Schools, local governments support proposal for new Arlington Heights TIF district

  • A plan to set up a tax increment financing district -- which would include properties on the southeast corner of Arlington Heights and Algonquin roads in Arlington Heights -- was endorsed Tuesday by area governments.

      A plan to set up a tax increment financing district -- which would include properties on the southeast corner of Arlington Heights and Algonquin roads in Arlington Heights -- was endorsed Tuesday by area governments. Brian Hill | Staff Photographer, May 2019

 
 
Updated 5/6/2020 2:22 PM

Representatives of local governments in and around Arlington Heights have endorsed the village's plan to set up a special taxing district aimed at jump-starting redevelopment of the southern gateway to town.

The 6-0 affirmative vote from the local governments -- which came Tuesday afternoon from representatives of area school districts, the park district and the county -- was one of the first things Arlington Heights village officials needed before they can establish the tax increment financing district.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

They've had sights on transforming the area for years, with an eye toward mixed-use projects such as developer Bradford Allen's proposed town center of multifamily homes, entertainment, restaurants, offices and a hotel on the corner of Arlington Heights and Algonquin roads.

Proposed for a 65-acre area along Arlington Heights Road from the Jane Addams Tollway to Seegers Road, the financing mechanism would funnel property taxes above a certain point into public and private projects instead of the local governments. As a result, TIFs are often scorned by school districts, which receive most of their money from property taxes.

As part of a joint review board constituted during a video conference Tuesday afternoon, officials from Northwest Suburban High School District 214 and Harper College voted in favor of an advisory resolution supporting the village's TIF, joining the village, Cook County, the Arlington Heights Park District and public member Greg Ford in casting "yes" votes.

Elk Grove Township Elementary District 59, which is completing the $5 million sale of its former administration building property within the proposed TIF boundaries in June, abstained from the vote. Elk Grove Township, which just finished moving out of its old headquarters nearby, didn't attend the meeting.

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Vickie Nissen, District 59's assistant superintendent of business services, expressed concerns with how many new residential units may result from prospective redevelopment projects, and what implications that might have on school enrollment.

Bill Enright, the village's deputy director of planning and community development, said there's three primary redevelopment sites in the area: on the north end, one developer has proposed senior housing, while other builders have revealed preliminary plans for some 600 to 900 residential units south of that. But Enright said even considering the high density present in the village's downtown -- with close to 2,000 residential units -- resulting school enrollment increases have been minimal.

Enright suggested the village ink agreements with districts 59 and 214 -- similar to pacts set up with the latter and Arlington Heights Elementary District 25 when the Hickory/Kensington TIF was established -- that spell out the process by which the village would reimburse the schools for any new students.

The village's redevelopment commission, composed of members of the plan commission, will hold a virtual meeting at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 27 to conduct a public hearing, and the matter will likely be forwarded to the village board for final action in June.

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