Lake in the Hills economic policies aim to entice retailers

LAKE IN THE HILLS – Hoping to spark economic development, the village is offering incentives to encourage retail development along Routes 31 and 47.

The Village Board last week approved a sales-tax sharing program and fee-reduction program for those corridors.

“The Route 31 and Route 47 corridors contain the largest areas for future commercial development and have the most challenges to development,” Village Administrator Gerald Sagona wrote in a memo to the Village Board. “Providing additional incentives in these corridors will hopefully entice a developer to come forward with a proposal that will be a benefit to the village.”

Sagona said those two areas lack utilities, which would be large investments for developers.

Along Route 31, there is property that is within the Cary and Algonquin borders as well.

“We want to make sure we’re in the race,” Sagona said in a phone interview.

New businesses would be eligible for the sales-tax sharing program if they generate at least $2.5 million annual in taxable sales and $250,000 in project costs. The sales-tax sharing would be for a maximum 50 percent above an agreed-upon base amount and would run no longer than 10 years.

Stores that would produce $2.5 million would be stores such as Costco, Lowe’s, high-performing gas stations or successful CVS or Walgreens, Sagona said.

The village approved an economic-incentive policy in 2010 to encourage commercial growth. It includes general guidelines, submittal requirements and an evaluation criteria.

“Since adoption, we have not had an applicant come forward with a proposal,” Sagona wrote in a memo.

If a business qualifies, the village would negotiate an agreement where sales-tax money would go back to the village, then money would be rebated back to the retailer. The village would make sure the money goes toward appropriate costs, Sagona said.

The fee-reduction program would allow for a 50 percent reduction in filing, permit and inspection fees for commercial businesses investing at least $250,000 into a property within the corridors.

The programs are for 18 months and run from March 1 through Sept. 1, 2014.

Dan Olson, the village’s community development director, said no project applications have been submitted for either corridor.

“We’re just trying to focus on those two corridors to get something jump-started,” Olson said.

In other action, a planned Shell gas station and car wash on Algonquin Road was approved last week. Glogovsky Oil Co. plans to build a 4,000-square-foot convenience store with 16 gas pumps and a 4,650-square-foot car wash on the north side of Algonquin Road across from Wentworth Drive.

Construction is expected to begin in the spring.

As part of the agreement with the village, the property owners would contribute up to $50,000 toward the construction of an 8-foot-wide bike path on the east side of Lakewood Road from Algonquin Road to Miller Road, pending approval of a federal grant.

The village and the county are working on applying for a federal grant to build a milelong bike path that is estimated to cost $800,000 to $1 million, Sagona said.

If the grant is awarded, the county would contribute 10 percent of the cost and the village would contribute another 10 percent. Half of the village’s contribution would come from the gas station property owner.

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