Homewood held a public hearing Tuesday, Sept. 28, regarding the proposed Kedzie Gateway TIF district, which would include properties near the intersection of 183rd Street and Kedzie Avenue.
The public hearing was a required step in the process of creating the new tax increment financing district. The board could has to wait at least two weeks but not more than 90 days to make its final decision.
The hearing opened with a presentation by a Bob Rychlicki, executive vice president of Kane, McKenna and Associates, the consulting firm the village hired to manage TIF district development.
The 33 acres consists of 28 parcels of land located primarily south on 183rd Street between Kimball Avenue and Robin Lane. The former Brunswick Zone bowling alley is within the proposed district and is a property the village would like redeveloped.
“The TIF designation is key due to some of the competitive pressures that have hit retail over the years,” Rychlicki said. “The idea is to help reposition some of the property, address some of the longstanding vacancies and provide for financial stability as well as job creation within the TIF district.”
TIF districts are one of the tools villages like Homewood use to compete for business against areas that have lower property taxes.
TIFs generate revenue for development within the district by freezing the equalized assessed value (EAV) of properties in the district, usually for 23 years. Taxing agencies within the boundaries continue to receive property tax revenue based on the EAV at the time the TIF was established. The taxes generated in excess of the base EAV can be reinvested into the area’s infrastructure or even the business properties themselves.
Rychlicki noted that the Kedzie Gateway TIF qualifies as a conservation area. That is, it's not blighted, but the TIF designation is designed to enable improvements before it becomes blighted. He said 70% of buildings are more than 35 years old, and the area meets five of 13 requirements in state law to qualify as a TIF district. The minimum number of requirements is three.
The base EAV of the properties in the district would be nearly $13.3 million.
"We forecast an increase of $35 (million) to $40 million," he said. "That's dependent on a number of factors, including the market, rents and sales forecasts."
The budget for the TIF plan was set at $40.825 million, but Rychlicki noted the village is not obligated to spend that much to encourage development but cannot exceed that amount without returning to the affected taxing bodies in the district.
He noted that at the Sept. 1 Joint Review Board meeting, taxing body representatives and one citizen voted unanimously to endorse the approval of the district.
One resident spoke during the hearing. David Rivera asked about the provisions in the TIF plan for land acquisition and noted that several homes were within the boundaries of the district. He also asked about the streetscaping item in the budget and what that might involve.
Rychlicki noted that the TIF plan does not specify what might happen to the homes in the district or whether any streetscape projects will result. He said the TIF plan is very general and only establishes the categories for spending money. He said specific projects would have to come before the board.
The TIF, he said, "is more of a financing tool. Your comprehensive plan, your permits, your zoning, all are the basic tools that you would use to consider any redevelopment in the area."
He said it does not appear there will be any major shifts in land use in the TIF district.
"We expect to see same basic types of use," he said. "It might be reconfigured in some ways. There might be some mixed uses, but there's no big shift."
Eric Crump contributed to this story.