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posted: 7/15/2014 5:30 AM

Fox Lake officials may repeal grant for facade work

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  • Ronald Stochl

      Ronald Stochl

  • Donny Schmit

      Donny Schmit

 
 

An advisory committee is recommending Fox Lake officials repeal a June vote that gave a business owner and village trustee a pair of $4,000 grants in violation of the village's revised facade improvement ordinance.

Mayor Donny Schmit said the facade improvement committee recommended Trustee Ron Stochl is entitled to one, but not both grants. It will go before the village board for a vote July 22.

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However, Schmit also said the board should review and revise the ordinance to relax the restriction. It blocks owners of multiple business properties from being reimbursed for doing expensive facade work, which is not the program's intent, Schmit said.

"What if the owner of two stores on opposite sides of town does improvements on both stores?" he asked Monday. "The way the ordinance is written, he would only be allowed one reimbursement. That's not right."

The village board voted in June to award Stochl two facade improvement grants for renovations he is making to storefronts he owns at 9 and 11 Grand Ave. in the downtown area.

Stochl is renovating the spaces into one and said he intends to lease the property.

Under the ordinance, business owners can apply for one grant during each fiscal year for a maximum of $4,000 to reimburse a portion of their storefront work. Stochl received both grants in the same fiscal year, officials said.

He is eligible for two reimbursements, under the ordinance, because his building has two addresses and two storefronts, officials have said.

Both Stochl and Schmit said the board vote to provide the two grants was a mistake and not done with malicious intent. No money has exchanged hands because the grant is issued after completion of a project.

Stochl, who was elected trustee in April 2013, abstained from voting on the reimbursement when it went before the board in June. He said he would go along with any decision village officials make regarding the second grant.

In 2013, village officials reintroduced and updated the decade-old facade improvement program as a way to encourage business and property owners to improve their storefronts. It was scrapped in 2008 due to lack of funding.

Five business property owners have applied for reimbursement since the program restarted, but only one has received a $2,600 reimbursement after work was completed.

Schmit said a sixth business came forward Monday and applied for a grant.

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