Lisle Mayor Chris Pecak on Monday made good on his promise to veto a village economic incentive plan to encourage the redevelopment of a shuttered downtown shopping center.
Trustees approved the plan on a 4-2 vote on Jan. 31 as part of a special village board meeting, which Pecak did not attend. The plan offers up to $10.5 million in tax increment financing funds to assist Indianapolis-based developer Flaherty & Collins, which is hoping to build a mixed-use retail and apartment complex.
The multistory development would replace the vacant Family Square Plaza at the southwest corner of Ogden Avenue and Main Street.
Pecak made his veto intentions known via the Monday meeting agenda and a news release in which he laid out his concerns.
“I have a fiduciary responsibility to the taxpayers and residents of the Village of Lisle to veto a hasty $10.5 million incentive agreement,” Pecak said in the news release.
Family Square Plaza is in the Downtown TIF District, which was established in 2015. In a TIF district, property taxes paid to local governments are frozen for up to 23 years. Any extra property tax money collected within the area goes into a special fund to help pay for certain improvements.
But Lisle is facing a statutory TIF deadline on March 2. The TIF district could be closed if a redevelopment project is not authorized within its first seven years.
Pecak and trustees Cathy Cawiezel and Dan Grecco (who voted last week against the economic incentives) have floated the idea that a new, larger TIF district could be formed to include Family Square.
As it stands, Pecak said Flaherty & Collins’ proposed development “fails to advance the new downtown comprehensive plan to bring retail, restaurants and entertainment venues.”
Flaherty & Collins has expressed an interest in the Family Square site since 2018. Its most recent design proposal calls for more than 37,000 square feet of retail space and 176 apartment units. The complex also would feature a multistory garage with 554 parking spaces, including 90 first-floor spots dedicated to downtown shoppers.
But eight of the 176 proposed apartments are currently designed to be on the ground floor facing an inner residential courtyard. Pecak zeroed in on this current design for criticism, saying it “sacrifices real estate vital to our future plans for a vibrant downtown commercial district by making promises to change zoning to allow ground floor apartments in our central downtown core.”
During Monday’s meeting, Lisle trustee Mary Jo Mullen received support from fellow trustees Thomas Duffy, Sadat and Stephen Winz to reconsider Pecak’s veto of the incentive plan for a future meeting.
Mullen also disagreed with some of Pecak’s reasons for the veto that were in a memo shared with trustees on Monday. Mullen also suggested the disagreements could be due to the mayor’s absence from last week’s special meeting, though she did not specify those aloud.
“There are definitely parts of it that I disagree with,” said Mullen about the memo. “There are things, I believe, that are clarified by our experts hired by the village who are specialized in the legal and financial aspects of TIFs.”