In its first meeting since May 2016, Syracuse Redevelopment Commission Wednesday, Feb. 22, took action to help pare down the red tape for businesses looking to occupy the technology park north of town.
The commission adopted supplemental covenants and restrictions ceding ownership of the real estate to the commission.
The commission also approved development standards “which may become a requirement for future land owners,” including granting jurisdiction for “oversight, enforcement, review and revision” of the restrictive covenants to the commission.
In addition, Syracuse Town Manager Henry DeJulia was authorized to pen a letter allowing the Elkhart County commissioners to negotiate tax abatements with prospective occupants of the park.
All votes were unanimous.
Syracuse North Business Park, actually located in Elkhart County, offers existing infrastructure and scenic surroundings on 14 subdivided lots ranging from 1.26 to 7.43 acres.
The town is seeking to annex the 52-acre parcel, a “trailblazing” move, according to Larry Siegel, commission president, as the property is neither contiguous to the town nor located in Kosciusko County.
The annexation will occur pursuant to an interlocal agreement currently in the works with Elkhart County.
“I’m not aware of another situation like this in the state,” said Siegel. “There isn’t a model for moving forward, because we’re making the model.”
He credited the optimistic prospects of the park to “a really good working relationship with Elkhart County.”
Currently, four entities are involved in administrating the park’s interest: Syracuse town council, Elkhart County and Syracuse redevelopment commissions and the Elkhart County commissioners.
The division of labor under the interlocal agreement would allow businesses to deal with just one political entity, the town of Syracuse, thus accelerating the process.
“We’ve had a lot of lookers and a steady flow of people interested” in purchasing lots at the technology park, said Siegel.
“Businesses want to move and they want to do it now,” he explained. “This will streamline the process.”
After a majority of the technology park’s lots are sold, the existing businesses will create a property owners association to administer the park’s common areas.
In other business:
• Clerk-Treasurer Paula Kehr-Wicker swore in the board’s five members: DeJulia, Ernie Rogers, Siegel, Paul Stoelting and Dan Van Lue.
• The board elected officers, with Siegel as president, Stoelting as vice president, Rogers as secretary, Van Lue as treasurer and DeJulia as administrator.
• Stoelting reported on a meeting the previous week with WNIT, a public television station based in South Bend. The station offered to produce a one-hour film highlighting the unique features and attractions of Syracuse. Film costs were estimated at $15,000 to $20,000. After production, the film would be given to the town for promotional use as it saw fit.
• The commission moved to allocate $1,000 toward the costs of the WNIT film. The money would come from revenue from the Syracuse and Oakwood TIF districts.
The commission did not schedule its next meeting.