Franklin council approves ordinance granting tax abatements

| 21 Feb 2012 | 10:47

    FRANKLIN-With the development of the Zinctown property off Main Street a virtual certainty, the Borough Council last week unanimously approved an ordinance granting tax abatements to commercial and industrial properties. The ordinance applies to property on either side of Main Street south of Hudson Street. A previous tax abatement ordinance had granted similar privileges along the Route 23 corridor for businesses such as Wal-Mart and Blockbuster Video. The new ordinance no longer includes the highway. The ordinance is intended to help the planned revitalization of Main Street. Abatements will be granted for improvements made on business or commercial properties if those improvements increase the value of the property. No abatements will be given to existing properties, explained Councilman Dayne Hill. "We want to attract businesses into the Main Street area," Hill said. "The purpose is to give commercial and industrial entities an enticement to come into Franklin." The new ordinance applies over a five-year period, borough officials say, with a sliding percentage scale steadily increasing during that time. The planning board has been working to revise the borough zoning ordinances so they will be in accord with a new master plan. The plan hopes to encourage commercial development of property off of Main Street once owned by the defunct New Jersey Zinc Co. The changes will also permit commercial development on the upper portion of the property that also borders Sterling Street. In other business, new borough administrator Richard Wolak announced that borough employees will soon be wearing photo identification cards in order to eliminate any possible public confusion or concern, especially in the event that a borough employee is required to visit the property of a homeowner. "They're going to be actual employee ID cards," explained Wolak, who also said he is working with the borough police on the project. "I think it protects the public so that they can properly identify (someone). It's more of a safety-conscious issue. Hopefully, by Sept. 1 they will all be done."