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Blaine moves ahead with TIF, seeks input on zoning

BLAINE, Maine — Voters in the town of Blaine approved a tax increment financing project for a new potato storage facility and next month will consider rezoning a section of town for industrial use.  

Earlier this summer, Blaine residents at a special meeting voted to approve a tax increment financing arrangement for a $1.9 million potato house recently built by B.D. Grass & Sons, the potato growing operation of Brent and Neil Grass.

Town clerk Janet Bradbury said the TIF won approval from local voters and the state government, and is all set to take effect for this year.

Organized through a state program that allows local developments to reduce property taxes, the Blaine TIF will run for 20 years and will also shelter the value of the facility from county and school tax liability.

Under the TIF, the Grasses will pay property taxes on the building and then receive 95 percent of the taxes back, with the town keeping 5 percent for a revolving loan fund, Bradbury said.

At the special meeting, voters also approved investing local money into repairs of a dam on the Prestile Stream in order to qualify for state funding. Blaine did not ultimately win that state grant, but the town is applying for other grants, Bradbury said.

Coming up next month, at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 5, the Blaine Planning Board will hold a hearing rezoning a portion of Chandler Road from village to industrial.

Bradbury said that the zoning change comes at the request of the McCrum family, which owns a lot at 70 Chandler Road and has a potential buyer interested in setting up a business making pallet boxes.

No vote will be taken that night, but town officials want to hear perspectives from residents on the potential change, Bradbury said.

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