With one potential snag, tax assistance and rezoning for the new Meadows Marketplace and the grocery store planned there moved ahead at Monday's meeting of the Rolling Meadows City Council.
The project would renovate the Kirchoff Road shopping center in the city's downtown that held a Dominick's until about nine years ago.
The final vote on several items affecting the development on the all-but vacant property is planned for the next City Council meeting, scheduled for April 9.
The council voted unanimously to rezone the land to commercial, following unanimous approval by the city's plan commission. In 2006 part of the 11 acres was zoned residential in anticipation of redevelopment that never occurred.
However, a significant minority of the council balked at the extent of tax breaks proposed for the development and the grocery store.
Aldermen approved on a 4-3 vote advancing to the next meeting a 50 percent rebate of sales tax to Uncle Joe's Tuscan Fresh Market, the grocer that plans to open in the center. The city's proposed contract with the owners of the grocery calls for the municipality to rebate up to $200,000 annually until reaching a total of $1.8 million.
Alderman Brad Judd of the 4th Ward led the opposition, saying only $150,000 should be returned to the store annually for a total of $1 million. He was joined by Mike Cannon of the 1st Ward and Robert Banger of the 5th.
Judd also said he wants the grocer's owners to repay the entire $1.8 million if they move from the site before 15 years. Mayor Tom Rooney balked at voting on that amendment until City Attorney Jim Macholl writes suggested language, and that issue was put off until the next council meeting.
Judd opposed backing a request to Cook County that property taxes on the center be reduced, which he said would eventually cut the owners' taxes by $2.5 million. He and Cannon were the only votes against that motion.
Rooney, who votes only in the case of ties, objected to the proposal to reduce the sales tax rebate to $1 million, saying the $1.8 million figure was reached logically through good faith negotiations. "This building has been the armpit of Rolling Meadows for eight years," said Rooney. "It's going to require substantial investment on the part of any developer to get back into usable condition."
Judd said he was not opposed to the project but wanted to get taxpayers the best deal possible. He also mentioned the $700,000 in tax increment financing funds that the council approved for improvements on the site.