Madeira city council hears pros and cons on development issue

Madeira city council has been getting an earful from both sides on a controversial development proposal.

Developers want to build a 184 unit luxury apartment complex on the site of an abandoned soap manufacturing plant.

The project is called Camargo Crossing.

Jay Dewitt is with a group of supporters called Madeira Forward. He says his forty years in commercial real estate give him a good sense of the project's potential. "I can tell you that it will not be a retail development. It will not be an office development, and there are few choices left."

DeWitt says a luxury apartment complex is the best use for the five acre site and the city. "The revenue to the schools will more than double immediately even with the tax abatement on this property. Ultimately, it'll be ten times the tax revenue that this property is bringing in now."

DeWitt says it would also broaden Madeira's housing options. "What would be provided here is a place for people to live in Madeira, to move into Madeira, but to stay in Madeira also, and be able to walk to shop in our community, which is why the merchants typically are very much in favor of this project."

In our commitment to balanced news, we talked with Scott Gerhing with Madeira Proud, a group which opposes the project.

Gehring says, "City council has heard from well over 600 Madeira residents by now, all residents and homeowners, taxpayers and voters to let city council know that this isn't something we want in our neighborhood."

Gehring says the prospect of a tax abatement for the project rubs him the wrong way. "At a time when they city is talking about raising our taxes, we don't think its appropriate they would give 5-million dollars in tax abatements to a private developer for a private development."

If Madeira city council votes in favor of the project, opponents say they're prepared to call for a referendum and let the voters decide.

The vote will be held at Madeira High School Monday evening at 7:30 p.m. because of growing public interest.

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