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Article posted: 3/4/2013 4:41 PM

Hampshire board candidates disagree on developer fees

By Lenore T. Adkins

When it comes to spurring development in Hampshire, the five candidates running for three spots on its village board have different views on whether reducing or eliminating developer fees is the way to go.

A developer has approached the village to build Hampshire Grove, a development of 848 units for active seniors. The developer has asked the village to waive the impact and transition fees that would go to Community Unit District 300 because active seniors are not likely to have children in any of the schools, according to Village Administrator Doug Maxeiner.

The village board has taken no action yet, Maxeiner said.

During a recent Daily Herald candidate endorsement interview, challenger Connie Von Keudell said she favored reducing or waiving those fees in the case of a development like Hampshire Grove.

"We're talking about doing it for the school, to get the Grove in," she said. "That's the right thing to do because now they're going to come to our community instead of somebody else's."

But incumbent George Brust said it shouldn't be the village's call to eliminate developer fees for the school district. He also said there's no guarantee the developer would pass the savings onto the buyers.

"It's not what the bill says, it's what it doesn't say," Brust said. "And here's a classic example."

Newcomer Michael Reid Jr., meanwhile, says he's undecided.

Reid, who works as a technology coordinator for District 300, said there may be people in senior developments with grandchildren in the district and they may want the developers to pay the fees to the schools. His concern is what happens to the district if the developer doesn't have to pay for its impact.

"If the schools start to deteriorate because of it ... who's going to live in an area where the schools are not good?," Reid said.

Challenger Deborah Mirandi would favor a discount over waiving the fees. Incumbent Martin Ebert said the fees should be reduced in accordance with the village's new property values. A recent in-house study showed the village's property values had fallen to $60,000 an acre from $132,000 an acre in 2008, Maxeiner said. Impact fees are calculated based on those values.

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