Des Plaines residents raise concerns over Oakton TIF plan

  • Des Plaines officials are considering the creation of a new tax increment financing district in the struggling area surrounding Oakton and Lee streets. They're also weighing the possibility of building a new Metra station nearby.

      Des Plaines officials are considering the creation of a new tax increment financing district in the struggling area surrounding Oakton and Lee streets. They're also weighing the possibility of building a new Metra station nearby. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer, May 2019

 
By Samantha Jacobson
sjacobson@dailyherald.com
Updated 8/14/2019 2:18 PM

Des Plaines leaders are trying to ease residents concerns about the impacts of a proposed tax increment financing district around Oakton and Lee streets.

City leaders are considering creation of the Oakton Street TIF in hopes of boosting economic development and creating a "second downtown" in the southern part of the city.

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TIF districts aim to promote economic development by freezing property tax payments to local governments in district's first year. As property values rise with development over the 23-year life of the TIF, the additional property tax revenue is diverted to a city-controlled fund to pay for improvements within the district.

In addition to the TIF district, Des Plaines officials may pursue the construction of a Metra station on the North Central line at Oakton and Lee streets.

The station would cost the city $10 million to $12 million, but city leaders believe it would spark transit-oriented development nearby, particularly high-density residential housing similar to what's downtown.

However, some residents living in or near the proposed Oakton TIF shared their concerns before the city council last week, including whether it would lead to displacement, tax increases and reduced fire safety.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Mayor Matt Bogusz assured residents that the TIF would not force them out of their homes.

"There's no interest and there's no present plan to displace any residents reflected in this (TIF) map," Bogusz said. "The purpose of some homes being included on this map is, if we need to install a new storm sewer or a stop sign or make some other public improvement, that this allows us to do it."

He also addressed worries of property tax increases, saying the city would not target properties within the TIF for tax hikes.

"If you're in the TIF and your neighbor across the street is not in the TIF there will be no change to the way that you're assessed," Bogusz said.

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