Avon Town Council appoints Downtown Development Authority board of 11
Board members will be in charge of selecting new development projects within the boundary area
The inaugural board for Avon’s newly created Downtown Development Authority entity was elected by the Town Council at its regular meeting Tuesday, Sept. 26.
The Downtown Development Authority was approved by voters in a special election Aug. 29, 2023. The 285-acre area will employ Tax Increment Financing to capture the increment of any increase in property tax revenue beyond current taxation amounts on the land in its established scope. The increased capture will be employed for development within the designated area, in particular for community housing and other public infrastructure.
The board was designed to consist of a floating number of board members, between five and 11, appointed by the council. Due to the overwhelming interest — 12 candidates applied to join the board — the board will be completely full for the first year of the Downtown Development Authority’s existence.
The new board features a mix of residents and business representatives within the Downtown Development Authority boundary area. The board members’ backgrounds speak to a range of work experience, primarily real estate, finance, and architecture. Representatives from multiple businesses with large footprints in Avon — including Traer Creek LLC, Slifer Smith & Frampton, and Hoffman West Real Estate — applied and were selected to sit on the board.
While they come from different career backgrounds, many board members cited similar interests in the future of Avon. During the interview process, candidates were asked about what they like most about Avon, and what improvements they consider most important for Avon over the next 5-10 years.
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Many cited Avon’s walkability and easily accessible public transportation, as well as the multitude of public events in Harry A. Nottingham Park, as their favorite parts of the town.
Housing — in particular, affordable workforce housing — recreation, and parking were suggested by most candidates as high priorities for seeing change in the coming decade.
“Over the next 5-10 years, to me, the biggest opportunity is to create a vibrant opportunity between Traer Creek and Chapel Square. Not only workforce housing, but step-up housing, and also senior housing,” said Brandt Marott, a Wildridge resident and lessee within the Downtown Development Authority area. Citing Miller Ranch as an example of housing success, Marott prioritized preventing stagnation in deed-restricted housing.
“Obviously, we need to address parking, and we need a good master plan for a range of housing options from season workers, entry-level, and family-level homes. Those are going to have to be deed-restricted to some degree,” said Chris Neuswanger, whose business space is in Avon.
“I’d like to see better sidewalks. I’d like to see more greenery, more trees. We live in a beautiful place. I’d rather see green than cement. I’d like to see more bike racks around town,” said Wayne Hanson. Hanson also advocated for more child care facilities around Avon.
Several candidates also stated supporting current local businesses through the inevitable changes development will bring as a priority.
“I want to continue to be a link between the citizens of Avon and the businesses, business owners as well. What do I think Avon needs? Definitely housing, of course. That is always going to be a problem. If we continue to thrive as business owners and we continue to bring more business opportunities, we’re going to need more housing,” said Doug Jimenez, a Wildridge resident and the representative for Hoffmann West Real Estate.
Neuswanger also spoke about the importance of protecting the continued existence of small businesses.
“I think we need to be very conscientious, as this thing moves along, if, for example, a block or a building is slated to be redeveloped, before we do that, we need to maybe build something new, so those businesses have somewhere to go, and don’t just disappear,” Neuswanger said.
Candidates also spoke about the necessity of looking at the project in the long-term — the Downtown Development Authority was approved to last for 30 years, with the potential to extend for two additional ten-year periods.
“Understanding forecasted revenues and where things are headed is obviously paramount, and trying to figure out what the priority of investments are going to be,” said Marcus Lindholm, the representative for Traer Creek LLC.
“The vision has been created working backwards — because that piece of undeveloped land has been undeveloped for so many years, (the priority) is to ensure that it’s a ready, aim, fire approach versus just doing it for the sake of doing it, so to really embrace the undeveloped land, make sure we’re thinking through, and with a committee of 10 plus one, I’m sure it’s going to be out of this world,” Marott said.
All board members seemed to approach the Downtown Development Authority with the understanding that the project is collaborative, and those with less of a vision for the town were inclined to listen to others.
“To be candid, I don’t know what the best move is for this idea, this board, this development authority, but we want to be a part of it, and we want to be able to chime in when we think we can add value, so we’re here to listen and help where we can,” said Scott Tarbet, representing Gibson Avenue Capital, an investment company that owns the Seasons at Avon.
Rich Carroll was the Town Council member voted in by his peers to sit on the Downtown Development Authority board, after a slight contest. In his speech, Carroll spoke about how his continued service to the town, including sitting on the Finance Committee, and Development Committee, will enable him to provide the best input on Downtown Development Authority decisions.
The new board
Candidates were sworn in during Tuesday’s Town Council meeting, and the positions are effective immediately.
The newly-elected members of the Downtown Development Authority board will serve for a range of term lengths, which were randomly selected by drawing the selected board members’ names out of a hat. Listed below are the new Downtown Development Authority board members, listed by appointed term length.
- Town Council seat (ending Jan. 2025): Rich Carroll
- 4 years (ending June 30, 2027): Wayne Hanson, Matt Fitzgerald, Brandt Marott, Chris Neuswanger
- 3 years (ending June 30, 2026): Bill Glaner, Scott Tarbet
- 2 years (ending June 30, 2025): Doug Jimenez, Tony Emrick
- 1 year (ending June 30, 2024): Marcus Lindholm, Rob Tartre
The first meeting of the Downtown Development Authority board will take place on Monday, Oct. 2 at 5 p.m. in the Avon Town Hall.