RDA tweaks fee award guidelines

by Emmitt B. Feldner of The Review staff

PLYMOUTH – The Redevelopment Authority is looking at a three-prong test to determine whether an applicant for a reserve liquor license will receive all or part of the $10,000 initial license fee back.

RDA member Jackie Jarvis presented a proposed grant application review to the group at their meeting Thursday.

The process would utilize three criteria – consistency with downtown design guidelines, economic impact and applicant experience – to determine how much of the fee would be awarded back to the applicant.

“I took the things that were important to everybody from the laundry list we discussed last month and tried to group them into categories,” Jarvis explained.

Each of the three criteria would be worth from one to five points. Jarvis’ proposal called for a full award of the $10,000 with no conditions if the applicant scores 15 points, a full refund with conditions to be met if the score is 11 to 15 points, and leaving the refund to the authority’s discretion if the score is under 11.

“I like the idea of criteria, but flexibility is a good thing,” City Administrator Brian Yerges observed. “I like the idea of giving the (RDA) complete flexibility. Every project is very different. They’re not apples and apples, they’re apples and oranges.”

Jarvis said she envisioned an applicant’s plans being reviewed by the RDA’s Downtown Design Standards and Guidelines subcommittee to determine to what degree they meet the first criteria, with the other criteria to be judged based on material provided by the applicant.

“The concept was that by the $10,000 going back to downtown businesses, it encourages investment and activity in existing buildings downtown,” Yerges noted.

He noted that practices in other communities across the state range from returning the entire $10,000 fee for the reserve license to returning none of it.

Whatever funds the RDA does not return to a license applicant would be retained by the RDA for its use.

Jarvis pointed out that the reserve license fee refund procedure set up by the City Council includes a provision that there would be no refund for a license applicant in a greenfield (undeveloped) area.

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