The $50 million apartment project hinged on passage of a "payment in lieu of taxes" agreement that failed to win City Council approval in September. The project had received Planning Board approval, but needed the governing body to approve the PILOT. At Wednesday's meeting, resident Jim Spear asked City Council President Bridget Rivers, who voted against the 30-year PILOT, whether a shorter one would suffice.
"What would it take for this to be brought up again?" Spear asked.
Rivers indicated she would be interested in reviewing a shorter PILOT, but "could not in good grace" drop a 30-year PILOT on taxpayers. She also raised another objection, the possible strain on the school system if families with children moved in. She asked "how will we guarantee" who will occupy the apartments.
"That is my biggest concern, the taxpayers of Plainfield," she said."I cannot give a 30-year PILOT to just apartments."
Councilwoman Rebecca Williams said if it doesn't happen, the city will lose millions over what the current taxes are for the location. She also said she lives near the site and all the newcomers to her apartment complex have been millennials.
"That's who's moving in," Williams said.
Councilman Cory Storch said the residential development would be a "seed project" for commercial development in the area and will boost existing businesses.
"They're begging for this project," Storch said.
Storch said he has been hearing (talk of development) for 38 years.
"It's starting," he said. "It will happen."
Storch, Williams and Rivers were the only council members present at the meeting in Cook School Wednesday. A small but enthusiastic crowd applauded as speakers made their points about issues including abandoned properties, speeding, overcrowding, long-awaited flood maps, rail transit improvements and the need for greater decorum at City Council meetings.
The Town Hall Meeting schedule began with the Fourth Ward at Clinton School. The next one is the First Ward Town Hall Meeting, 7 p.m. on Oct. 26 at Barlow School and the last one is for the Third Ward, 7 p.m.