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.
But because the proposed TIF district isn't based on any developer's specific plan, Mayor Bill McLeod cast Monday's dissenting vote.
"I'd be more comfortable if there were a real plan before us before we voted on this," McLeod said.
Trustee Gary Pilafas tried to explain a rationale for being ahead of a particular proposal.
"It allows the village to play offense," he said. "We have the ball. It goes our way or not at all."
A TIF district works by freezing the amount of property taxes local governments receive at the level of the district's first year. As taxes gradually rise, the increases go to a municipally held fund to pay for public improvements within the district.
Village officials said Community Unit District 300 cast the sole vote against support for the TIF district among the local governments that would be affected by it, having expressed a desire for a revenue-sharing plan.
The property in question is just part of the proposed 185-acre Plum Farms commercial and residential development that's been stalled since 2017. District 300 and Barrington Unit District 220 have jurisdiction over different parts of it.
But the current plan for a village-initiated TIF district focuses exclusively on commercial development within District 300's portion.
The partnership behind Plum Farms dropped its own request for a TIF district amid controversy triggered by its plans for dense residential development.
That density sparked a lawsuit by residents of the Regency at the Woods of South Barrington, a nearby age-restricted community.
Though the original lawsuit has been settled, the related concerns of District 220 -- which intervened on the side of the residents -- have not.