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St. Charles TIF accord gets another look

ST. CHARLES – The Planning and Development Committee on Monday night delayed voting on a $6 million tax increment financing redevelopment agreement in connection with the proposed Lexington Club housing development to allow the Joint Review Board to consider it as well.

The Joint Review Board – which is made up of a representative from each taxing authority affected by a TIF district – had unanimously recommended approval of the proposed TIF district in January, when it called for about $5 million. Residents believed the board should weigh in on the increase.

First Ward Alderman Dan Stellato agreed.

“I wouldn’t want that to happen to us,” he said.

The Joint Review Board is next scheduled to meet Dec. 5 for its annual meeting.

This TIF district would be unique in that it would be the city’s first truly residential TIF and would operate on a pay-as-you-go system, bringing no financial risk to the city, St. Charles officials said.

Under the agreement, the city would reimburse property owner for costs associated with demolition, site leveling and environmental remediation in an amount not to exceed $6 million.

The agreement outlines several other obligations for the city and developer.

The site is bound by Union Pacific Railroad tracks to the north, Fifth and 12th streets to the east and west, and Dean and State streets to the south. It has been deemed as a blighted and unsafe area.

Redeveloped, the property could add about $57 million in overall assessed valuation to the city, Economic Development Director Chris Aiston said. Officials said the property’s current value is about $4 million.

Third Ward Alderman Bill Turner said he would prefer voting on the TIF agreement after the City Council approves details regarding the proposed housing development.

“We’ve had a lot of questions about this development,” said Turner, adding he doesn’t want to reduce the city’s leverage by approving the TIF first.

Third Ward Alderman Ray Rogina said he wouldn’t vote for the TIF because he isn’t comfortable with the development as proposed.

Several citizens also spoke out against the TIF district, and the committee noted it had received a petition containing 659 signatures opposing it.

One signee, John Caruso, asked at the meeting to be removed from the petition. Upon further research, he said, he concluded there was misleading information in the petition and that he now supports the TIF.

“I may be in the minority here,” he said, “but I’m all for the project moving forward as it is.”

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