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Hoffman Estates officials have scheduled a pair of meetings for local governments and the public to weigh in on a proposed tax incentive to encourage development on the north corners of the intersection of Higgins and Old Sutton roads.

The village is proposing the tax increment financing district for 24 acres at the northeast corner and 16 acres at the northwest corner, independent of any existing development plan — including the Plums Farms concept that’s been stalled for two years.

Including adjacent right of way, the proposed TIF district would cover 64 acres. Initial revenue from the TIF would pay for public utilities on the land.

A Joint Review Board made up of the local governments that would see their tax revenues affected by the TIF district is scheduled to meet at 9 a.m. Wednesday, Sept. 11, at Hoffman Estates village hall, 1900 Hassell Road.

Read more here.

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Tucked on the outer edges of southern Cook County, suburban Park Forest was built to help answer a housing shortage in the 1940s as GIs flooded home from World War II. Before long, it became a model of suburban living, featuring enviable public schools and an attractive downtown shopping center anchored by a Marshall Field’s.

Today, the legacy department store is long gone. The high school, Rich East, is facing such low enrollment that it is being considered for closure. And, as of 2017, financially strapped homeowners were stuck with the second-highest property-tax rate in Cook County.

Among them is Ryan Dupée, who is being billed more than $3,800 in property taxes for a modest, ranch-style home he and his wife bought under foreclosure four years ago for just $25,000.

“It’s a shocker and it’s disappointing because your money could go to other things,” Dupée said, adding that while they aren’t paying a mortgage the property taxes are difficult for them to handle, especially since he’s between full-time jobs as a quality assurance auditor.

Read the full Better Government Association investigation here and realize what we already knew – it’s not just Barrington Hills. 

This story was co-published with Crain’s Chicago Business, as part of a Crain’s Forum project on affordable housing.

 

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With an expansion of Algonquin Road through the Barrington area all be certain in the next few years, Barrington Hills is urging a different approach, and we hope the Illinois Department of Transportation continues to give it serious consideration.

As Bob Susnjara reported Monday, Barrington Hills is pitching the idea of turning Algonquin Road into a so-called scenic parkway, a roadway that would fit into, rather than obliterate, the bucolic, natural setting of northwest Cook County. Algonquin Road cuts through Spring Lake Forest Preserve on its way to the northern Fox Valley.

“It should kind of honor the open space, natural setting that the Cook County Forest Preserve is trying to maintain and what we’re trying to maintain in our community,” Barrington Hills Village President Martin McLaughlin told Susnjara.

This is a new approach, and one that reflects the increasing interest in preserving the environment of much of the suburban area — hand in hand, of course, with finding better ways to move frustrating amounts of traffic on a daily basis.

Continue reading the full Daily Herald editorial here.

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In May of last year, the Board of Trustees directed the Plan Commission to review the Village Comprehensive Plan and make recommendations for any changes they saw fit for the Board to adopt. The last time the Comprehensive Plan was updated was 2005 and amendments were approved in 2008.

After nearly a year of work and meetings, the Plan Commission has agreed to the changes they would like seen in the Plan. A copy of their proposed 2019 Village Comprehensive Plan can be viewed and downloaded here.

A public hearing is scheduled for July 8th at 6:30 PM to allow residents to voice their comments, or feedback can be provided to the Village Clerk at clerk@vbhil.gov.

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One of the largest pieces of open land available in Cook County, a 400-acre horse farm in Barrington Hills, is expected to become a forest preserve again, after a court ruling granting foreclosure of the property.

That is, unless a plan to grow cannabis on the site interferes with the process.

Horizon Farm, consisting mostly of rolling pasture along Algonquin Road west of Illinois Route 59, has been in litigation since shortly after a private sale in 2006. Richard Cannon and his wife, Meryl Squires Cannon, borrowed $14.5 million from Amcore Bank to buy the land.

After the property fell into foreclosure once before, the Forest Preserve District of Cook County bought the farm for $14 million in 2013, and briefly opened it as a preserve, but the Cannons fought in court to keep the land.

Read more from the Chicago Tribune here.

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The Fox River Valley Pony Club Horse Trials run today though Sunday at the Barrington Hills Park District located at 361 Bateman Road.

For more information, click here.

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Crabtree Nature Center in Barrington Hills is celebrating the Forest Preserves of Cook County. Join us June 2 from noon to 4 p.m. as we Explore the Forest to see the many different facets of the forest preserves at this free event.

Find out about recreational activities from tree climbing and archery to fishing, camping, and wildlife encounters. Pick up a trail map and get a bike check-over courtesy of LL Bean.

Learn about the work that goes on behind the scenes to manage the preserves. Try out wildlife tracking radars, climb onto giant equipment used in habitat restoration and meet with Master Gardeners. Special guests from the Chicago Botanic Garden and Brookfield Zoo will highlight their role in the preserves.

The event is part of Chicago Wilderness’ Leave No Child Inside initiative to promote children’s connections with nature. Spend time in our Nature Play area where you can climb a spider web, build forts and follow a story trail.

Visit fdpcc.com or call (847) 381-6592 for information.

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