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Councilman grills IDA prez on tax breaks

New policy changes abatement structure, but does not rule out retail

— Councilman Jeffrey Kuhn questioned how having a supermarket at Vista would attract a high-tech business.

Venezia said during IDA discussions with developers, it is important if high quality services are nearby for employee use.

“Was a supermarket the right idea? I don’t know, but we looked at it as, is this the right business to kick this project off?” he said. “We didn’t have many other options. There weren’t many other applicants that were banging on the door to locate here.”

Kuhn asked what kind of information the IDA looks at in making a decision. Venezia said IDA members use their individual backgrounds, look at other projects and hold discussions with developers. Eventually, the decisions are made based on the opinions of IDA members.

“Is it perfect science? Absolutely not,” said Venezia, adding that those with opinions on the matter should attend public hearings so members can hear feedback from the community. Venezia said the IDA is going for a “long-term approach” to development.

Kuhn later asked if additional retail businesses wishing to open within Vista would receive abatements since they are no longer needed as a force to jump start Vista. He said he is concerned because there is resistance to abatements and some already established businesses feel it is unfair.

Venezia said it would depend on what the applicant brings to the table and how compelling their case is.

“We’re hearing those complaints too,” sad Venezia.

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