Arlington Hts. moves ahead on affordable housing
Affordable housing gained a passionate endorsement Monday from Arlington Heights Trustee Carol Blackwood, who called for a "real hard and fast ordinance with teeth."
"We feel very strongly about affordable housing," Blackwood told the village's Affordable Housing Trust Fund Task Force. "I know there will be exceptions, but when people come in here and want to develop they will know where we stand.
"We want 15 to 20 percent of every development to be affordable. It should be included in a zoning ordinance."
Arlington Heights is moving forward on creating more affordable housing in the village. The first order of business is to establish a source of income to support affordable housing; the second could be requiring developers to include affordable units in their projects or contribute money in lieu of.
By the end of the year, the task force is expected to present the board with an official proposal about establishing and funding a trust fund.
Village Board President Arlene Mulder and trustees Joseph Farwell and John Scaletta joined Blackwood in expressing support on Monday. Trustees Michael Sidor, Bert Rosenberg and Tom Hayes did not take a stand at the meeting, and Norm Breyer asked a question that indicated skepticism. Thomas Glasgow was absent.
Money in the trust fund would help create or preserve affordable housing units, like assisting a nonprofit developer, said Siobhan White, chair of the Housing Commission. It would not be a social service agency that helps people with rent or mortgage payments.
A draft report from the task force said people who could take advantage of affordable housing would be homebuyers who make 80 percent or less of the area median income, and renters who make 60 percent.
The funding suggestion that got the most attention is taking 10 percent of the revenue the village would get from slot machines at Arlington Park. The new jobs created by track slots will also create more demand for affordable housing, said Greg Ford, chairman of the task force.
Mulder called the suggestion "intriguing," but pointed out slots at Arlington Park is far from certain because Gov. Patrick Quinn has not agreed.
Thomas Kuehne, director of finance, weighed in with a report saying slot machine taxes would not be guaranteed year to year. Therefore, he recommended the task force request a portion of new gaming fees for a short period of time, up to three years, when and if they become available. It also might be illegal for a village board to pass rules controlling future boards if the funds don't exist yet, he said.
Years ago, housing interests in the village suggested a tax on residential teardowns to support affordable housing, but this was rejected because opponents thought it would make housing less affordable for people who wanted to build new houses.
Other ideas being studied are cash payments by developers in lieu of providing affordable housing and fees paid the village for use of its tax-exempt bonding power, which Charles Witherington-Perkins, director of Planning & Community Development, said can range from nothing to $150,000 a year.
Currently developers sometimes offer to include affordable units or contribute money as an exchange for things they want, such as zoning changes or the approval to put more units into a proposal.
This policy should be revised so it is clear to developers what is expected of them and to be sure it is applied fairly, the task force said.
The developer of Arlington Downs — what used to be the Sheraton Chicago Northwest hotel — has agreed that 5 percent of the second phase of the huge mixed use project will meet affordability requirements, which Siobhan White said is about 50 rental units.
- Share Facebook Twitter
Article sent to (required)E-mail
Article sent from (required)E-mail Name
Subject Line (article title)
Message (optional)Success - Article sent Click to close
Interested in reusing this article?
Custom reprints are a powerful and strategic way to share your article with customers, employees and prospects.
The YGS Group provides digital and printed reprint services for Daily Herald. Complete the form to the right and a reprint consultant will contact you to discuss how you can reuse this article.Need more information about reprints? Visit our Reprints Section for more details.
Contact information ( * required )Name * Company Telephone * E-mail *
Article InformationTitle URL
Message (optional)Success - Reprint request sent Click to close