A decision on the requested addition of 23,500 square feet at the Tanger Outlets was delayed until next week by the Summit County Council. Both Council members and members of the public had concerns over $50,000 in gift cards the developers had proposed to grant as a community incentive.
The expansion is part of a brand new Specially Planned Area (SPA), as the original SPA for the Tanger Outlets had expired. The Council came out in support of the expansion but could not vote to approve it Wednesday because of issues with the developers' community incentives, which include:
Council member Claudia McMullin questioned whether the community incentives, which are required for the development approval and total $584,041, would be sufficient without the $50,000 in gift cards to the Peace House.
During the public hearing, Jeremy Ranch resident Josh Mann said he was in support of the Tanger Outlets expansion, saying the stores are "clean, comfortable and bring in a lot of sales taxes." However, he also came out in opposition to the gift cards.
"I think it sets a dangerous precedent to put that there," Mann said. "I wish [the developers] would just give the $50,000 to the Peace House, but not like this."
Near the end of the meeting, the developers offered to remove the $50,000 in gift cards to the Peace House. David Rose, the representative for Tanger Outlets, said the gift cards were part of a broader effort of charitable efforts on Tanger's behalf.
"The purpose behind the [community] benefits is affordable housing," Rose said. "This was an attempt to help the people [at the Peace House]."
Council member Kim Carson worried that the gift card issue could lead to a "slippery slope" and questioned which entity gets to decide which charity community incentives are given to.
There was also confusion among the Council members about whether Tanger could provide workforce housing through a fee-in-lieu. The developers suggested they could grant the Peace House a parcel of land, which they could either sell or use to develop transitional housing.
The Council is scheduled to take up the issue again at next week's meeting, when it will be expected to approve it with some changes to the community incentives.
To view Tanger Outlets' application for the 23,500 square foot expansion, visit summitcounty.org and under 'Government' click on 'Public Notices,' select 'County,' 'Summit County' and then 'Summit County Council' and download the packet for the Jan. 15 agenda.