Hoffman Estates sets meetings for input on proposed TIF district

Hoffman Estates officials have scheduled a pair of meetings for local governments and the public to weigh in on a proposed tax incentive to encourage development on the north corners of the intersection of Higgins and Old Sutton roads.

The village is proposing the tax increment financing district for 24 acres at the northeast corner and 16 acres at the northwest corner, independent of any existing development plan - including the Plums Farms concept that's been stalled for two years.

While TIF districts are sometimes criticized for their impact on local governments, they can be even more controversial when they support housing developments that bring in more people without providing the additional revenue to provide public services.

But Hoffman Estates Mayor Bill McLeod, a vocal opponent of TIF districts for residential development, said he doesn't consider that to be the case with this proposal.

"I'm not looking at residential at all," he said.

The property is just part of the 185-acre Plum Farms commercial and residential development, for which a TIF district request was dropped amid objections to dense residential development. The village's TIF plan would focus exclusively on commercial development.

Including adjacent right of way, the proposed TIF district would cover 64 acres. Among the possible developments would be a gas station and convenience store along Old Sutton, 100,000 square feet of self storage along the CN Railroad tracks and a 150,000-square-foot retail center.

Under those plans, the district is estimated to generate $20.7 million over its 23-year life. It's expected to help increase the equalized assessed value of the land from its current $63,587 to $28 million.

A TIF district works by freezing the amount of property taxes local governments receive at the level of the district's first year. As taxes gradually rise with development, the increases go to a municipally held fund to pay for public improvements within the district.

A Joint Review Board made up of the local governments that would see their tax revenues affected by the TIF district is scheduled to meet at 9 a.m. Wednesday, Sept. 11, at Hoffman Estates village hall, 1900 Hassell Road.

The board will vote on the property's eligibility for a TIF district based on a number of possible criteria. Consultants from SB Friedman Development Advisors in Chicago already have filed a report stating that the site is eligible as blighted, vacant land prone to flooding.

A negative vote by the Joint Review Board would not prohibit a TIF district but would require a supermajority vote by the village board.

Hoffman Estates Village Manager Jim Norris said the TIF district will let developers know funding for utilities is in place to make commercial development on the site as financially viable as nearby properties.

The Arboretum of South Barrington shopping center lies just to the east at Route 59.

Besides the village, the voting members of the Joint Review Board include Cook County, the Cook County Forest Preserve District, Barrington Township, Elgin Community College, Algonquin-based Community Unit District 300, the Hoffman Estates Park District and the Barrington Public Library.

Village officials Tuesday said they've not received any early feedback from the other taxing bodies about the TIF proposal.

A public hearing on the TIF district is scheduled for 6:50 p.m. Monday, Oct. 21, at village hall.

The village board's vote on the TIF district has not yet been scheduled but must occur within 14 to 90 days after the public hearing.

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  Hoffman Estates is proposing a TIF district for an area of the dormant Plum Farms development proposal at the northwest corner of routes 59 and 72. This view looks north along Old Sutton Road, just north of Higgins Road. Joe Lewnard/
  Hoffman Estates is proposing a TIF district for an area of the dormant Plum Farms development proposal at the northwest corner of routes 59 and 72. This view looks north toward Old Sutton Road at the intersection with Higgins Road. Joe Lewnard/
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