St. Charles residents offer input for city's comprehensive plan
Last month, the St. Charles Comprehensive Plan Task Force gave a big-picture view of what would be appropriate redevelopment of the proposed Corporate Reserve site on the west end of town.
Tuesday night, a group of residents added their input on the site and tossed in some disdain for tax breaks given to developers for good measure.
The pending development plan for the Corporate Reserve property calls for a relatively high volume of apartments and the potential for office and/or commercial space. Task force members restated their support for a less dense residential development for the site Tuesday night while saying they also aren't opposed to office space.
"The (proposed) density is substantially higher than anything around it," said Task Force Chairman Mark Armstrong. "If you're infilling to match what's there, don't do something that's out of proportion."
That same message will apply to the city in general as the task force plans on writing the comparable density theme into the city's new comprehensive plan. City aldermen will ultimately have to take their own position on residential development in a final vote on the comprehensive plan.
Local residents who have continually opposed the Corporate Reserve redevelopment plan's density applauded the task force's view and plan for the Corporate Reserve site. Some residents, however, took their disdain for the plan further by saying there should be no residential development on the site.
Residents also said they don't want city officials to create or use any more Tax Increment Financing to help developers finance projects.
One resident called the use of TIF districts "disastrous" for the city, "especially for First Street."
A TIF district allows developers to be reimbursed for some of their costs as the new development generates new property tax dollars. That means the city, and often local schools, parks and other taxing bodies, miss out on that new tax revenue for 23 or more years.
The pending rewrite of the city's comprehensive plan calls on officials to "where appropriate, consider using TIF" to spur development. Task force members said they were open to the idea of taking "TIF" out of the comprehensive plan and refer to "economic incentives" as a general term instead.
"TIF is one of those buzzwords that makes people think things that maybe aren't intended," Armstrong said.
Residents also tried to get the task force to write into the comprehensive plan that city officials shouldn't do anything to take on new or expanded debt. Task force members said that type of statement goes beyond the intention of the comprehensive plan.
The task force will meet again Nov. 14. The city council likely won't get a first chance to chime in on the draft of the plan until next year.
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