The Fremont City Council voted 6-2 to approve the development and annexation of an adult apartment complex after several hours of discussion during its meeting Tuesday night.
After approving a resolution as the Community Development Agency, the council approved a resolution to go forward with Anew Development’s Fountain Springs 55+ Apartment Redevelopment Project and to annex its area near 29th Street and Yager Road.
“I know you’re going to be proud of it,” Robert Fields of Anew Development told the council after their vote. “Our commitment to the city is strong, and I appreciate that being reciprocated this evening.”
The apartments will provide 216 apartment units in a nine-building complex for people ages 55 and over. The project site is currently on unused land north of town.
Fields, who will be contractor and manager for the project, said the new complex will bring new families into Fremont, as the elderly will be moving out of their old houses.
“They’ll be attending the schools, attending the churches and shopping in the city,” he said. “Well, at the same time, we’ve been able to keep the senior demographic here. That’s very important.”
Councilmember Mark Jensen said he struggled on his position more than any other issue since he was elected to the council last November. He said he originally voted against the project, but said that’s changed with its revisions.
“I won’t apologize for the vote, I’m glad I did,” Jensen said. “I think we’ve got a better product right in front of us today because I voted that way.”
Councilmember Linda McClain said the project will bring housing that Fremont needs and that she supported the project, which she said involves both the city and developers taking a big risk, but a necessary one.
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“This may be our best shot at really putting something of some real value on this property that, down the road, could generate some really sizable tax revenue for the city,” she said. “So are we willing to wait?”
The resolutions’ opponents, councilmembers Brad Yerger and Glen Ellis, mainly had issues with the development’s use of more than $3.9 million in tax increment financing to fund the project.
“I very much appreciate your layout and what you’re proposing in regards to the development,” Yerger said. “I just wish it wasn’t tied to residential TIF.”
Yerger and Ellis also had concerns about putting a strain on the school system with families buying houses from people moving to the new complex.
“We could have 100 students coming into this city with no additional tax revenue,” Ellis said. “Because the individuals are opening their home, that revenue’s still going to be paid, but no additional tax revenue from them moving into the apartment.”
Councilperson Matt Bechtel said although he agreed that TIF can be abused in different ways, he didn’t see the project as “TIF problem child,” and believed it would help the 15,256 people over the age of 55 in the county.
“This is a need in the community,” he said. “We’ve got land that is blighted, it’s crappy land. ... All Bob’s trying to do is lower his cost to get these investors in for a project that is needed in the community. For me, that makes a lot of sense.”
The council also unanimously promoted Zachary Klein and Brian Monaghan to fire lieutenant and appointed James Bazer and Zachary Tool as firefighter/EMTs and Tom Anderson to a term on the Library Board.