Cody King Published 4:07 pm, Wednesday, February 22, 2017
An ordinance establishing the Montclaire Business District and Business District plan was approved at Tuesday’s City Council meeting. This will establish the Montclaire Business District in order to provide a funding source to the developer to pay for infrastructure and façade improvements to the site. If approved, another ordinance will make its way to the Administrative and Community Services Committee to establish a tax rate and a development agreement.
City Attorney Jeff Berkbigler said this ordinance is just to pave the way for a future development agreement between the City and the developers.
“This would be adopting the plan. We don’t have a development agreement. This has been held in the ACS Committee in the hopes of having a development agreement concurrently to pass this. We’re very close on our development agreement, but timing wise, we are requesting that the business district be established because we have 90 days from the date of the public hearing, which was on December 6th. This is the last meeting before the expiration of that 90-day period,” Berkbigler said.
If the approval of this ordinance didn’t go through, Berkbigler said the developers would have to go back to the drawing board.
“If we didn’t get it established in that time, then we would have to go through the process of notice of publication for additional public hearing. Staff felt that the public hearing we did have that there weren’t any comments averse to the business district at that time. So one of the comments that came out of ACS though was there be a ‘shock clock’ on this and we did amend the ordinance after ACS to include that if we don’t have a development agreement passed by March 22, which is the last meeting in March, that the business district would not be filed with the state and the ordinance would be terminated,” he said.
By establishing a business district, this will allow for the city of Edwardsville to pledge tax revenue towards redevelopment within the district. However, in order to qualify, the area must meet one of the following criteria: constitute an economic or social liability, have the existence of conditions which endanger life or property by fire or other causes retards the providision of housing accommodations, or it can be defined as a ‘blighted area,’ meaning it’s an area that has inadequate street layout, unsanitary or unsafe conditions, deterioration of site improvements, improper subdivision or obsolete platting.
As the Montclaire Shopping Center is classified as a ‘blighted area,’ it qualifies.
Berkbigler said he believes the development agreement following this ordinance will be available at the next ACS meeting.
“I’m fairly confident we will have a business district development agreement to be presented at the next ACS meeting. On March 2, there’s only a couple of exhibits that we need to get from the developer so we should be able to get that through and get that done in plenty of time if it’s approved. If it’s not approved, for whatever reason, then the business district itself will go out,” he said. “This does not give the developers any money. It just establishes the district to give us the vehicle or the foundation to be able to entrance into the development agreement with the developer.”
Edwardsville Mayor Hal Patton said it’s important to move the motion forward and make changes after the development plan is received.
“In the meantime, they’ve got to know that the Council is supportive for the development of a business district so they can go out and do the diligence and get the numbers and present the develop agreement with facts. On those facts, if you don’t like some things about it and the aldermen agree to strike this maintenance or the roof here or those types of aspects, fine. This is just step one and we’ve previously done this at Town Centre,” Patton said.
As discussion closed, alderman Janet Stack addressed her opposition to the ordinance.
“Some businesses that are in that district, because I go there, have made improvements inside of their businesses on their own. They are going to be, let’s face it, it’s things that not as many people with a lot of money go there. So we’re hurting the people that have less money and we’re taxing them to have a decent shopping center. I just have a real problem with it,” Stack said.
Alderman Janet Mallon was in agreement with the ordinance moving forward, and said, “I understand what you’re saying Janet, but this is our city and our community and I think that we strive to have something a little bit nicer than what’s there now. I think if this is the only way to achieve that goal, then I think it’s a good idea.”
Discussion closed and there was a 6-1 vote in favor.
The motion passed, although Stack was against its approval.