Bexley City Council has tabled a decision to change the incentive on the Bexley Gateway Plaza condominiums from a 50-percent property tax abatement for 15 years to a 100-percent abatement.

Bexley City Council has tabled a decision to change the incentive on the Bexley Gateway Plaza condominiums from a 50-percent property tax abatement for 15 years to a 100-percent abatement.

Council was set to hear the third reading of the legislation Tuesday, but several Bexley residents attended the meeting to voice their opposition to the abatement, which is aimed at helping developer Plaza Properties sell the condos.

Council member Mark Masser said he could not make a decision about the abatement because he needed time to digest information provided by residents.

"I will listen to everyone tonight then draw a conclusion and vote on it in two weeks," he said. "I've never had more e-mails on an issue before."

Council member Jeff McClelland was in favor of tabling the legislation to give council time to study the proposed abatement.

"It is my belief that it should be reviewed first," he said. "We are all fairly novices when it comes to the concepts of tax abatements and incentives. I don't know what questions to ask."

Council member Robyn Jones said she was not comfortable voting with only five council members. Council member Ben Kessler was out of the country and council member Jed Morison plans to abstain from the vote because an organization he works for could benefit from tax-related revenue.

Council president Matt Lampke also thought it was fair to table the legislation. There are numerous suggestions and proposals council needs time to consider, he said.

Council plans to hold a special meeting at 6 p.m. next Tuesday to further discuss the issue.

Among the residents to speak at this week's meeting, Emily Turner suggested tweaking the abatement so it would be offered at decreasing intervals over a number of years.

Oded Shenkar was against the 100-percent tax abatement and said council should put the issue before the voters like a school levy.

Chris Keaton, a real estate agent and a board member for the Columbus Board of Realtors, said the Gateway tax abatement is important to the community because residential and commercial sales are suffering. Increasing the abatement gives council an opportunity to stimulate Bexley's economy, he said.

"If you don't get this off the ground there will not be more development on Main (Street) like we hope," he said.

Tim Glacier said he was opposed to any additional tax breaks on the development. He suggested the developers lower the price of the condos and questioned whether they were the right product for the area.

Sue Harmon said she moved to the Gateway last year because she was ready to downsize. She said she would have saved money if she moved to New Albany or Gahanna and called Gateway developer Larry Ruben a great visionary in Bexley.

"I hope you increase the tax abatement to attract others like myself to take a risk," she said.