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posted: 5/5/2014 5:01 AM

Code change blunts chance to revitalize mall

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For years, Spring Hill Gateway East Mall has been 50-90 percent empty, sapping the commercial vitality of the business climate of West Dundee. This year, Gateway East found a major tenant to revitalize their mall, and on Jan. 28, that tenant, Salvation Army, applied for a business license to operate a Family Store.

But then, just three business days later on Feb. 3, the village of West Dundee imposed a 90-day moratorium on new business licenses involving resale activity. The very next month, the village introduced changes to the zoning code governing its business districts -- its first significant change in 25 years.

These sudden zoning changes limit, restrict, or ban resale stores -- and include a brand-new ban on resale for properties zoned B-2. Gateway Mall just happens to be zoned B-2.

These proposed changes in zoning code do not prohibit potentially undesirable uses such as gun stores in the B-2. This ban only affects resale stores of the sort operated by the Salvation Army, one of the most respected nonprofit, religious institutions in the world.

The village said it was imposing the moratorium "to allow for a study" on the issues. So far, though, the village has provided no such studies or documentation to support its sudden actions.

The village is thwarting the reasonable and lawful use of private property by changing the rules in the middle of the game. Its actions will result in more empty retail space, less tax revenue, and fewer jobs resulting in village residents being forced to pay more in taxes.

The West Dundee village board is set to vote on these changes Monday night. We urge the village to reject the proposed changes and cooperate in bringing more needed businesses to town. An empty mall does no one any good.

Matthew Daniels

Owner, Gateway East Mall

West Dundee

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