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updated: 8/21/2012 12:14 AM

Barrington approves tax breaks for Ace Hardware

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Barrington trustees Monday approved an economic incentive agreement and special use permit for a long-sought Ace Hardware store to move into the building currently occupied by Fisher Nut on Northwest Highway.

Two residents representing the adjoining neighborhood expressed support for the project but concern over some aspects of it, especially its potential impact on traffic.

Village Planner Kevin Kramer said only a 2 percent increase in traffic on adjacent Hillside Road was anticipated during the morning hours, and a 3 percent increase during the afternoon.

But trustees vowed to keep a close eye on the situation, beginning by securing benchmark figures on the current traffic levels.

The economic incentive agreement they approved allows the hardware store to recoup up to $13,000 per year in municipal sales tax for its first five years. Anything above that would be paid to the village as usual.

Barrington's Economic and Community Development Director Peggy Blanchard said economic incentive agreements are still relatively rare in the village and considered on a case-by-case basis.

"The board felt this was a business we were trying to bring back to the community, and that it wasn't a large incentive," Blanchard said.

There are no existing hardware stores in Barrington that the new Ace will be competing with. Since the last one moved out several years ago, a new hardware store has topped the village's list of requested new businesses.

The building at 906 S. Northwest Hwy. is just under 10,000 square feet and is expected to reopen as an Ace Hardware around mid-November.

The special-use permit the village board also granted Monday night allows for outdoor storage and exceptions for signage, fencing and a propane tank on the property.

The neighboring residents also spoke of their concern for these variances, but village staff members said they'd worked closely with business owner John Brown -- who also lives nearby -- to improve his original proposal.

The propane tank met the state fire marshal's criteria by being 120 feet from the nearest home, Kramer said. And the proposed monument sign on Northwest Highway was reduced in size from 36 square feet and 8.5 feet in height to just over 25 square feet and exactly 8 feet tall.

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