By Mary Owen
Sublimity city officials voted Feb. 8 to waive all system development charges for the rest of the year.
At an earlier council meeting, Sublimity City Councilor Gary Rychard introduced the idea as a means of drawing interest from business owners, both retail and commercial, to locate in Sublimity.
Rychard proposed the Sublmity City Council suspend the charges the city assesses on new development – except on residential and industrial – until Dec. 31, 2010.
“The reason for requesting the waiver is due to the current economy,” said Rychard, who views the move as a short term investment that could pay off in the long run.
In tough economic times, the city needs to think outside the box, Rychard told city council members at their last meeting. They agreed and voted unanimously for the moratorium.
“We are not able to offer large tax breaks because of the impacts that would have on the rest of the city,” said Mayor Gene Ditter, who felt the waiver was well received by council members.
Ditter said the city council has identified the need for more businesses in the city limits.
“So there was a discussion on what we could do or change to have more businesses look at moving to or starting a business in Sublimity,” Ditter said.
Sublimity is primarily a bedroom community for many of its more than 2,250 residents.
The city’s two largest employers – Marian Estates Retirement Center with more than 325 employees and Cascade Auto Group with about 40 employees – can’t provide enough jobs to keep the majority of workers from seeking work in nearby Stayton or Salem.
If the waiver draws interest from would-be business owners, two areas of the city have room for expansion, said city officials.
The main downtown area along Center and Starr streets already has a smattering of shops, business and restaurants that draw local and other area residents, but has room for “maybe a restaurant or some other type of business,” Rychard said. There is also room to expand is along Sublimity Boulevard near Interstate 5, he added.
“So far we have only had a couple of calls asking about the waiver, but to date nobody has taken any action,” Ditter said.