A proposal to build a truck stop and hotel at the corner of 88th Avenue and Wilmington Road has been presented to the village of Peotone. There has been much discussion on Facebook about the project. Two residents actually started petitions; one in support, one in opposition. The supporting petition has 39 signatures; the opposing has 125.

An article in the April 11 Vedette indicates residents at the village meeting were divided 50/50. I was at that meeting and am calling out the piece as a complete fabrication. I spoke to many there and only saw two who said they were in favor.

The meeting itself was interesting, as the mayor refused to take any questions from the public. I have never seen that before.

The few people allowed to comment in opposition had a common thread — air pollution, noise pollution, dangerous intersection at I-57 and Wilmington Road becoming more dangerous, the quality (or lack of) this type of development for our town, possible increase in criminal activity, necessary improvements to the fire district and police department, even light pollution was mentioned and there were comments regarding the proposed TIF District at the location.

The individual who spoke in support of the project used the internet to determine if crime rates are actually higher near truck stops; that research said no, but talking to people in Monee, you might get a different answer. Monee has two truck stops now, with a third under construction on Ridgeland.

Since then, it’s apparent this second TIF District, along with a new Business Development District, have been in the planning stages for some time. It was first discussed publicly, with any detail, at the April 8 meeting. I’ve received proposed maps of these districts and they appear to include all non-residential existing areas. I have been told this is only a proposal, so it could vary.

A TIF District is typically enacted for a period of 23 years. Once implemented the property tax paid to local taxing bodies is locked at the current rate. Any increase in value (such as a development on farmland) goes directly into the TIF fund — bypassing our schools, fire district, park district, library, county, township and other ancillary funds to those taxing districts (such as pensions). At the 23-year conclusion of the TIF, the additional taxes return to being paid to local taxing bodies.

To look at the proposal, one would think we live in a terrible, blighted town; to which I disagree. Do residents want new development? Most are saying yes, but positive development, and a truck stop is not considered positive. Would one expect developers to come and pay their own way to locate in our town; most say yes. With a TIF, funds are available to developers, or redevelopment of current businesses in the TIF District. Should any of the businesses fail and value of property falls, residents would see shocking changes in their property tax bills, as the money the village borrows to give away would still require repayment.

Board meetings are the second Monday of the month at 7 p.m.; on the fourth Monday preceding the 7 p.m. meeting is a 6 p.m. meeting of the whole. Time for residents to get involved in the future of our town. We were told the village sold our water/sewer systems to Aqua to get services west of I-57, stimulating development; now indications are a TIF is needed. How much will this cost residents? Only time will tell.

Deb Swidergal


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