Impact fee for teardowns proposed in Arlington Heights

  • This house at Elm Street and Dunton Avenue was one of some two dozen torn down in Arlington Heights in 2019. Village officials have proposed a $3,500 impact fee be charged to developers in response to the teardowns and resulting decline in cheaper housing stock.

      This house at Elm Street and Dunton Avenue was one of some two dozen torn down in Arlington Heights in 2019. Village officials have proposed a $3,500 impact fee be charged to developers in response to the teardowns and resulting decline in cheaper housing stock. Christopher Placek | Staff Photographer, September 2019

 
 
Posted1/14/2020 5:30 AM

Developers who tear down old houses in Arlington Heights would have to pay a $3,500 impact fee -- but residents who want to expand their existing homes wouldn't -- under draft affordable housing rules discussed by the village board.

Those were among the items supported by most board members during their lengthy review of a proposed inclusionary housing ordinance Monday night.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

The proposed $3,500-per-unit linkage fee would be less than a $10,000 demolition fee charged in Highland Park and Lake Forest.

Arlington Heights officials say the fee -- which would go into a village housing trust fund -- was proposed in response to the growing trend replacing older, more affordable homes with newer, more expensive ones.

There were 26 teardowns in Arlington Heights in 2018 and 23 through November 2019.

A village analysis of six teardowns showed sale prices for old houses ranged from $187,000 to $275,000, but their newer replacements ranged from $775,000 to nearly $1 million.

"I've watched them be torn down around the corner from me and put these homes up that are not affordable," said Trustee Mary Beth Canty, one of the chief proponents of new affordable housing rules. "I think a $3,500 fee is a small fee to pay for the privilege to buy a home that somebody could have lived in at an affordable rate."

But most trustees pushed back on a separate village staff proposal that would have charged the fee to owners who expanded their homes by 50% or more.

Trustee Tom Schwingbeck said he reviewed a number of home addition projects while on the zoning board of appeals that were submitted by growing families who wanted to stay put.

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In 2018, there were 20 home additions of 50% or more reviewed by village officials.

"These are folks not increasing the size of their house and selling it," Schwingbeck said. "They're trying to stay in their neighborhood and live there for many more years to come, and I don't think we should discourage that from happening."

Trustees on Monday came to consensus on other parts of the proposed ordinance, which would put more teeth into existing affordable housing guidelines that have been in place since 2008.

The ordinance would apply to all new residential housing developments, but only those of nine units or less would be exempt from providing cheaper units and could pay the $3,500-per-unit fee instead.

For new downtown apartments, a majority of the board agreed with the staff recommendation that 7.5% of the development be deemed "affordable," which would be priced for those making at or below 60% of the area median income (about $37,440 for a single person). The advisory housing commission recommended a 12.5% standard.

That and other parts of the six-page draft ordinance will go back to the commission for review before returning to the board for a final vote.

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