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Topsham to discuss 2 TIF proposals

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Topsham to discuss 2 TIF proposals

TOPSHAM — The town will hold a public meeting Thursday, July 25, to discuss two potential tax increment financing districts.

The TIFs could be voted on at a special Town Meeting in September.

An affordable senior housing TIF would be created for River Landing, a proposed three-floor apartment building on the Elm Street site of Amenity Manor, a former nursing home that is now vacant and would be demolished. The facility would contain between 32 and 36 units.

Seacoast Management Co., which is affiliated with the Highlands and Highland Green senior housing operations, presented a sketch plan to the Planning Board last month. The company said the TIF would allow it to keep the units affordable.

Seacoast needs subdivision and site plan approval from the town, and also must go before the Historic District Commission, since Amenity Manor adjoins a circa-1900 house that would also be demolished.

The other TIF, to be anchored by Main Street, would be the second in Topsham designated as municipal (the first is at Topsham Fair Mall).

The district would stretch along Main Street from the Frank J. Woods Bridge to near the Interstate 295 overpass, with some parcels northeast of Route 196. It would include the Lower Village, Middle Village, Village Center, Limited Industrial, Business Park 2 and Residential 4 zones.

John Shattuck, Topsham's economic and community development director, said previously that the municipal TIF discussion was triggered by the potential of a Lower Village waterfront park and connected traffic improvements, conveyance of the Topsham Commerce Park (formerly the U.S. Navy Annex) to the Midcoast Regional Redevelopment Authority, and continuing budget challenges.

Shattuck said the district "would be structured to enable the town to both capture new incremental value in areas that are likely to be developed in the future, and to fund infrastructure improvements and community development projects that are either within the district or would support projects within the district. Additionally, the TIF plan would be designed to support economic development within the district."

The potential benefits of the two TIFs will be discussed at the meeting, along with possible projects that TIF revenues could fund, and considerations concerning the establishment of TIF boundaries.

The meeting will be held at the Municipal Building from 6-8 p.m.

Alex Lear can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 113 or alear@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @learics.