompson Thrift Development of Indianapolis, requested Real Estate Property Tax Abatement for a period of 23 years, with a 70 percent abatement for the first 13, 50 percent for years 14-18, and 30 percent for the remaining years. This will total approximately $8 million in tax savings to the developer.
Additionally, the developer will receive a sales tax exemption on construction materials for the project.
Council member Sonja Abdelgawad asked the developer how many of his other projects had received tax incentives. He answered that roughly 5 percent had.
Ray-Pec Superintendent Mike Schlagle was present to voice the school district’s opposition to the funding plan, which will have a direct impact on funding to the schools. He explained that the district will lose the opportunity to collect nearly $5 million in property tax revenues from this development, while it will bring additional students to the district.
School Board member Kim York also addressed council members, explaining that the cumulative effect of these Chapter 100 bonds would either deplete district reserves or require a reduction in teachers and supplies while facing an increase in students.
Mayor Kris Turnbow said that he believes the commercial development that may come as a result of these apartments will outweigh the benefit loss created by the Chapter 100 bonds.
The Council voted 7-1 to approve the tax abatements, with John Berendzen opposing.
Berendzen said that Watermark is an impressive facility, but wondered why Raymore had to provide an incentive when only 5 percent of his other properties have received one.
In other business, the first reading was unanimously approved on the issuance of the General Obligation Series 2021 Bonds, which voters approved a total of $23.5 million in 2020. This will be the second installment, with a principal amount of $9 million. The third portion of $5.5 million will be issued in the first quarter of 2022.
A resolution was unanimously approved updating the Schedule off Fees, following the annual staff review. Included in this is the increase in the Excise Tax Fees and changes to the water and sewer rates.
Second readings were approved on the following: rezoning of Watermark from “C-3” Regional Commercial to “R-3B” Apartment Community District; rezoning of Sendera (located on 135 acres south of Hubach Hill and east of Brook Parkway) from “R-1P” Single-Family Residential Planned District to “PUD” Planned Unit Development; and setting the 2021 Tax Levy. All were approved unanimously with the exception of the Watermark rezoning, which was opposed by Berendzen.