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OLMSTED COUNTY NOTEBOOK County gives Rochester tax leeway

Olmsted County has given Rochester leeway with a tax abatement program designed to spur downtown development.

Commissioners voted to decline participation in the program, a decision that gives Rochester more freedom in managing the program. Taxes can be abated for 15 years without the county's participation vs. 10 years with the county's participation.

The abatement will finance construction of public infrastructure and encourage new, private investments in Rochester's central business district. The program was a recommendation of the Downtown Planning Task Force, which recently issued several recommendations to reinvigorate the area.

Haverhill development stymied

Haverhill Township officials were denied permission Tuesday to open 80 acres of land for residential development.

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County board members voted 4-3 to deny the proposal. Some members favored the project and the affordable housing it would bring to the area. But more members agreed with county staff, who noted the development failed to follow the county's land-use plan.

Earlier this year, the county board voted to allow development of some land near U.S. 63 and 75th Street Northeast. The land accommodates commercial and industrial developments, but no homes can be built there.

Haverhill Township officials, who are coordinating development of the area, had sought land for home construction with the earlier request but were denied. Tuesday's request was half the size of the earlier request.

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