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Hoffman Estates village board members voted 6-1 Monday to approve a tax incentive to spark economic development on 64 acres along the village’s stretch of Higgins Road west of The Arboretum of South Barrington shopping center.

A larger, 185-acre area of the same site at the northwest corner of Higgins Road and Route 59 has been the subject of the concept plan for the controversial Plum Farms mixed-use development that’s been idle for the past 2½ years since a lawsuit was filed over its residential density.

That lawsuit was originally filed by residents of the nearby Regency of the Woods of South Barrington retirement community. After Barrington Unit District 220 intervened in the suit on the side of the residents, the retirement community settled its portion.

Last month, District 220’s own lingering case was dismissed by a judge based on a legal precedent. But at its next meeting on Jan. 14, school the board intends to choose among its options to file a motion for reconsideration, file a notice of appeal or let the judge’s ruling lie, Superintendent Brian Harris said.

Read more here.

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Barrington Unit District 220’s lawsuit against Hoffman Estates and the developers of the Plum Farms proposal for the northwest corner of routes 59 and 72 was dismissed this week . (Click on image to enlarge)

Barrington Unit District 220’s lawsuit against Hoffman Estates and the developers of the stalled

Barrington Unit District 220’s lawsuit against Hoffman Estates and the developers of the Plum Farms proposal for the northwest corner of routes 59 and 72 was dismissed this week.

proposal at the northwest corner of routes 59 and 72 has been dismissed by a Cook County circuit court judge.

But the question of how much that lawsuit had to do with the residential and commercial project’s idleness for the past 2½ years has yet to be answered.

Members of the Plum Farms development partnership did not respond to a request for comment, and Hoffman Estates officials said they haven’t heard from them, either, since the lawsuit’s dismissal on Monday.

As proposed, Plum Farms would include single-family homes on 145 acres previously disconnected from Barrington Hills. The remainder of the land would combine multifamily housing and commercial development.

Hoffman Estates’ development agreement limits Plum Farms to 1,250 dwelling units of various types, but the most recent plan submitted by the developer calls for only 1,035.

Read more from the Daily Herald here.

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Hoffman Estates officials have adopted regulations for the sale of recreational marijuana in the village, limiting the number of dispensaries at three and dictating three specific business areas in which they can be located.

Hoffman Estates village board members Monday gave final approval to regulations on businesses selling recreational marijuana by a 4-2 vote, largely sticking to their recommendation votes of two weeks earlier.

Though municipalities cannot ban recreational marijuana use, they can regulate sales within their borders and tax them up to 3%, as Hoffman Estates has done.

The village’s regulations limit the number of dispensaries to three and confine them to three specific business areas located on the west side, along the Barrington Road corridor, and around the intersection of Higgins and Roselle roads.

Any dispensary also will require a special-use permit, granting the village board even more discretion over their particular locations.

Read more here.

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Hoffman Estates officials have recommended approval of a village-initiated tax increment financing district to spur commercial growth at the northeast and northwest corners of Higgins and Old Sutton roads.

Hoffman Estates officials are poised to grant an economic incentive Jan. 6 to spur development just west of The Arboretum of South Barrington shopping center, helping the vacant site join the commercial development going on around it.

The village’s planning, building and zoning committee voted 6-1 Monday to recommend approval of a tax increment financing district to pay for sewer and water utilities on the northeast and northwest corners of Higgins and Old Sutton roads.

The proposed TIF district would include a 24-acre parcel and a 16-acre parcel along Higgins Road west of Route 59 as well as adjacent right of way for a total of 64 acres.

Potential developments for the site include a gas station and convenience store along Old Sutton, 100,000 square feet of self storage along the CN Railroad tracks, and a 150,000-square-foot retail center. (Sound familiar?)

Read more here.

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With a reduction in the quarterly parking fee at Barrington’s train station, officials say more revenue will be generated for the village by falling below a threshold requiring payment of a Cook County tax.

A reduction in the quarterly parking fee at downtown Barrington’s train station means more revenue will be generated for the village because the amount will fall below a threshold requiring a Cook County tax payment, officials said.

Commuters will pay $5 less — $195 instead of $200 — for the quarterly hangtag starting Jan. 1, said Barrington’s director of financial services, Jason Hayden. While the $200 quarterly permit wound up producing $182 in revenue, the village will keep all $195 by not triggering the 9% tax.

Cook County’s 9% parking lot and garage operations tax is applied on spaces that cost $15 or more per week in towns with 250,000 or fewer residents. Barrington tripped the tax because the quarterly parking rate, which started Oct. 1, worked out to $15.38 for each of 13 weeks covered by the $200 permit.

Barrington also raised the daily parking tab to $3.50 from $3 for the north and south lots in October, but avoided the tax on the higher rate after village officials sought assistance to change the threshold. Cook County had a 6% tax on municipal parking spaces costing more than $3 for a 24-hour period in communities with fewer than 250,000 residents.

Read the complete Daily Herald story here.

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Algonquin Road

Engineering will begin next year for a planned resurfacing of nearly 5 miles of Algonquin Road between Route 25 and Dundee Road in Barrington Hills. About three-quarters of the $10 million funding allocation is for bridge repair and replacement at Spring Creek.

Since 2017, the state has suggested plans to widen Algonquin Road with two lanes in each direction. If that’s the case, village officials have asked for it to be done as a scenic parkway rather than a typical four-lane state highway.

Village President Martin McLaughlin used a baseball analogy when describing the start of engineering work on the multiyear project. “In a nine-inning game, it means the pitcher is warmed up, on the field, and ready to start the process,” he said.

Barrington Road

A $19 million project calls for reconstruction of a 1.5-mile stretch of Barrington Road from south of Algonquin Road to Central Road, and adding a lane each way on a small portion north of Mundhank Road. A bike path is also planned on the west side of Barrington Road.

Read more from the Daily Herald here.

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Effective property tax rates for homes in Chicago, calculated as a percentage of their market value, continue to be among the lowest for communities in northeast Illinois, according to a report issued Monday by the nonpartisan Civic Federation.

The group said among 12 selected Cook County communities, Chicago in 2017 had the lowest average effective tax rate for homes at 1.74%. Its report found that Harvey had the highest rate, 7.08%.

On its face, the finding could be seen as cover for Mayor Lori Lightfoot as she considers a property tax increase to help her wrestle with a projected $838 million budget deficit for next year. But that’s unlikely to mean much to Chicago homeowners who have seen steady increases in their tax bills and are bracing for more.

The federation’s report, however, documents a continued pattern that favors Chicago over communities that are largely poor or with a declining tax base. With a large source of commercial and industrial property plus many expensive homes, local governments in Chicago don’t need high tax rates.

Read the full Chicago Sun-Times report, including reference to Barrington, here.

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