Long Grove considers special district to spark development
Long Grove is considering actions to energize development near its southern border at Route 53 and Lake-Cook Road.
The village board will vote during a special meeting at 7 p.m. Tuesday to designate the South Gateway Tax Increment Financing District and establish a redevelopment plan and program.
TIF is a common and sometimes controversial economic development tool and incentive used by municipalities to spark interest in areas where no activity would be expected without a jump start.
In a TIF, property values for taxing purposes are frozen for up to 23 years. The higher value resulting from development is taxed, but the added amount (the increment) is put in a special fund to help pay for eligible improvements, such as roads or sewers.
The proposed redevelopment agreement sets the maximum amount of TIF funds to be spent at $7.2 million.
The proposed South Gateway TIF encompasses about 59 acres on either side of Route 53, including the northeast corner at Lake-Cook Road. Details can be found under the business tab on the village website at www.longgroveil.gov.
The area wraps around the Menards home improvement store and includes property once anticipated as the right of way for the long-proposed Route 53 extension, as well as the old Geimer Greenhouse, 2727 Route 53.
Village Planner Jim Hogue said the TIF designation was pursued "to stimulate and provide some development opportunities for an area that's been underperforming."
Much of the property is undeveloped or, in the case of Geimer, "likely to be significantly redeveloped," consultant Lee Brown explained during an update for village officials in August.
The majority of the proposed TIF area is not served by public water or sewer, which has thwarted attempts to redevelop the Geimer property, according to documents.
Village President Bill Jacob said the process began in fall 2019 and now is coming to fruition.
TIF districts are governed by state law. Property being considered must meet certain criteria, such as declining property values or dilapidated or obsolete structures, for example, to be eligible for the designation.
Getting to that point includes studies, documentation, public meetings and other steps. A majority of village trustees have supported the initiative throughout the lengthy process.
"If a developer approaches us, we have a means to help out so the project can be affordable and get done," Jacob said.
There is no specific development envisioned or developer knocking at the door but the village wants to be ready with the tools to entertain prospects as needed, he added.
There are various ways to make TIF money available, but how it might work here likely will be addressed as situations arise.
"We're just putting the structure in place and there's nothing contemplated now," Jacob added. "It's a benefit to a developer who may want to look at the property."
Long Grove is a very low-density mainly residential area. Since it doesn't levy a property tax, the idea is to capitalize on the visibility and accessibility of the South Gateway area for commercial development.
"The key is to generate sales tax revenues to fund our (village) initiatives," Jacob said.
If approved, the South Gateway would be the village's second tax increment financing district. The Illinois 83/Downtown TIF District was established about 10 years ago and led to the development of the Sunset Grove center at Route 83 and Aptakisic Road with 19 businesses anchored by Sunset Foods.