FARMINGTON — Voters approved creating a downtown tax increment financing district intended to fund downtown development projects Tuesday evening.

The Board of Selectmen and 18 voters in attendance at the special town meeting unanimously approved creating the district after adopting two amendments to the proposal.

The first amendment stipulated the town primarily use the money for capital improvement projects such as sidewalks and streetlights instead of “soft projects” such as studies on economic development.

The second amendment expands the portion of the district on Fairbanks Road to include land across from Sunny Hill Drive intended to be developed by Bill Marceau, who already is developing the neighboring land.

The district encompasses downtown, part of West Farmington and some of the surrounding area.

The district was formed to fund downtown development projects, particularly those included in the Downtown Development Plan adopted by the town earlier this year.

The plan is a list of suggestions for promoting the economic welfare of the downtown. One of the largest proposals under the plan is a Sandy River Bridge that could connect West Farmington and the downtown better.

Town Manager Richard Davis said if the town decided to build the foot bridge, it would be years before the money would be raised and it could be built, but said it would an economic advantage to connect the two areas.

Under the proposal, the town would first assess the value of property in the district. When the value of the property in the district rises, any new taxes raised above the original assessment will go into an account earmarked for downtown development projects. The district would take effect in 2014 and would expire in 2044 unless renewed.

The largest project proposed in the downtown plan is a bridge over the Sandy River, connecting downtown with West Farmington.

The 30-year period is the maximum period allowed for a tax increment financing district to operate.

Residents also unanimously approved renewing the town’s other tax increment financing district which includes Franklin Printing.

Kaitlin Schroeder — 861-9252 [email protected]

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