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Danbury City Council approves 10-year tax agreement on Matrix site proposal

The Danbury City Council has approved a 10-year tax agreement on a developer's plan to fill the mostly empty former Matrix building.  The plans for Summit at Danbury call for a city within a city featuring apartments, commercial space and potentially a school. 

Summit will agree to drop their appeal of Danbury’s assessment on its 99-acre property in exchange for the agreed levy of $860,000 in annual property taxes.  The developer would also be charged an additional city services fee for 19 years starting at $550,000 annually.  After 10 years, the property will be taxed based on fair market value. 

The approval came on a 17-to-3 vote.  Those opposed to the deal say Danbury would lose taxes if the building value grows as its developed.  Mayor Mark Boughton says it wouldn't be fully developed until later in the agreement so it wouldn't be too detrimental. 

The 1.2 million-square-foot former Union Carbide world headquarters was purchased by the developer in 2018 for $17.8 million. 

The Danbury Zoning Commission has approved the master plan.  Summit is still in the design phase of the planned 404 units so no plans have been submitted to the Planning Commission.  About one-third of the 600,000 square feet of commercial space has been leased.

A measure will be voted on this month by the legislature sending Danbury grant money for the facility.  While the developer would pay a City Services Fee, not designated for the schools, the money is intended to be sent to the Board of Ed.  Councilman Farley Santos, a former Board of Ed member, wanted it in writing so that future City Councils or Mayors couldn't redirect the funding elsewhere.  Corporation Counsel Les Pinter advised against that, noting that if there are fewer children living in the apartments, the developer could argue to pay a lower annual fee.

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Todd Schnitt

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