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Economic Development Committee Meeting Minutes 2017

Meeting Minutes

02-23-2017 Economic Development Committee

February 23, 2017 Economic Development Committee Minutes

MARK BARENIE WILLIAM KEITH CLERK-TREASURER, BETH HERNANDEZ
JOHN DEYOUNG RICHARD SETLAK TOWN MANAGER, STEPHEN KIL
GINA FEZLER KELLY STOMING ATTORNEY, DAVID AUSTGEN
NICK GEORGIOU    

CALL TO ORDER:

Mr. Georgiou called the February 23, 2017 Economic Development Committee meeting to order at 5:03 p.m.

(The Pledge of Allegiance was recited by all.)

ROLL CALL:

Clerk-Treasurer, Beth Hernandez took roll call with the following members present: Nick Georgiou, Gina Fezler, William Keith, Richard Setlak, John DeYoung, and Mark Barenie. Kelly Stoming arrived at 5:13 p.m. Town Manager, Steve Kil, was present. Attorney David Austgen was present.

ELECTION OF OFFICES:

Mr. Georgiou stated that the members of the EDC had been sworn in prior to the meeting. He stated that this is first official meeting, and all members have been newly re-appointed. Now, we must select the slate of officers for 2017.

Mr. Georgiou asked if there were any recommendations for the position of President. Mr. Keith nominated Nick Georgiou. Mr. Setlak seconded the recommendation. The nomination was carried by voice vote (6/0) Ayes---six. Nays---none.

Mr. Georgiou asked for recommendations for the position of Vice President. Mr. DeYoung nominated Bill Keith. Mr. Georgiou seconded the nomination. Mr. Georgiou asked for any other recommendations for Vice President. There were none. Nomination for Bill Keith for Vice President was carried by voice vote (6/0) Ayes---six. Nays---none.

Mr. Georgiou stated that the last position is for Secretary of the Committee. Mr. Georgiou asked for any recommendations for Secretary. Mr. Georgiou made a motion to nominate Mr. Setlak as Secretary. Ms. Fezler seconded the motion. The appointment of Mr. Setlak for the position of Secretary was carried by voice vote (6/0) Ayes---Six. Nays---none.

Mr. Georgiou stated that we now have a new set of officers for 2017.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES: February 23, 2017

Mr. Georgiou stated that the first item was the approval of the meeting minutes for February 23, 2017. He asked if there were any questions or comments on the minutes.

Mr. Keith then stated that he would like to make a motion to accept the minutes. Mr. DeYoung seconded the motion. The motion was carried by voice vote (6/0) Ayes---Six. Nays---none.

OLD BUSINESS:

A. Boyer Development Project and Route 41 Traffic Improvements – Status Update on Schedule.
Mr. Georgiou stated that, as we know, the Boyer Development is a significant project that continues to go on. To his understanding, one of the key items that affected this schedule originally was the purchase of all of the properties. Having read the last meeting minutes, apparently Boyer has procured all of the properties. To his understanding, we are just continuing to work on the updated schedule. Mr. Georgiou asked Mr. Kil if this was correct.

Mr. Kil said that was correct. He shared that he still has weekly meetings with Mr. Boyer to try to keep the project on track and within the scope of what everybody has discussed, which it is. Mr. Kil said that we have to, unfortunately, adjust some dates in the EDC agreement: time frames, construction starts and finishes, and things like that. A new schedule is in the development stage right now, subject to attorney approval. Not only our local attorney, Mr. Austgen, but also the Bond Council. There are some things that need to be done, but by next month, we should be completely set.

Mr. Georgiou said that relative to the EDC, this is strictly an informational update. The EDC’s activity has already occurred, as far as making a recommendation on the PUD. That is the extent of the EDC’s involvement on that part of it.

B. REVIEW of POTENTIAL COMMERCIAL DEVELOPMENTS and RESIDENTIAL DEVELOPMENTS-Status Update.
Mr. Georgiou asked if there are any updates on any commercial developments that are before the Town.

Mr. Kil said that the one that comes to mind is Mr. Bill Keith. He is going to be one of the newest commercial developments to come to our community. Mr. Keith’s project is approved. Mr. Kil asked Mr. Keith if he is under construction yet. Mr. Keith said that the footings are in and the walls were poured the day before yesterday.

Mr. Kil shared that Mr. Levin is still at the BZA stage, and the Boyer project that we just talked about is under-way. He said that for commercial developments, that is about it.

Mr. Georgiou asked about the Circle K. Mr. Kil said that the Circle K is in front of the BZA, so we will just have to wait and see what happens; but nothing has started with Circle K or Levin.

Mr. DeYoung asked Mr. Kil if he had given any thought to the desired property that Mr. DeYoung had called him about. Mr. DeYoung mentioned he was unsure if he can say that name yet. Mr. Austgen answered, “Probably not.” Mr. Kil mentioned that he has talked to them many times and that the person is busy up in Munster. Mr. DeYoung said the person wants to move forward over here. Mr. Kil said that when he finishes up in Munster, he will come back to St. John and start that up again. Mr. DeYoung said that the person mentioned that if the Town appears to be a preferred site, he would look at that too. Mr. Kil said that he has met with him many times, and again, he is subject to the rules of that franchise, so, it is not that simple for him.

Mr. Kil moved on to the Meyer Project. He shared that Mr. Meyer is moving forward with his project across from Lake Central. He has met with several possible restaurateurs to move into that finished building. Again, it is very specific. He wants an upper-scale steak house, so that is what he is waiting for. In the meantime, he is finishing the rest of the project out.

Mr. Georgiou asked Mr. Kil if there is actually a parcel between Speedway and Levin Tire or if that is just pipeline easement there. Mr. Kil said that Levin is proposing a two- lot subdivision there, if and when, they get to that point. For now, you’ll see Levin, a vacant parcel, then you’ll see Speedway. So, there would be a lot between the two.

Ms. Stoming entered the meeting.

Mr. Georgiou confirmed that there is an extra commercial parcel there. Mr. Kil said that is correct but the bulk of it is pipeline easement, so he is unsure how buildable it is.

Mr. Georgiou asked if the various additions and improvements of Alsip are still going forward. Mr. Kil said that Alsip is also going to be in front of the BZA. Mr. Kil said that all of these projects are still in front of the BZA. Mr. Georgiou said that they are, at least, potential projects that are still going through approvals. He asked if Meyer’s last residential phase is still going through the BZA also, or if that has been approved. Mr. Kil said that is in front of the BZA as well. Tonight, at the Town Council, they are going to entertain an annexation of some residential property. It will be first reading on the Annexation Ordinance. It is on the west side of Cline Avenue adjacent to North Point. Mr. Georgiou asked how big the acreage is. Mr. Kil told him it is about twenty-four acres- plus or minus.

Mr. Georgiou asked about the highway improvements on 231 and Route 41 and the 109th improvements. He asked if those are in the works or if they are on-going. Mr. Kil said, to his understanding, County cleared the last piece of right-of-way this week. They are hoping to have it done this year. That is the last word that he received on the 109th and Route 41 project.

Mr. Georgiou asked if there were any other questions on any projects.

Mr. Kil shared that for those that drive on 101st and Parrish, the Town Council will be entertaining tonight, on the agenda, the authorization to begin engineering on those two roads; 101st between Calumet and White Oak and Parrish between Joliet and 109th.

NEW BUSINESS:

A. EDC – List of Projects Submitted to Town Council for Consideration and Discussion.
Mr. Georgiou reiterated that he was not here for the October 27, 2016 meeting, but he sees that this was discussed at length. Technically, this should have been Old Business and brought up for consideration, but Mr. Georgiou listed this under New Business. We do want to discuss the proposed next assignments for the EDC in order to bring it forward. He said the list has been discussed in the meeting minutes, but he does not think the actual list is attached. He wanted to know if anyone brought the list with them. Mr. Keith stated he had a copy of the list.

Mr. Georgiou explained that there were twelve items that were originally presented for which there was a bit of discussion. Mr. Georgiou did want to discuss several of them. He would like to put several of them forward and get input. Maybe even make a recommendation, so that Mr. Barenie or Mr. Kil could maybe take to the Town Council as soon as possible to see where we go next. One thing that has received some favorable responses was item number seven on the list. The item was to create an EDC tab on the St. John Town website. In terms of what could then be put on that site whether it is the Comp Plan, the Metro-Study, the plans of various parcels, etc. or if anyone is generally interested in the EDC, they could just then go to that tab on the website.

Part of that would then be item nine on the list, which talked about identifying sites that are vacant in Town. There have been discussions in the past about whether the EDC would generate conceptual plans for those vacant parcels that could also be incorporated into the EDC website, documentation, or for Mr. Kil’s benefit when people come to the Town.

Mr. Georgiou said that he had mentioned the Metro study. Unfortunately, when you have statistics and demographics that change rapidly in the Town of St. John, he thinks it would be wise to update the Metro study and Opportunity Analysis. The study was done in 2014, but the Town has changed quite rapidly in the last two years.

There are some other things on the list that have already been taken care of. Such as, assistance on the police cameras. Some of the others have more of a wide-range parameter, but Mr. Georgiou would like to discuss with this Committee about some of their thoughts or comments about what he just mentioned.

Mr. Setlak said, in the minutes, the subject of the Metro Study came up as far as getting an update of some sort. He doesn’t believe the EDC went on from there. Mr. Setlak said that he is unsure what is involved or how that works.

Mr. Kil said that document is actually asked for quite often. Many commercial people who are thinking about St. John request the study because it has a lot of information in it, and Mr. Kil does use it a lot. There would be benefit in having that updated. As Mr. Georgiou said, we are moving our target. We are constantly changing; our population, our demographics, our housing. Everything is increasing such as miles of roads, businesses, roadways. It would help. Many people like that study and use it. Mr. Georgiou asked for any comments.

Mr. Keith said that he would reiterate something he said before he was invited to be on the EDC several years ago. Some people might remember Mr. Keith saying that there is no way he will promote more business in St. John without a center turn lane on Rt. 41. Mr. Keith said that as it is in real estate and such, the worst thing you can do is get your house 98% finished. You start showing it and say, “I know the tile isn’t done, but that is going to be finished.” You get it all done first, and then you invite people in. That is the biggest detriment. Mr. Keith said that he swears that he feels like he is going to get killed every day now that he drives down towards Alsip Nursery. It scares him. So, he can’t go out and promote business in the Town of St. John, which is what the EDC is supposed to be all about, until we get that problem fixed. If it doesn’t get fixed by next year, Mr. Keith does not want to be on the Committee anymore. If we get some traffic flow fixed, he will be the first one to hop on a plane and go to some trade-shows to promote business in the Town of St. John. Once we’ve got this dialed in, we would then be ready. Otherwise, he is having a hard time getting over dealing with traffic. Everyday there is traffic backing up to Mr. Keith’s house down by the VFW during rush hour. We have to spend more time on our traffic situation.

Mr. Georgiou asked Mr. Kil to correct him if he is wrong but we have the 109th and Route 41 intersection improvement, 96th and Route 41 that is the Boyer improvement, the Joliet Street improvement, as part of the Boyer improvement and that is significant to the problem. Mr. Georgiou would ask either Mr. Barenie or Mr. Kil to confirm, but Mr. Forbes has stated repeatedly that the Town has contacted INDOT for a center turn lane from 93rd to 231. Mr. Keith questioned if INDOT said they were going to do it. Mr. Georgiou said that is correct. Mr. Georgiou stated that he believes the Town is promoting what Mr. Keith wants them to do.

Mr. Kil said that unfortunately the only thing that INDOT is serious about right now is a center turn lane from Lake Central North to 77th. Mr. Kil said that INDOT says it is in the works, but he couldn’t say with any degree of certainty when they are going to do it. He said that the Town’s plan for 96th will help greatly, and that the Town is looking at a center turn lane that they would end up just doing, if it is possible, between 96th and Joliet Street when left turns are closed off there. It is a short section, but it is better than waiting for INDOT.

Mr. Keith asked if anyone knows the posted speed limit from the light at Strack’s to Alsip Nursery. Mr. Georgiou said that it changes twice. It is 45 mph then 55 mph. Mr. Keith asked where it changes to 55 mph. Does it hit 55 mph right before you get to Alsip. Mr. Kil said that he believes it changes right in front of the St. John Professional Center. Mr. Keith said that if he is waiting to turn left into Alsip Nursery and he has people coming 60-62 mph behind him, he is thinking to himself, “Please hurry up and go I have a guy coming 60 mph behind me.” It just makes no sense. Then we give the Alsip guy a hard time about some improvements he wants to make. Mr. Keith said that he was in the meeting and that he thinks we need to be a bit more business-friendly. We have to put things in place that are going to attract businesses, and if it takes a delegation of us to find out who is making these decisions in the State, Mr. Keith thinks that should be a focus for 2017. If we are lacking something to do, let’s put a delegation together to find out who is in charge and go down with some accident stats, some sales revenue stats, and say that we have to solve this problem. Mr. Keith said to look at the construction.

This is the biggest boom of his life. He remembers when Lancer Estates went in and then Schillton Hills. This boom is bigger than anything he has seen in his lifetime. All of the residents that are coming here want to shop here and they want to eat here. This is the challenge for Mr. Keith’s point-of-view.

Mr. Georgiou asked for clarification that when the Boyer Project is completed the service road will go from 96th theoretically to the Boyer development all the way to Alsip. Mr. Kil said that is accurate. Mr. Keith said that is what he is doing now. He turns in by Strack’s and winds around by Tractor Supply so he doesn’t have to turn left by Alsip.

Mr. Kil said to Mr. Keith that he was going to recommend he do that to save his own sanity. Mr. Keith said that is what he does, and he is clogging up traffic and it is not right. Mr. Kil told Mr. Keith that he has not heard one complaint that he is clogging up traffic because he’s making that frontage road movement.

(General Discussion Ensued.)

Mr. Kil said that unfortunately we know how INDOT is. This is not the Field of Dreams; you don’t build it and they will come. Unfortunately you have to have a jam somewhere first, and then they will take a look at it. Mr. Kil said it is similar to NIRPC. He was at a NIRPC meeting last week, and they are looking at the 2050 Plan. Mr. Keith asked what about the 2017 Plan. Mr. Kil said that they are apparently past that.

Mr. Georgiou said that he had heard that when INDOT did the recent resurfacing they were actually taking the survey along the stretch through St. John for potential center turn lane, right-of-way, etc. Mr. Kil confirmed that they are doing the survey work. He said that when they were doing the survey work at 93rd and Route 41, he told the INDOT guy that when they did that Mr. Kil was 15 years old and when they actually constructed it Mr. Kil’s son was 15 years old. INDOT is generational. They are collecting the data and doing the survey work. To get the money expended to even do the survey is a big step.

Mr. Georgiou asked if there were any other comments from the Committee on any of the items on the list of proposed new assignments.

Ms. Fezler said that she wanted to bring up, and it kind of piggy-backs off of what Mr. Keith was saying, and that is a beautification project for Route 41. Ms. Fezler feels like the corridor isn’t really beautiful. There is not a lot of greenery. There is 55-60 mph traffic flowing. It is the hub of our Town. So, she is wondering if we have given that any thought.

Mr. Georgiou told her that would be a difficult one. He knows the Chamber contributes the banners along 41. Ms. Fezler said that you cannot see them when you drive so fast. Mr. Keith said that he is not personally opposed to the fast driving, but it is trying to get out of the way of the fast drivers. Mr. Kil said that what Ms. Fezler is saying is what they are trying to accomplish when you have shopping centers come and you have a project like Boyer where they are going to tear down the old car wash and tear down the old lumber yard. When you have new development that displaces the old structures, that is when the beautification can start. Unfortunately, people own that property, and they will hang onto it until it is sold.

Mr. Barenie asked Mr. Kil if there has been any development with the K-Mart owner now that Boyer is coming in because those two areas would help a lot if they turn out the way they are in the diagrams. Mr. Kil said that he recently met with the owner of the K- Mart property. He is from Garden Properties. He recently flew into Chicago and Mr. Kil drove up to meet with him. He is actively marketing the site. He has the project plans for Boyer. He knows what is going to be done with 96th. He knows about the traffic light. He knows about all of that. He is actively marketing it, but Mr. Kil gets the sense that he wants to wait and see that everything goes in before he really starts pulling the plug on it. There is a lot of talk right now and the point is that he hasn’t seen the traffic signals go up. He is watching it and taking a keen interest in it now. He is reaching out to Mr. Kil, so he is actively watching St. John. Mr. Kil said that he has a feeling that the Boyer project will not just clean up that site, but it will start to clean up all the other sites. Once you get that kind of shopping center in, all of a sudden, it starts attracting all this other kind of business, and all of a sudden everything else starts going to.

Mr. DeYoung shared that in their private meeting, the owner of K-Mart said that he would start to develop some of those out-lots too when more people come along. So, it is going to be good, but we just have to wait and see. Mr. Kil said that, unfortunately, he is stuck in sort of a holding pattern right now. He is waiting for some of the other improvements to happen. He is afraid that if he starts too early then we will start to ask him to participate in some of the improvements. Mr. Kil said you never know what he is thinking, but he has his eye on St. John because he flew in and met with him.

Mr. Barenie asked Mr. Kil if he has any evidence that he is marketing this property more than he was marketing it three years ago or is that just what he says. Mr. Kil said that he was not marketing it three years; he wasn’t actively doing anything three years ago. Mr. Barenie reiterated that is what he told Mr. Kil, but he wants to know if he showed Mr. Kil that anything is different or that anything has changed over the last three years. Mr. Kil said no he doesn’t have any additional documentation to that effect. Mr. Setlak said that he thinks there is an additional “For Lease” sign on the front so there are now two of them. Mr. Kil said unfortunately if he would have sold the building, it would have been gone years ago, but he refused to sell it. We have had this discussion before.

Mr. Keith said that he stands to make a lot more money hanging onto it if something nice goes in across the street and all of a sudden his is more valuable. Mr. Keith thinks that he is probably just going to hang onto it. He is going to sit and wait. Mr. Kil said that the owner has repeatedly said that. Ms. Stoming asked how long the building has been vacant. Mr. Georgiou responded maybe five (5) years or more. Mr. Kil said since 2010, so seven (7) years now.

Mr. Georgiou said that he has just a curious question about when First Midwest bought Standard Bank. He wasn’t sure which bank they were going to keep, but apparently they are going to keep the big building. He added that he would think that parcel at the light there would be a prime parcel for development where the old branch bank stood. Mr. Georgiou asked if anyone knew what may come of that, or if that is something they are aware of. Mr. Kil asked where he is talking about. Mr. Georgiou said the old stand- alone branch bank right there on 97th. Clarified on the location, Mr. Kil said that he does not know about that on 97th. Mr. Georgiou said he is assuming that since they put a big sign on the building saying that they are going to vacate the old branch. Mr. Kil said that’s a reasonable assumption, but that he has not had anybody come in.

(General Discussion Ensued)

Ms. Fezler shared that she sits on a board with a young lady who works for Standard Bank, and she has indicated that they will be closing the Standard Bank building and moving to the First Midwest Bank location on 97th. Ms. Fezler added that this is unofficial. Mr. Keith asked if the old Standard Bank location will just be corporate offices, and if they will have any banking there. Ms. Fezler said that she does not know what will come of it, but that is what she was told. Ms. Hernandez said that is what her office was told as well. Mr. Kil said that he officially has no idea.

Mr. Georgiou stated that he recommends that we update the Metro Study, develop an Economic Development Committee tab or a website presence, and as part of that, look at the development parcels and make some conceptual studies etc. in terms of promoting the Economic Development of those issues. Mr. Georgiou said that he recommends that as a lead and then he recommends that hopefully the Town Council could fund those three items, or consider funding those three items, so that we could move forward with those. Mr. Keith asked Mr. Georgiou to repeat the third item again. Mr. Georgiou repeated: update the opportunity analysis, the Metro Study, create an Economic Development tab on the website, and then as part of that, we had discussions originally of identifying vacant parcels and actually hiring someone to create a concept plan that could be used if somebody wanted an idea of what could be done on a particular parcel. For example, if you took the Route 41 corridor and you had vacant parcels, you could say here are vacant parcels and here are concept plans of what could be built on those vacant parcels. They could be potentially put on the website or they could be handed out as needed. Mr. Kil said that it is a visual aid.

People are very visual and when you look at a vacant piece of property and then you look at that vacant piece of property built, people think wow I didn’t know that big building could fit on there.

Mr. Barenie asked if we could get some potential costs for those three items, so that the Council could take a look at them. Mr. Kil told Mr. Barenie that he and Mr. Georgiou were talking about that and would have to ask the Council for about a $30,000 budget. Mr. Barenie asked if they could put individual amounts in case the Council had questions or preferences of the three. Mr. Kil gave a breakdown: $15,000 for the Metro Study, $10,000 to develop sites for the US 41 Corridor, and they decided on $5,000 for the website. Mr. Georgiou added the $5,000 would cover costs like graphic design, additional photos, etc.

Mr. Setlak said he believes that at the last meeting there was a discussion about perhaps having some sort of meeting or gathering with certain commercial real estate types to promote the Town or get their ideas. He believes it was Mr. Austgen that brought that up. Mr. Austgen spoke and said the he was suggesting a round table of some sort.

(General Discussion Ensued)

Mr. Kil said that he agrees it would be a good idea to do that, but he thinks we should have some updated reports and things done to hand out at the meeting. We can say this is what we have done for the Town, now you can go out and work for the Town. We would be giving them the tools to do their job of going out and attracting business. Mr. Setlak said it would be good to get their feedback too. Mr. Kil said that we could answer any questions. If someone were to ask, “What kind of business do you need in St. John?” We can say here is what the Town needs based on the Metro Study and based on demographics. If someone were to ask, “What would look good here?” Actually, we do have something that would look good here and show it to them. So, those things help to answer the obvious questions.

Mr. Georgiou asked Mr. Austgen if his comments have to be a formal motion, or if his recommendations fly as stated. Mr. Austgen suggested that Mr. Georgiou solicit a motion, and make the three items mentioned an official part of the record. Mr. Setlak asked if all three had all been mentioned in the list. Mr. Barenie said that he does not believe the Metro Study was mentioned in there. Mr. Keith confirmed it was not. Mr. Setlak confirmed that the other two items were.

(General Discussion Ensued.)

Mr. Georgiou stated that he makes a motion that we recommend to the Town Council that the Economic Development Committee’s next assignments be: to provide an Economic Development tab on the website and develop that part of the website, create and identify development areas as part of the task for the website to potentially create concept plans for the parcels that are available for development, and update the Metro Study to bring it up-to-date with 2017’s statistics and standards; and that associated funding be approved for it.

Mr. Keith asked if discussion is still allowed because he personally agrees with the two items that were mentioned, but he is a bit rusty on the Metro Study because he has been gone for a few meetings. He asked when the last the Metro Study was done. Mr. Georgiou answered that in was last done in June 2014. Mr. Keith said then it probably is time to update it. We are probably exceeding projections. He doesn’t know if that is accurate, but when he drives around he feels like it. The Committee confirmed that we are significantly exceeding it.

Mr. Setlak stated that he would like to second that motion. The motion was carried by voice vote (7/0) Ayes---Seven. Nays---none.

Mr. Austgen suggested to the Committee that, as they develop the agenda for the next meeting, they consider adding those three items. Mr. Georgiou said that, assuming it passes the Town Council, he will do that and thanked Mr. Austgen.

Mr. Georgiou proceeded by telling the Committee members that if they have gone to the Town Hall lately, hopefully they have had the chance met the new Building & Planning Director Mr. Rick Eberly. Mr. Georgiou said he that he is happy to see him here in St. John, as Mr. Georgiou had worked with him before in Dyer. Also, Mr. Kil had a lot of work to do. Rick is a welcome addition to the Town of St. John and a good person to go say hello to.

REPORTS AND CORRESPONDENCE:

A. BOARD MEMBERS

Mr. Keith said that he has a friend that moved to Phoenix, Arizona. He has been out of the area for a while, and Mr. Keith just had lunch with him yesterday. He was born and raised in Schilton Hills. He got married and moved to Arizona; he wanted to come back and raise his family here. He asked Mr. Keith if he wanted to meet for lunch in St. John. Mr. Keith asked him where he wanted to go, and his friend asked him what places there were. So, they ended up at Bugerhaus in Schererville. That is just a comment that someone who hasn’t been here in a while was surprised that we don’t have more sit down restaurants. We know that, but again it is just something we’d like to see. They ended up going to Schererville and spending their money up there.

The second comment is about Mr. Keith’s daughter who is 18 and just graduated from Lake Central. Different from some of his other kids, she decided that she would like to stay local and go to school at Purdue Northwest, which is good. Mr. Keith said that he was driving down Route 41. They turned East on 231 and came up by Parrish Avenue.

His daughter said, “Dad, I don’t drive to this part of Town very much; I like the vibe down here. It is really kind of cool. Are there going to be more commercial buildings and restaurants, more things to do? If I decide to live in St. John I might like to live around here.” Mr. Keith said that came from an eighteen year old. So, he thinks we should have our eyes on that south portion. He doesn’t know where that fits in, but that is going to be a big boom area when this all fills up. So, the kids are excited about it, and Mr. Keith just wanted to share that.

Mr. Georgiou asked the Committee members for any other reports or correspondence.

Mr. Barenie said that he had none, but that he would make sure that he brought those three recommendations forward to the Town Council.

B. STAFF

Mr. Georgiou asked for any staff comment. There was no staff comment.

PUBLIC COMMENT:

Mr. Georgiou stated the meeting was open to public comment. Joe Hero, 11723 South Oakridge Drive:

Mr. Hero wanted to know what the plan is for Earl Drive. He asked if you look in back of McDonald’s, it gets a lot of pot holes, is that a dedicated street. Does the Town have to maintain it? It gets very narrow in the back of Eenigenburg. So, what is the plan for Earl Drive. Mr. Keith mentioned Alsip, and that road kind of wiggles down that way, so is that a dedicated St. John road.

Mr. Georgiou told him that as far as he knows, it is to be extended behind Al’s Auto- body and into the Boyer development.

Mr. Kil said Earl Drive that goes behind Strack’s and Target is platted ingress/egress easement. It is not a dedicated road right-of-way. Mr. Hero asked if it is then owned by the property owners and not the Town. Mr. Kil said yes, it is not a road right-of-way. It is an ingress/egress easement. Mr. Hero said that if you look at the width of that road, it is not wide enough for all of this economic development. Mr. Hero asked if the road right behind McDonald’s is a dedicated road. Mr. Kil said that he does not know right off the top of his head if that is a right-of-way or an ingress/egress easement. He has to look at the plat. Mr. Hero said that the reason he asks is because last year it was getting full of pot holes, so, he contacted Mr. Eenigenburg and Mr. Eenigenburg said that road is dedicated to the Town. Mr. Hero then contacted the Town to fix the pot holes, and the Town said that it is not theirs. Mr. Hero stated that if we are going to tie into Boyer, the question is if that is a dedicated road. If we do not have any control over it, how can we coordinate any development along that 41 corridor?

Mr. Hero said that he knows Mr. Keith is interested in the Alsip area as what he considers a hazard turning in there. So, if the Town is making a plan, they need to look at Earl Drive and figure out what they are going to do with that. If the Town does not own it, they can’t widen it. Mr. Keith talks about the curves. To Mr. Hero, he looks at the right-of-way going east and there are cones, that have been there for months, with a big hole in the road. So, the question is, how can the Town plan economic development when they don’t have control of a parallel road to Route 41. The road is not dedicated to or being maintained by the Town. It is narrow and has all those curves, so it is really a hazard if we are going to increase traffic along there. Mr. Hero asked if that is being addressed when the Town is planning, and if it is not being addressed, what are the Committee’s thoughts on Earl Drive?

Mr. Georgiou responded that he concurs with Mr. Hero’s comments. He believes that service road is going to be essential as this area continues to grow. Mr. Georgiou said that we can talk with the Town about maybe pressuring the property owners to maintain it, or see who has responsibility for that. He agrees that it is going to be a major secondary path through that new development over there.

Mr. Hero said that we can’t pressure the property owners to upgrade the road. The question is once that road has been traveled for twenty years, do they own it anymore? Has it become a public right -of-way? Mr. Hero thinks that somebody has to address the situation of Earl Drive.

(General Discussion Ensued)

Mr. Hero’s second comment is in regards to Mr. Keith’s concern about how we turn into Alsip. Mr. Hero asked Mr. Keith if his plan is to put a building in over there. Mr. Keith said that it scares him when he has to turn in there. He has a puppy that he has taken for shots three times in the last six weeks. So, he is worried about his wife getting rear- ended. That was his concern about Alsip.

Mr. Hero asked Mr. Keith again if his company is going to put a building up near there. Mr. Keith said that he is involved with a company that is putting a building back there, yes. Mr. Hero said that he was wondering because Mr. Keith mentioned that turn a couple times this evening. He said that if Mr. Keith is an equity owner or somehow connected to it and trying to influence this Board...

Mr. Keith stated he has been appointed to this Board because he is trying to make a difference and asked that Mr. Hero not accuse him of things like that as he is not an Elected Official. Mr. Keith said he is not trying to influence the Board for anything.

(General Discussion Ensued)

Mr. Georgiou asked Mr. Hero to please wrap up his comments. Mr. Hero asked if this Board is an official Board of the Town like all of the other Boards and Agencies because there’s an attorney here, and Mr. Hero thinks someone should ask him if Mr. Keith is developing a commercial building there does he then have a conflict of interest. If he does, then will he have to file the Conflict of Interest Statement. Mr. Hero thinks the Committee should address that.

Mr. Georgiou asked if those were all the comments from the floor. There were no other comments.

Mr. DeYoung asked if we could have Planning & Zoning give us an update on Earl Drive. He thinks that is appropriate for the Board and residents alike.

ADJOURNMENT:

Mr. Georgiou asked for a motion to adjourn. Mr. Setlak made a motion. Ms. Stoming seconded the motion. The motion was carried by voice vote (7/0). Ayes---seven. Nays---none.

(The meeting adjourned at 5:52 p.m.)

ATTEST:

____________________________________

Beth R Hernandez
Clerk-Treasurer

03-23-2017 Economic Development Committee

March 23, 2017 Economic Development Committee Minutes

NICK GEORGIOU, PRESIDENT MARK BARENIE STEPHEN KIL, TOWN MANAGER
WILLIAM KEITH, VICE-PRESIDENT GINA FEZLER BETH HERNANDEZ, CLERK-TREASURER
RICHARD SETLAK, SECRETARY KELLY STOMING DAVID AUSTGEN, ATTORNEY
JOHN DEYOUNG GINA FEZLER  

CALL TO ORDER:

Mr. Georgiou called the March 23, 2017 Economic Development Committee meeting to order at 5:03 p.m.

(The Pledge of Allegiance was recited by all.)

ROLL CALL:

Chief Deputy Clerk-Treasurer, Marilyn Hrnjak took roll call with the following members present: Nick Georgiou, Gina Fezler, William Keith, Richard Setlak, John DeYoung, and Mark Barenie. Town Manager, Steve Kil, was present. Attorney David Austgen was present. Ms. Kelly Stoming was absent. Clerk-Treasurer Beth Hernandez was absent.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES: February 23, 2017

Mr. Georgiou stated that the first item was the approval of the meeting minutes for February 23, 2017. He asked if there were any questions or comments on the minutes.

Mr. Keith then stated that he would like to make a motion to accept the minutes. Mr. DeYoung seconded the motion. The motion was carried by voice vote (6/0) Ayes---Six. Nays---none.

OLD BUSINESS:

A. The first meeting of the year was last month, and Mr. Georgiou wanted to note, for the record, the Officers that were elected for 2017.

(1) Nick Georgiou, President
(2) Bill Keith, Vice President
(3) Rich Setlak, Secretary

A. Boyer Development Project and Route 41 Traffic Improvements – Status Update on Schedule.
Mr. Georgiou stated that he and Mr. Setlak attended the Plan Commission Study Session where Mr. Boyer presented the synopsis of the project. Mr. Georgiou mentioned Mr. Boyer will be requesting a Public Hearing at the regular Plan Commission meeting next month. The Public Hearing for Boyer should then be the first meeting in May at the regular Plan Commission meeting. Mr. Georgiou asked if it is correct that the meeting would be for the PUD approval for the planning and zoning. Mr. Kil said that it would be for the commercial PUD. Mr. Georgiou asked it this is for the re-zoning. Mr. Kil answered affirmatively.

Mr. Barenie requested clarification on the dates. Mr. Georgiou clarified that the request for Public Hearing will be made at the April Plan Commission meeting and the actual Public Hearing will be held on May 3rd.

Mr. Austgen added that this is conditioned on the Town Council and Mr. Boyer passing the EDC Agreement at the April meeting prior to the May Public Hearing. Assuming those things happen, that would be the schedule. Mr. Kil said that looking at the schedule, everything is consecutive, but everything is laid out.

Once one thing happens the next thing can happen.

Mr. Austgen said that he just wanted to note, so that it’s clear for the record, that there are conditions preceding the Public Hearing on the project. Mr. Kil has worked out timelines with Mr. Boyer. There are deliverables precedent to action, at least to this point, unless it has changed by direction of the Town Council, and that hasn’t happened yet.

Mr. Georgiou stated that he would correct his comment and note that they expect to have a Public Hearing in May assuming they have all of their documentation in order. Mr. Kil added, “Assuming they meet every item on the schedule, yes.”

B. Review of Potential Commercial Developments and Residential Developments – Status Update.
Mr. Georgiou said that having attended some meetings, he knows that Three Springs still hasn’t been approved and keeps coming back. Levin Tires has been discussed. They are expected to come back with revisions. Circle K still hasn’t responded back to any of their original commentary.

Mr. Georgiou asked Mr. Kil if there are any other developments or projects he would like to fill them in on.

Mr. Barenie asked if there is something specific about Three Springs that keeps coming back. Mr. Kil said that the Plan Commission hasn’t taken action. They deferred it. They deferred the actual development plan. Mr. Barenie asked if it was anything more specific. Mr. Kil said that there was a specific question about the number of single-family units compared to the number of multi-family units. There was an alternate proposal at the last study session. Mr. Barenie asked if that was the study session where the developer kind of said this is what they are going to do no matter what and walked out. Mr. Kil said, no, that he did not do that. Doug Rettig was at the last study session and he suggested to the Board what they would like to change, and quite frankly, it wasn’t that much. He is not sure what the decision of the Board will be, but we will find out April 4th at the next Plan Commission meeting when they take a vote.

Mr. Barenie asked if Mr. Kil could give an estimate of how many are R1 and how many are R3. Mr. Kil said that he does not have the numbers right in front of him. Mr. Barenie said that he doesn’t need to know the exact number but just an estimate. Mr. Kil told him that the project has about 21 R1 lots, and they would have about 17-18 R3 lots (duplexes). Mr. Kil said that they are not proposing R1 at all. Mr. Barenie asked if it would be R2 then. Mr. Kil said that it would be R2- PUD because they would be smaller than R2 lots, and that seems to be the problem with the Board. Mr. Barenie said that he would like to get this group’s feedback right now because that ratio seems to be mostly R3 or 100% possibly. Mr. Kil said fifty percent possibly. Mr. Barenie said, okay, we will go with fifty percent even though R2-PUD is smaller than a normal R2.

Mr. Barenie said that what he has experienced with the Council over the last year is that we continue to bring more and more R3 in with the developments, which causes infrastructure complications that we hear about from a certain group of people…whether it’s about traffic, infrastructure, etc. Mr. Barenie said that he has to look from the resident’s point of view because Mr. Forbes is up here saying that we bring in eight percent to the Town. Mr. Kil said that is all a question of whether you use zoning, land-use, structures or units. The number changes depending on which one you use. Mr. Barenie said that he agrees with that, but either way, at some point, someone in the Town has to have a number or a range because we are saying eight percent or sixteen percent, yet we are bringing in these developments at fifty percent, fifty percent, fifty percent, etc. Mr. Barenie said that he is not saying that is wrong or right, but it does not mesh well with what residents and with what the policy has. He thinks it’s time that someone starts to spend the time and effort to define what we want. If we continue, we are going to end up with fifty percent R3.

Mr. Georgiou told Mr. Barenie that would be a drastic direction, but that he understands what he means. Mr. Barenie said that if you look at our last twenty or thirty developments that came in here, all of them are way above eight percent or twenty percent. So, they are leaning towards a higher number. Fifty percent was a ridiculous number to say. But are we looking for thirty percent or are we looking for forty percent?

Mr. Setlak asked for the definition of an R3. Mr. Barenie told him that it is multi- family housing, like duplexes, fourplexes, etc. Mr. Kil added that it is anything up to four units.

Mr. Georgiou said that he believes the perspective of Three Springs is that there is already a string of duplexes on the west-end of the property. So, if you follow the logic that transmission lines, pipe-lines easements, etc., tend to make single- family somewhat undesirable...although Mr. Georgiou is always amazed at things like Lake Hills backs up to railroad tracks and people will still build $600,000 houses there. But, in terms of a precedent, in Three Springs, there is already multi-family housing. Mr. Georgiou’s stated the proposed duplexes in Three Springs would be at $250,000 to $275,000 each for masonry duplex. So, from Mr. Georgiou’s perspective, it’s the price point, quality, and who is going to buy and move into the development. Mr. Barenie acknowledged that point and said that it is all a balance, but we don’t have any type of guideline to look at or at least evaluate year to year.

Mr. Georgiou said it would be worthwhile to look at the broad picture of the commercial development discussion as far as what comes in and what is available. When it comes to residential, what are the statistics and what percentage is multi-family or R3? What direction does the Town want to actually go in? Is eight percent an ordinance or guideline?

Mr. Kil said that the eight percent number came from back in 2004 when, at that time, our zoning districts were evaluated by the consultant, and it showed that about eight percent of zoned land for residential was zoned multi-family. Ninety- two percent was zoned single family R1 or R2. Mr. Kil said he will just speak in multi-family or single-family. There was a question that was posed on a survey that went out at that time. It asked about that structure of zoning classification. It asked if that was a good number to have eight percent to ninety-two percent. The answers came back that the zoning sounded like a pretty-good mix. That is where the eight percent came from. It is not written in an ordinance. It is nowhere other than a question that was asked in the previous comprehensive plan back in 2004.

Mr. Keith said that his only comment is best use of land. He agrees that if there are already a bunch of duplexes along the tracks, and that is the best use of that land and power lines, then we have to look at each development individually. It would be a “bummer” if somebody came in and wanted to develop Lake Hills into all fourplexes because it is so pretty there with all of the rolling hills. Mr. Georgiou said that exists; there is multi-family. Mr. Keith agreed but said “best use of the land”. And, is it quality? If you go into Briar Ridge in Munster, there are some people who built some quality condo buildings. They’re good quality and they’re expensive and people live there, and they look nice. Mr. Keith said nobody wants “vinyl-sided trash,” but if it’s good quality then okay.

Mr. Barenie reiterated that quality and common-sense use of land are the opinions he has heard so far. He doesn’t have an opinion, but he thinks we need to spend the time to talk about the issues both members have talked about. Also, the cost that comes with that too. There are other factors that impact the Town that we have to consider to some degree or at least to plan for at some stage. It is kind of a hot issue with the residents. We have a group that comes and talks about the R3.

Mr. DeYoung asked Mr. Barenie what the residents feel is a good balance. Mr. Barenie said that he doesn’t think there is a right number out there. We would have to do a little bit of a deeper dive into it. We would have to have a study session or two.

Mr. Keith clarified that “vinyl-sided trash” was directed at some of the developments that we have that are really-poorly built. Back when he had a remodeling company, he had a ton of repairs locally. There was a multi-family that was built very badly, and every time there was a windstorm, their siding was blowing off. He has vinyl siding on his barn, so that is not what he meant.

Mr. DeYoung asked Mr. Keith if he is asking for some parameters that the Town Council and planning and zoning can look at. Mr. Barenie said that if you don’t have something like that, it is just like running the Town without a master plan. How can we make decisions like that?

Mr. Keith said he believes we want less multi-family rather than more at least from a global perspective.

Ms. Fezler addressed that we are talking about zoning plans and stats from 2004. She asked if there is anything that can tell us more of where we are today. Mr. Barenie said the manual work Mr. Kil did puts us at a higher number of actual multi-family homes. To Mr. Kil’s credit, the definition of what is actually multi- family is what we cannot agree on. Ms. Fezler said that is fine, but she wants to know where we are at realistically.

Mr. Kil told her that the numbers he did show 16% multi-family units, and shows us at 8% multi-family structures and zoning. So, you can use a unit number, structure number, land-use number. It all depends on what number you want to use. Mr. Kil shared that he took into account the Preserve, Greystone, and every single development that was actually approved, and that is where the numbers came out, He also did a percentage of zoning classification. It is really simple to do with our mapping structure. With the way that we have our map laid out, if you understand what you are looking at, you can calculate it fairly simply. Similar to how we calculate our acreage in the Town, it is very similar to do with the way that it is laid out.

Mr. Georgiou said that he personally had a metro-study completed on property in Dyer. That was about ten years ago when he was active in Central referendum. They did a demographics study and it showed that the population is aging. The housing requirement, or need, is maintenance free, smaller foot-print, etc. If it is consistent with the price points that St. John wants to achieve, Mr. Georgiou thinks there is a big demand for that. He thinks that Denny Meyers hit a sweet spot. If you can sell duplexes for $350,000-$375,000, which there is a demand for, so if you put that in a desirable location, you could attract people who want to stay in St. John. You can attract people who want to retire in St. John and don’t want to have a single family home to maintain.

Mr. Austgen said that is only part of the story. That percentage of housing; multi verses single family, large lot verses tiny lot really begs the other topic that is presented to the Town Council regularly, and they are working on it, but that topic is that the rooftops are so far ahead of the infrastructure. We are so far out. We are in corn fields. Mr. Austgen said that in some of the areas like the south-west part of Town, we might as well get four-wheelers for some of the folks who are looking at and preparing to build or develop out there. The catch up of the infrastructure would be having roads that are passable, having intersections that are traversable, having time periods between here and there that are reasonable are all the reason that the eight percent was brought up. If the eight percent is being talked about in any other way than we are ignoring what they are screaming at us about.

Mr. Barenie said he is pushing a more balanced and strategic approach.

Mr. Georgiou added that the metro-study was the national leader study foundation. He asked if it would make sense to have them take it one step further with a study of the opportunity analysis. Would the Town consider having them take a look at the Town analysis? He is sure they would do it and look at what would be a mix of proposed housing that would be desirable while considering what the zoning requirements are in St. John?

Mr. Kil asked for clarification that Mr. Georgiou is asking for them to make a recommendation on what a benchmark should be for each type of zoning.

Mr. Georgiou responded that he is first looking at a demographics. Then, where St. John fits. He is sure they do analyses for developers all the time where they ask what is the best housing mix for this region. He believes we can tell them that the region is St. John, and ask them what they think is the best mix of housing with these demographics and where this is going. If we wanted some substance, we could have someone say that they took a look at this analysis. They looked at the comprehensive plan. They looked at the opportunity analysis, so they know what the demographics are.

Mr. Barenie said that he wants to stay focused on what he originally said. Mr. Georgiou said that he assumes that it would end up going to what would be the mix of single family to multi-family in that analysis. He said that from an EDC standpoint, he thinks that it would be worth while taking a look at. He is not saying codifying it, but taking a look in terms of what would be a nice blend of housing in St. John.

Mr. Barenie said that would be great, but he feels that the infrastructure side of it needs to be done as well. Mr. Georgiou agreed. Mr. Barenie added that he feels that it is never brought up except for some people.

Mr. Austgen said that infrastructure is the engine that gets all of these topics brought up. St. John is extremely desirable, but to get folks here and get folks out of here. Mr. Barenie noted that nobody wants to get the light on 93rd seven times on a Friday. Mr. Austgen said that St. John is not unique in this. Cedar Lake faces the same problem right now. Crown Point has some of that problem on its fringes. The Town of Winfield. All of the desirable, growing locations where it is safe and a great place to raise a family, where public services are excellent; people want to be here but can’t in some respects.

Mr. Barenie suggested that we have to look at our business structure too. If we look at Schererville, they have a lot more economic development that would support some of that infrastructure. So, that would have to be looked into when you compare one R3 versus another R3. Mr. Barenie said that we have to look at it high-level here.

Mr. Setlak said that we are talking about roads. Mr. Austgen said it is not just roads although roads are important. Mr. Setlak said that, of course, roads are important. They are important in Chicago too where they build twelve lanes and they still have a rush hour. It still gets clogged, no matter what. So, we build more roads, but for what? So that nobody stops? It never stops. Chicago still gets clogged no matter how much they do. When looking at St. John, Mr. Setlak looked at how many two-lane roads, aside from highway State roads, are there that are run by the Town or even the County. We have Route 41, Route 30 and the expressways. Other than that, there aren’t a whole lot of multi-lanes and for a variety of reasons; mostly cost. One thing that can help, that seems to get rejected all of the time, is having little connector roads all over the place. If you’re going out on 93rd you see that, “Oh, we have this little section from here to here”. We can make a road that allows for another way for people to leave. He used to do it all of the time while working in the city. If the roads were clogged, he would take an alternate route. Here, that is not possible.

Mr. Kil told Mr. Setlak that the same people that sit and scream about traffic will also sit and join the people in the subdivision that say don’t connect that road to my subdivision because more cars will come down my street and kill my kids.

Mr. Barenie said that it is the same thing when the roads were getting fixed. He asked a gentleman what he thought after Marquette was fixed and the gentleman said he didn’t like it now. Mr. Kil suggested that he said that because cars go too fast now. Mr. Barenie said yes, the gentleman said cars go too fast now. When they had potholes, they would go slow. They fixed the road, and it was probably a half of a million dollars.

Mr. Setlak said that he understands. Mr. Kil said that he understands that, of course, we have transportation problems. Rome wasn’t built in a day. We rebuilt 101st. We rebuilt Patterson. We redid Calumet. We are going to redo the intersection at Calumet and 101st. We are going to reconstruct Parrish & reconstruct 101st with a State grant. We are going to join with County and build a traffic signal at Calumet and 109th. So, to say that we haven’t been keeping up with road-ways is an incorrect statement. Phase 3 of The Preserve triggers the entire intersection improvement of White Oak and 101st. Phase 4 and 5 trigger the White Oak and 93rd improvement. Phase 6 will trigger Schillton Drive, or Waterleaf, whichever it is called. So, to say we haven’t been doing that is ridiculous. We are also in the process of implementing a Roadway Impact Fee. So, Mr. Kil believes that is a misrepresented statement. Roadways are one of our challenges. Our sewer challenges are being met right now. We have a four million dollar Lift Station going in that is going to be able to handle the growth on that side of Town as far as you can possibly take it. We have plenty of sewer infrastructure on the east side of Town. It is not a problem. We can go down 125th until we hit Cedar Lake; until we can’t go any farther. We are digging another well in The Gates right now to handle our water issues. We are working with Schillings right now for another well site; probably a treatment facility on the west side of Town where we want to get between 2,000-4,000 gallons a minute. That is what we shoot for. We can’t take anything less than 1,000. We have been blessed with a nice water supply in this community.

Mr. Kil said that he sits and listens to this all of the time. He hears the same things meeting in and meeting out and it never changes.

Mr. Barenie said that he has never heard what Mr. Kil just shared. Mr. Kil said that he has said this a thousand times, but no one wants to listen. The people in the audience do not want to listen.

Mr. DeYoung said those projects should have a gold star on them. The residents should see that. We should take out an ad in the local paper or put a flyer out sharing what the Town is doing to accommodate all of these things that are going on. That is a lot of work, and it is good work. The residents can be proud of that.

Mr. Kil said that he knows that. We are busy. Mr. DeYoung added that the residents have this beef all the time that they didn’t know about this or that and it is all misnomers. Mr. Kil said that if you read the minutes, the residents have been told, no less than a half of a dozen times what the numbers are and what we are doing. Yet, they stand up at the very next meeting. You can just read the minutes. The minutes bare it out. Yet, they will say that we are keeping stuff from them. It is simply not true. That is what the problem is. The motivation is political. The motivation is not the betterment of the Town. Mr. Kil said that we can all see that and we should say it like it is.

Mr. Georgiou stated that in regards to Mr. Barenie’s comment about multi-family and to Mr. Austgen’s comments about the infrastructure thoroughfare, to him the next logical step would be to take the comprehensive plan. If we say that the Town is going to build out to a certain point, we will have stuff already plugged in. Take the thoroughfare plan, which is part of the comprehensive plan, but take it to the next level. For example, saying that 93rd will be a three lane highway, and it is going to cost X million dollars. Whatever the other infrastructure is, we should tack it to the comprehensive plan with whatever the dollar amount is. It might not happen in two years; it might be fifteen years from now. Wouldn’t the Town want to have a master plan, an infrastructure master plan, our guidelines for housing, and what the Town is going to look like?

Mr. Kil said that, no doubt, Mr. Barenie’s question has merit. If we want some kind of planning guideline that gives a range of where we probably should be, we would have to look at each individual project. Are there idiosyncrasies? Are their tower lines running in the backyard? Do they have high-pressure pipelines running next to them? Is there a railroad next to them? Mr. Kil understands Mr. Barenie’s point that maybe the Committee should come up with at least a guideline like we have our comprehensive plan. There is nothing that says that you have to do what’s in it, but at least there is something that can serve as a guide.

Mr. Barenie said that he wants a guide, but he wants it to include the infrastructure. Outside of the infrastructure, it should advise that we might need another fire station once this development is done, or we need more policemen. It should all be tied together so that we know that we are thinking of it when we get to that range.

Mr. Keith said that he does not see how that would be hard to do. Don’t we all do that? He said that back in the banking days, he was working with a bank and they were debating whether they should locate in St. John or consider going to Porter or LaPorte Counties. All of the studies that they had from Indiana University said that there was no growth over here on the border, and it was all going to be Valparaiso. So, they really made an effort to build more branches and do everything out there. The point Mr. Keith is making is that every business does that. They look at the potential market and decide how many Chipotle’s they are going to put in. How many Starbucks are we going to allow to go in.

Everybody does that, so how hard is it for a Town to say this is the border and this is the amount of traffic we are going to have? Like Mr. Georgiou said, we can put a number on it, and silence some of the people by saying come and see the plan. If somebody wants to start a fundraising campaign to raise the fifteen million dollars that we need to expand Cline Avenue, we would appreciate it. Mr. Keith thanked Mr. Barenie for bringing it up in the meeting. He said that we could really use a bull to spearhead this thing because we do need to raise twenty million dollars to do that.

Mr. Barenie said that he thinks it could be done, and he thinks that a lot of businesses do it. There is also another part to this too that Mr. Barenie and Mr. Kil have started to work on. Mr. Barenie pushed Mr. Kil to do this for the last thirty days with the help of our financial advisor. We don’t get financial reports and we don’t get forecasts. So, Mr. Barenie asked for a five-year financial plan to be developed. We have that number now, so you have to marry that to this plan that we are kind of talking about, so that it all kind of comes together. You can’t do something like this without all of the right information. You’re exposing yourself to making a mistake if you don’t have all of the critical pieces. Finances would obviously be a big piece of that. What Mr. Kil just rattled off about the sewer and the water has never been summarized like that. Mr. Barenie has never heard it that way, and he agrees with the earlier comment that maybe we need to display what we are doing. We are not as “dumb” and behind as we think. There is a lot of planning that has been done and that is part of it. Mr. Barenie said that he doesn’t care about the nay-sayers because there are always going to be “red ants”. He is saying to do this for the other people that he cares about. The ones that aren’t here. The silent majority.

Mr. Setlak said that there is some hidden infrastructure. Nobody says anything about the water unless it doesn’t work. Mr. Barenie said that we actually got a lot of comments from Mr. Hero and the group because we raised the water rates four bucks a month. Mr. Setlak said that some things change over time. He addressed the “older” class. They don’t want to do maintenance; they want someone else to do it for them. They want it simple. They want to stay here, but they want to go somewhere else for a few months if they have the means. High- maintenance isn’t something they want like lots of acreage where you can go out and spend eight hours cutting your grass. We have the price point because they want the certain amount of multi-family to remain nice. When you go the group’s website, they are talking about rentals and Section-8. People are wondering if that is a possibility as far-fetched as it might be. Who says a multi-unit has to be all rentals? Mr. Setlak doesn’t think Three Springs or anybody is talking about that. Mr. DeYoung stated that it is the Homeowner’s Association; it is in their covenant whether or not they will prohibit rentals.

Mr. Keith said that we are talking about two different things here. If we need, as a Town, to have the comprehensive plan include more action steps then Mr. Keith is all for us doing that because we need it to move forward. Or, are we doing it just to appease a few regulars that are going to oppose anything? Coincidentally, Mr. Keith was shopping this week and he bumped into a business owner in St. John who reminded him that the same person who stands up at every single meeting we have and throws stones, protested K-Mart before K-Mart was put in. That person remonstrated against K-Mart saying that it was going to bring in all sorts of riff-raff. When growing up, K-Mart was the best thing that happened to the Town because people didn’t have to go to Schererville. He could get a quart of oil. He could get paper towels for his mom, and he could get his prescription fulfilled all in the same store. K-Mart served its purpose. Sure, it is an abandoned building now, but it served its purpose in the time that it needed to be here. It was a good decision. Thank goodness we had leadership that allowed it to go through and didn’t listen to the tail wagging the dog. So, there are two separate things.

We cannot let a small group of people dictate what the Town does. We can’t continue to let that happen.

Mr. Barenie said that he doesn’t think that ever has happened. Mr. Keith agreed but mentioned it is definitely a speed bump and, at the very least, it is aggravating. Mr. Barenie said that it has gotten to some committee members more than others. Mr. Barenie said that his thoughts for not for the nay-sayers. Rather, if you had a business, you would want financial forecasting. We all do it, and we need to be more sophisticated because times are different.

(General Discussion Ensued.)

Mr. Setlak said that Mr. Kil has mentioned before about getting updates about things like the metro-study due to things changing. It is the same thing with the financial stuff. Things in the forecast change.

Mr. Barenie said that for all of the people that make decisions on the Council would have a hard time saying that we wouldn’t make better decisions with more information.

Mr. Setlak said that things get clearer when you are closer to the point in time. When you are one week out, you have a pretty good idea of what’s going to occur. Five years out, it gets a little murky. Ten to fifteen years out, it gets even murkier on all accounts. However, it is good to have something you can look at in terms of where things are. You will be able to say that last time we looked we had 5 million coming in and now we are down to 3.5 million; what did we miss or what is going on?

Mr. Barenie said that we can really ask those questions from the five year plan. It is done really nicely. Mr. Setlak said that he would like to see that on a lot of stuff. The financial is fine, although he is kind of surprised that hadn’t been going on until this point. As far as looking ahead and forecasting, working on a budget is looking ahead.

Mr. Kil noted that we do a forecast from year to year. Every year, when we do the budget, we forecast. Mr. Kil clarified that Mr. Barenie had recently asked for a five year, which is out further, but that there is a forecast done annually. Mr. Setlak said that annual is fine, but he is looking at a little further.

Mr. Kil said we know what developments are booming; we know what isn’t. We know how many houses we’ve been building. We know how many vacant lots we have, but the point that Mr. Barenie is making is that he wants something more comprehensive. He is making that point with a lot of things, and this is just one aspect of it.

Mr. Barenie said that is correct. When you look out at twelve months, there are different kinds of expenses. When you hire staff, those staff costs snowball and they are with you forever unless you get rid of people. So, when you add a couple of people, those costs continue to add up. You have to make sure that you are looking out a little ahead to say that we have money in the bank account, and we can pay out another person for this year. Then we want to make sure we have it the next year and the year after that, etc. When we get requests for additional police officers from the chief and the Fire Department’s staffing requests, it would be nice to say here are the numbers, so maybe we can do one or maybe we can do two. Mr. Barenie said that he guesses this is kind of new to us right now.

Mr. Keith said that it would seem, that if we look at the potential for what the metro study is saying, that we could be at 40,000-60,000 residents. We can look at what type of infrastructure do we need to sustain 40,000-60,000 residents.

Also, a community with 60,000 people with this mileage needs this many police officers, and it needs three fire stations, and it needs so many water towers. That just seems like it should be a reasonable thing to do.

Mr. Barenie added that he does think we are doing a good job as far as how we are doing it right now, but if you want to avoid mistakes, and you want to do the best, a little planning would help. Mr. Keith said he thinks we are a little more reactive rather than proactive, but it is hard when you are managing public funds to be so proactive as far as overbuilding something. So, it is a hard thing to know how much do we proactively grow things.

Mr. Kil said to Mr. Keith that you have look at the perspective of what the tax rates are, what the tax bills are, and what people are going to pay. So, then you look and think can we do all of these things? Yes, we could if we had unlimited money and if everybody was paying 20 grand a year in taxes. But, you can’t do that. You have to keep things reasonable. If you look at the Boyer Project you can think of, perhaps, using TIF money where the commercial will offset and pay the debt. Then you have people standing here saying that they don’t want to connect the road. Well, wait a minute those people were just saying that we don’t have enough roads, and we can’t get around Town. So, we want to build a brand new one, but that is not good because it doesn’t happen to be where you want it. Mr. Kil said that he is tired of hearing that.

Mr. Kil mentioned in this State, we get nothing from sales tax. Commercial developments raise the assessed value, which lowers the tax rate and keeps the residential properties in check. Mr. Kil said that is something that commercial development does do other than generate building permit fees and allow you to build infrastructure. We are limited by what this State will allow us to do. We are not a home-rule State like everybody is used to coming from Illinois. Nobody can believe that we don’t get sales tax. Mr. Kil is asked that question ten times a week. When you are looking at doing all of these things you have to look at that aspect. How much is too much? What is fair? How much do people want to pay? Like Mr. Barenie said, we have done a great job. We are in a fantastic financial position. We can sit back and we can look at these things. We can go ask INDOT for a million dollars, and we can back it up with a million. We can do this because we have saved the money. We are not over-staffed, and we don’t get crazy with things. Could we use more? We could always use more. If you’re asked if you want more, well absolutely, but do you absolutely need it? Can you make it work? The numbers don’t lie. We have the highest median income. We have the highest housing values. We don’t issue tax anticipation warrants. We have the lowest tax rate. Those are the facts. Those are the numbers that exist right now. They are not going that bad. Can they be better? Well, they can always be better, but you have to balance it. You can’t just afford to do everything.

(General Discussion Ensued)

Mr. Georgiou said that this item of potential development in Three Springs sparked a lot of interesting conversation, and he thinks that this should be brought up again.

C. Status of Items Recommended to Town Council for Action by EDC:
Mr. Georgiou said that last meeting we made a recommendation for three specific items that were called out of the twelve items that were presented. We asked that they be considered at tonight’s Town Council or Executive Commission meeting. We hope to get some feedback and hopefully these items will continue on to some assignment in the next meeting. Then we can have a more detailed discussion about these items.

(1) Update Metrostudy Opportunity Analysis, which was last prepared in June 2014.
(2) Develop an Economic Development “tab” on the Town of St. John website and include all relevant development exhibits and items there.
(3) Develop exhibits for areas available for development with proposed layouts. Identify areas currently for sale or available in the commercial areas of St. John. Provide and list this information in the Economic Development “tab” noted in item above.

NEW BUSINESS:

Mr. Georgiou asked for any new business.

Mr. Keith asked what is happening with the pipeline going in at Route 231. He asked if that is a natural gas line. Mr. Georgiou asked if it is the Trans-Canada replacement. Mr. Keith asked if it had anything to do with our infrastructure that is going in near the nature preserve. Ms. Fezler asked if that is a NIPSCO project. Mr. Kil asked Mr. Keith if he is talking about six inch yellow pipe. Mr. Keith said that it is six inch, but it is not yellow. It is more of an orange rusty color, and that it is all being welded. Mr. Kil said that he will have to look because that is not NIPSCO; that is pipeline. Mr. Keith said that he thought it had something to do with that intersection. Mr. Kil said that they are doing utility relocation to accommodate the intersection improvement. So, that could be part of it.

We are not doing that; the county is doing that, so Mr. Kil is not intimately involved with what utilities are going to be moved where. Trans-Canada is going through The Gates right now. They are going to start replacing that pipe in August. Mr. Georgiou asked Mr. Kil if that is also the one that runs through the Three Springs last phase or adjacent to. Mr. Kil said that is correct.

REPORTS AND CORRESPONDENCE:

A. BOARD MEMBERS

Mr. Georgiou asked for any reports or correspondence from the Board. Mr. Barenie said that his only item was what he brought up earlier. There were no additional reports or correspondence from any other members.

B. STAFF

There was none.

PUBLIC COMMENT:

Mr. Georgiou stated that there were no public members in attendance.

ADJOURNMENT:

Mr. Georgiou asked for a motion to adjourn. “So moved,” by Mr. Setlak. Mr. Barenie seconded the motion. The motion was carried by voice vote (6/0). Ayes---six. Nays--- none.

(The meeting adjourned at 5:51 p.m.)

ATTEST:

____________________________________

Beth R Hernandez
Clerk-Treasurer

04-27-2017 Economic Development Committee

April 27, 2017 Economic Development Committee Minutes

NICK GEORGIOU, PRESIDENT MARK BARENIE STEPHEN KIL, TOWN MANAGER
WILLIAM KEITH, VICE-PRESIDENT GINA FEZLER BETH HERNANDEZ, CLERK-TREASURER
RICHARD SETLAK, SECRETARY KELLY STOMING DAVID AUSTGEN, ATTORNEY
JOHN DEYOUNG GINA FEZLER  

CALL TO ORDER:

Mr. Georgiou called the April 27, 2017 Economic Development Committee meeting to order at 5:02 p.m.

(The Pledge of Allegiance was recited by all.)

ROLL CALL:

Clerk-Treasurer, Beth Hernandez took roll call with the following members present: Nick Georgiou, Gina Fezler, Kelly Stoming, Richard Setlak, John DeYoung, and Mark Barenie. Town Manager, Steve Kil, was present. Attorney David Austgen was present. William Keith was absent. Kelly Stoming left at 6:07 p.m.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES: March 23, 2017

Mr. Georgiou stated that the first item was the approval of the meeting minutes for March 23, 2017. He asked if there were any comments or a motion on the minutes.

Mr. DeYoung stated he would like to say, “Good job” on compiling the minutes and that he would like to make a motion to approve the minutes. Mr. Setlak seconded the motion. The motion was carried by voice vote (6/0) Ayes---Six. Nays---none.

OLD BUSINESS:

A. Boyer Development Project and Route 41 Traffic Improvements—Status Update on Scheduler.
Mr. Georgiou asked for an update on the key dates and schedule for the Boyer Project. Mr. Kil stated they are still moving forward and working on the EDC Agreement. Mr.

Boyer is working on site plans and things of that nature. He is in the process of gathering documents to appear at a Public Hearing in front of the Plan Commission. Mr. Boyer will be requesting a Commercial PUD.

Mr. DeYoung asked if that hearing would be May 3rd. Mr. Kil answered no, and explained that it is has been pushed back approximately a month simply for due diligence. Mr. Kil thinks the Public Hearing will probably now be held in June.

Mr. Georgiou asked if Mr. Boyer was expected at the May Plan Commission meeting to request a Public Hearing. Mr. Kil stated he has already been granted approval to advertise for the Public Hearing and reiterated it is just due diligence as far as obtaining documents requested by legal counsel; Mr. Boyer just needs a little more time.

Mr. Barenie stated that he spent a couple of hours meeting with Mr. Boyer, Mr. Austgen, and Mr. Jorgensen reviewing the development and finances, and Mr. Jorgensen followed up with Mr. Boyer today.

Mr. Georgiou stated it is expected that the Public Hearing will be in June. Mr. Kil affirmed that was correct.

B. Review of Potential Commercial/Residential Development—Status Update
Mr. Georgiou asked if there were any other project updates that have been discussed in the past. He mentioned he could only think of what has transpired with Levin Tire. Mr. Kil stated Mr. Levin and his engineering team attended another staff meeting where he is trying to redesign his project pursuant to some of the requests by the BZA including the orientation of the building and things of that nature. There was a very productive staff meeting about two weeks ago, and he believes Mr. Levin will be back into a Plan Commission Study Session in May and will appear before the BZA towards the end of May if necessary. Mr. Levin may be able to orient the building in such a way that it is not required to have a variance. Mr. Levin is working on the building, and they did have a very productive staff meeting, so that project is still moving forward.

Mr. Gerogiou asked if there were any other potential development updates. Mr. Kil stated the Town Council is entertaining an annexation tonight at the southwest corner of 109th/231 and Parrish. He stated there are two lots there; there is a little house that sits on the corner, and there is a piece of property that sits next to it. Mr. Kil added there is also a substation for NIPSCO that sits there. Mr. Kil believes there are 220 feet of frontage and the depth is over 400 feet. He stated the property owner is Galouzis. He mentioned that the first reading of the ordinance will be at tonight’s Town Council meeting.

Mr. Kil mentioned that a lot of people call and ask about different pieces of property; however, there is really nothing of substance to report right now.

C. Status of Items Recommended to Town Council for Action by EDC:
Mr. Georgiou stated they had recommended three items out of a list of 12 for EDC assignments. Mr. Kil stated Mr. Barenie brought the items to the Town Council and garnered their support for it. He stated the EDC can begin working on these three projects.

(1) Update Metrostudy Opportunity Analysis Study which was last prepared in June 2014

Mr. Georgiou stated he believed the analysis study proposal would need to be sent out unless that was already done. Mr. Kil stated he has spoken with them, but he does not have a proposal yet. He stated he would call Mark Gianopulos from Metrostudy and would follow up on that and get a quote for the Board to consider.

Mr. Kil stated he would also ask Mr. Gianopulos to provide a briefing at an EDC meeting and make sure the Town is moving in the right direction.

Mr. Georgiou stated he revisited the old study and believes it contains valuable information, but we just need it updated since it is three years old.

Mr. Kil stated that anyone who is thinking of relocating to our community requests the study. He stated it is a very helpful document, and he has handed it out a lot. He mentioned it has a lot of great data in it.

(2) Develop an Economic Development “tab” on the Town of St. John website and include all relevant development exhibits and items there.

Mr. Georgiou stated he was not sure how they would proceed with the development of the “tab”.

Mr. Kil stated he would think a couple of members of the EDC would sit down with the IT Director and go through that. He asked if the EDC could lay out the way they envision it looking—what materials do you want, what links do you want, etc, and we can get a scope of work on that. Mr. Kil stated we would need to see if Mr. Dravet, the Town’s IT Director, can do this or if we need to farm it out. Mr. Kil suggested the EDC committee pick a couple of people to chair this portion of the workload.

Mr. Barenie asked how old the current website platform is. He recognized some additions have been made, but asked, approximately, how old is the site? Mr. Kil answered it is around 17 or 18 years old. Mr. Barenie stated he felt a consultant would recommend that the Town can have all of the content they would like, but the format might not work as well as it should. Mr. Barenie stated the site needs to be modernized as 17 years is three times too old. He feels it should be updated every six years or so. Mr. Georgiou asked who created the website. Mr. Kil answered that he believes the website was created internally. Mr. Kil stated that the website design can be part of the scope of this assignment. Mr. Barenie stated he felt it was time for a “real” website and maybe the website design can be part of the scope of this assignment.

(General discussion ensued.)

Mr. Georgiou stated he knows several Towns already have an Economic Development Tab. He stated The City of Hammond has a tab and even lists available properties, a list of Economic Development opportunities, programs, etc. He stated the EDC needs to put a group together and lay out what the tab should include. He envisions tabs for residents, businesses, etc. Mr. Barenie suggested not hiring the company who created Lake County’s website because he gets lost on that site. The other members were in agreement.

Mr. Georgiou stated we would put together a group that was interested and have a meeting with Mr. Kil and Mr. Dravet.

(3) Develop exhibits for areas available for development with proposed layouts; Identify areas currently for sale or available in the commercial areas of St. John. Provide and list this information in the Economic Development “tab” noted in item above Mr. Georgiou stated they need to update their zoning map. Mr. Kil stated they have used a few consultants in the past and the one that comes to mind is Ms. Jenna Ryan. Mr. Kil asked if the EDC had anyone in mind that could be invited to a meeting and develop a proposal based on the scope of work provided. Mr. Georgiou stated he could come up with a few recommendations.

(General discussion ensued.)

Mr. Kil stated he does not have a clear scope of work on this and that they would need to come up with the number and type of parcels. He stated they would have to do a bit of legwork before meeting.

NEW BUSINESS:

A. Proposed Auto Condominium Development on Route 41—North of Aspen Café
Mr. Georgiou stated this is a unique project to St. John. He stated the EDC has been asked to listen to this proposed project from a business standpoint. He said the EDC will ask questions and see how it fits into Town. Mr. Georgiou mentioned Mike Gelatka will be in charge of the project.

Mr. Gelatka stated that he, along with his brother, Kevin, will be owners. He stated he has a five-minute YouTube video of a newscast about a similar project in a different state that he felt would be more informative than talking about the project himself. He stated the nearest project is Iron Gate in Naperville.

Mr. Gelatka stated he lives in Edgewood Subdivision and his brother, Kevin, lives in Dyer. He stated his family has owned the property for about 12 years, and it was purchased in 2005 or 2006. He stated, at the time, his family owned St. John Pub on 41 and their intent was to have a retail center there and move their bar to serve as one of the anchors. They presented it in 2006, and they were excited about moving forward.

He said the economy got in the way, and the property just sat. They have tried to sell the property at various times, but Realtors have told them it is not the right size, and it is at the bottom of a hill. They had hoped to work with the State and obtain a traffic light there to give the property some possibility, but it does not seem like a legitimate option now especially with the Town’s focus moving south.

There were some questions on the location of the property. Mr. Gelatka clarified that it is north of Aspen Café. It is at the southwest corner and it goes all the way back to the railroad tracks. He stated it is triangular shaped.

Mr. Gelatka stated they are at the point where they can continue to try to sell it and receive low offers or try to make something out of it. They have had the idea of the Auto Condo for a while. They came across one in Naperville, and there is also one in Joliet, but it is attached to a racetrack, which makes it slightly different. He stated it is a good, low traffic location, and there will be “x” number of units, and people will come and go. He stated if there was an event, there would be more traffic, but that it would be no different than a Sunday morning at a breakfast restaurant. They do not believe it will generate traffic issues. They have looked at retail, but Realtors have not been positive that they would be able to build something and have people come to it.

He stated he does not have the funds to self-fund something just to “take a shot at it.”

Mr. Gelatka stated he would like to present his idea to the EDC because most people have not heard of this type of business. He wanted to put together a presentation to show the idea, but, obviously, the size they would build would be much smaller. He stated most of these are on 20 to 200 acre lots and they are trying to build for the long term. He knows they do not have 200-400 people out here interested in purchasing a lot. He is looking at 30-40 units. It will be a good number where you can have a lot of cars and people can get together.

Mr. Gelatka stated that the Crossroads Motor Condos concept was built on St. John’s well known interstates that cross the Country. He stated that you have 41 that runs right through here, 30 runs from coast to coast, and Route 66 is just miles away. The Indianapolis 500 is the most famous auto event that takes place in Indiana. He stated that vehicles are the lexicon here, and we have a lot of people that love old vehicles and collectibles. Almost every night, in the area, you can stop by a bar and see a car show. These are the type of people who will be first attracted to something like this.

Mr. Gelatka stated this is a cultural and economic improvement. The documents he has provided show a snapshot of what the property looked like 12 years ago, and it has not changed much. This will be unique to the area and something other regional Towns do not have. It will bring people to the area during special events, and people who buy these units will come from an hour away.

Mr. Georgiou asked if the driveway to access the property was on his property or Aspen Café’s property. Mr. Gelatka stated the driveway is on their property. He mentioned Aspen Café’s property used to be a truck stop with a hotel on it, and he believed it was the Schilling’s property. He stated, at one point, the property was parceled out and sold to Aspen Café. He added the driveway will be there forever; they will not be able to block that access.

Mr. Barenie asked what he thought the investment would be to get the project started. Mr. Gelatka stated he would want preliminary approval of the concept and have architects come and give site plans to make sure everyone is on the same page and then go out for presales. The architect he would use is the same one who put together The Iron Gate and is very familiar with the issues. The architect just got back from Palm Beach, Florida where the town is very excited about locating one there.

Mr. Barenie asked if the financial part was down the road. Mr. Gelatka stated they will be able to put up what is needed. They have already put over one million dollars into the property, just sitting on it and for engineering. They want to make something out of it, so they will do whatever is necessary financially. He does not want to build it and hope they will come. He would rather get concept approval, make sure there is really a market for this and then build it so everyone is happy from day one.

Mr. Gelatka stated the auto condos are proven concepts that you can find in other suburban areas. The original one is the one on the right called Auto Motor Plex out of a Minneapolis suburb. The Stone Gate Motor Plaza is on the bottom left and is out of Kansas City, Missouri. Iron Gate is the one Mr. Forbes looked at and you can see in Naperville. The architect we are working with is in the process of putting one together in Palm Beach, Florida. There are other examples, but these are the ones Mr. Gelatka is most aware of. Mr. Gelatka stated it is a place to share your passion for motorized vehicles. He clarified that it doesn’t have to just be vehicles; if someone loves motorcycles, there is a place for that too.

Mr. Gelatka wanted to put together two basic types of units. Sometimes a second level would be added. Pricing is different; some people just buy it and do the internal work themselves. He added some people might come in and just go all out. He stated he would show some examples of that, but, ultimately, the space is all customizable. You can have a full garage, a work space, and an office. As you will see in the video you will see people using it almost as a getaway. Some people go to the lake for the day and some want to go to their auto condo to “fart” around with their cars, leave the garage door open, and talk to their friends. It is family fun and family friendly. He hopes generations of families will play together under the same roof. These places usually open up one to two times a week to the public or will have “Cars and Coffee” where people drive up and just sit around and talk shop with people. In addition to just using these as garages, local dealerships will get a unit or two and use them to hold VIP events. He stated in the picture, it shows they brought tables in and made it a semi- formal to formal event. He sees the Buick dealership having a preshow before revealing a new Buick and invite their best customers to take a look at the new car. Mr. Gelatka sees these type of events being a real possibility if it is done right.

Mr. De Young asked what the size of the units are. Mr. Gelatka stated the sizes vary and Naperville has some back to back units due to their size. He sees their units lining the perimeter and being 60 x 80 feet deep. Then there will be variable sizes. Once he has some approval, he will see what sizes are wanted. He believes there are enough people with money and interest. He might not have the half million dollar units with the Bentleys and multiple Ferraris, but he might have some blue collar guys who want to throw their cars in there and have fun in a man cave.

Mr. Gelatka stated this is a different kind of driving range. He stated the picture shows people have the garage half open, and people are hanging around with each other. In another picture, a guy has his VW bug and people are walking around talking shop and about their love of cars. Another picture depicts a viewing invitation to the US Grand Prix. It is for motorsports enthusiasts, and they are creating a bond together. It is the cultural bond they are hoping to achieve.

Mr. Georgiou asked if there was a common area or club space. Mr. Gelatka stated he did not think so. He has been to the one in Naperville and said the owner usually has the first unit and it is usually bigger. He added people will usually have two or three units. There is no common space under the roof, but there is open roadway. He talks about a picture depicting a family playing ping pong in the road, but he does not know of any common space under the roof.

Mr. Gelatka showed pictures of car shows and people opening the gates and coming and looking at all of their stuff. It could also be used for charitable events under the roof or even when you have car events for a good cause. The picture on the right is when The Iron Gate uses its building for an event when children have Spinabifida.

Mr. Gelatka stated that, as a straight economic and business opportunity, it allows for new businesses to pop up around the area and benefits existing businesses when you have that many car enthusiasts in one area. He stated it could be detailers, high end service centers, retailers of classic collectable cars, after-market items, restoration, and reproductions, which are all located at The Iron Gate.

Mr. Gelatka showed how these auto condos are more than just storage for cars. He stated these are people’s getaways. He stated the pictures depict people’s patios in Kansas City off the top. He stated if you run some buildings along the railroad tracks, you have more open areas.

Mr. De Young asked if he had a design plan for every unit or does each customer have their own style they can do. Mr. Gelatka stated it is up to the customer. Some of the pictures showed very basic units that did not have a loft and some more advanced. All of the units could be different. He feels early purchasing is best because you can see the different costs of just the shell, the cost with the steel in there or to have a second floor. It lets people decide what they want to do and come in and add whatever they want and make it look like home. Mr. DeYoung asked if he would have a plan for two or three basic models that people can build out from. Mr. Gelatka stated he believes that is the plan, but that is why he would be hiring the architect who has been through the process before. The architect would help guide him through the process and preliminary walls.

Ms. Stoming asked if the patios were built off the garages or if that was a common area. Mr. Gelatka stated, from the picture, it is built off of an end unit. He added you would probably pay more for that end unit that has the patio. He would like a walk-out patio built on the second floor, so it’s almost like an apartment or condo patio where people would sit out there and relax. Some of them are off the front so you can sit out there during a car show. Mr. Gelatka feels this type of concept will attract local buyers and high end customers from up to an hour away. It will be a project our town can be proud of. This is why he wanted to find something to do with the property so he can be proud of it since it is just a gravel pit right now. He stated they think it will bring outside money into St. John that will help local business. There would be 30-40 people on the weekends or rare events that would bring a lot more people.

Mr. Gelatka showed some additional pictures of outdoor patios in front that are over the garage. He stated they can be in the front or off the back—however the customer would like to configure it. He shows one picture with a car in the garage and a bar on the main level. Additional pictures show people walking around and being enthusiastic about motor vehicles. Some can even be big enough for RV storage. He has looked at the houses in St. John, and there are not many four-car garages. If you look at a family with three kids, you are going to have a lot of cars. He stated he has a three-car garage himself, and it is not enough for him. Mr. Gelatka thinks it is an exciting proposition.

Ms. Fezler asked if there are employment opportunities and how is it monitored or managed. Mr. Gelatka stated he thinks there would be room for some small employment in order to keep the association running. There might be more needed during the buildup for sales. Since it will only be 30-40 units, it will be different than the 200 unit buildings where they could have someone full time creating events. He stated he would be lying if he said there would be tons of employment because he doesn’t see where it would be unless they did some sort of auto retail. It really comes down to the design whether the auto retail even makes any sense.

You Tube Video played depicting the Auto Condo Concept.

Mr. Kil and Mr. Barenie exit the meeting.

Mr. Gelatka asked if there are any comments, thoughts, or questions after viewing the video.

Mr. Georgiou stated he had a couple of questions. After viewing the space, he asked if there are any considerations for the exterior aesthetics—what it looks like to the surrounding communities and how it blends in. He mentioned it is not a strip center, and he knows Mr. Gelatka is not at that point yet, but it says, aesthetically, it is not going to be a basic box.

Mr. Gelatka mentioned that he knows there are certain requirements of that area. He does not want to get into what will be acceptable until he know if the idea works and financially what works. For example, if the entire structure needs to be brick, it is like bricking an entire football stadium and is too expensive and not a possibility.

Mr. Georgiou asked, after looking at the samples and pictures, if a repair garage would be put in the space. Mr. Gelatka answered that that a garage would not be placed there. Mr. Georgiou wanted to make sure no bodywork or paint shop would be there. Mr. Gelatka stated the bylaws allow people to work on their own cars and tinker with them, but you will not have cars sitting on the outside. These are made for people with Bentleys and cars like that, so they do not want junk on the outside.

Mr. Georgiou, asked, other than the people pulling up to their unit, do you also need to have a parking lot for the condo owners. Mr. Gelatka stated there will not be a ton of cars sitting outside like a tow yard. Everything would be internal. His assumption is you can park in front of your unit if there is an event, otherwise cars would be [parked] internally. The driveways between them are wide enough so that you can park on the side. He doesn’t expect it to look like a tow shop or anything like that. He added that people will not be doing business out of it. They might have an office or have events, but nobody should be doing wheel alignments as a business out of it.

Ms. Storming stated if there is a market for it, it seems like a neat concept. She liked the idea that it is not just a garage, but a place where families can go and be. She felt it is consistent with other concepts we have had with the Town—a place for families to go and hang out with other families. She thought it would be a neat place for people to gather if it’s there thing. It is the first time she has been exposed to this concept. Mr. Gelatka mentioned he appreciated her comments and stated that is why he liked the video because they understood what all of those people thought of that space. It is like people viewed it as their lake home, and they knew everybody. He stated the grandkids come up to grandpa’s unit because he likes their cars and he plays some games with them. He felt there is opportunity for events that will draw the outer city to be involved and aware of it and hopefully proud of it. He believes there is a huge opportunity for it.

Mr. Georgiou stated it will be consistent with St. John’s demographics; the clientele and owners would be a plus to what they can draw to the community. Mr. Gelatka mentioned he feels the idea will draw some higher end money to it because if you are a collector at some level, you have to have a place for all of the vehicles. There are also people who are just enthusiasts and that’s great too. He wants it to be something the town is proud of and locals are a part of. He doesn’t see it as something outsiders just come to. He believes there is enough money in the town that there will be people. At least one person talked to him about his property a couple of years ago and brought up this idea. However, he built his own area back in the industrial part of town. There are people with the love of vehicles and this would be an opportunity for them. He thinks it would draw them in by having them all together.

Mr. Georgiou asked if he has gotten any inquiry or interest after presenting it to the town. Mr. Gelatka stated he gets all kind of inquires wondering what is going on with the project, his sister is on the St. John Facebook Page and said there was positive talk about it. He is trying not to build it up yet because he doesn’t know where the town is at. There is no point in building if up if people do not understand it or agree with it. He would like to get preliminary approval first and then hire an architect for the design and get to the “nitty gritty” with the demands being in the commercial zone and making sure it is a financially viable project.

Mr. Georgiou asked if there were any other comments or questions. There were none. Mr. Gelatka thanked the group for listening and apologized for the technical difficulties. Mr. Georgiou stated they would discuss it further and get back with Mr. Kil and the Town Council. He stated it is unique and different and has a lot of potential with the project.

B. Housing Mix
Mr. Georgiou stated he has one more idea to add to New Business regarding what is the housing mix as the town develops and grows. For R1, R2, and R3, there is no code identified information. There are single family, duplexes, and multifamily units. He had a good discussion with Mr. Barenie and indicated a request for the EDC to look at the housing mix that exists in the town and do a little more research about it and make a recommendation.

Mr. DeYoung asked if the original ordinances were done in 2004. Mr. Georgiou clarified that there is no ordinance or requirement for the mix of single family, multi-family, town homes, etc. There are statistics that say the town has x percent of single family, x percent of multi-family, x percent duplexes. The question is whether the town should look at it and evaluate it. There is no restriction. Mr. DeYoung asked if the EDC could do that in a study session. Mr. Georgiou answered yes; he would see how they could discuss it further or present it formally to look at the housing mix of the town. Mr. DeYoung stated he actually had notes about that tonight. Mr. Georgiou stated the EDC had a good discussion about it at the last meeting. Mr. DeYoung added that it is something that needs to be addressed. Mr. Georgiou mentioned he would add it to the agenda for next month.

REPORTS AND CORRESPONDENCE:

A. BOARD MEMBERS

Mr. Georgiou asked for any reports or correspondence from the Board. Ms. Fezler stated as the EDC is going from a lot of projects to finalization and now back to having a lot of projects. Her recommendation or suggestion was to look at housing committees to work on specific projects in order to really hone in and provide some in depth research and expertise in those areas. Then, come back and share with our committee. It would make it a lot easier to communicate. Mr. Georgiou stated he concurs because obviously we cannot do this as a seven-member committee. The committee will have to assign or delegate these various assignments and report back. Ms. Fezler stated maybe they could do it just based on interest level. Mr. Georgiou stated he would look at the items they have been directed to do as well as some of the new items and ask what everyone wants to participate in.

STAFF

There was none.

PUBLIC COMMENT:

Joe Hero, 11723 South Oakridge Drive

Mr. Hero had a question and he was not sure if the Clerk-Treasurer or the EDC could answer it. He wanted to know how much money was in the TIF Fund for development. Mr. Georgiou stated that is not something he would be able to answer, and it would need to be deferred to the Town Manager or the Clerk-Treasurer.

Mr. Hero stated, as part of Economic Development, there are a lot of TIF districts that start all the way by Lake Central and down to 231. He stated there is money that goes into the TIF districts and that is what fuels economic development. He added that if you do not know the answer to that question, you should do some research and see how much TIF money sitting in the pot and go back over the last five years to see what expenditures have been made with that TIF money. He believes it is the most important thing you can have control over. At least, if you don’t have control over it, you can at least see where the money went. If you talk to the IRS, [they say] follow the money and see what the source is and where it is going. TIF is the fuel for commercial economic development on 41 and 231. He feels the EDC need to see if it has been spent properly and if it has been spent on designated projects.

Mr. DeYoung stated, “TIF money is created on its own project so when they freeze that tax bill for 10 years, they take the increment...what they are saving. They do the improvement on the property and as that runs out, then the Town gets more money out of it, so it’s not like there is a pile of money there. They are just creating the district that is available to use.” He provided the following example: if there is a $1000 tax bill, and they freeze it until the property gets developed, that increment is what they are using for the TIF.

Mr. Hero stated he understands generally that some of the TIF money is used for certain purposes. He stated he had seen one bill where they hired an appraiser.

Mr. DeYoung mentioned that the state statute says there are certain things that are “TIFable” expenses. Mr. Hero stated he thinks they need to look to see where the money flow has been. Mr. DeYoung added that this committee does not do that; they do not look at the itemized bills. Mr. Hero stated he thinks they should because, as an Economic Development Committee, you need to understand where the flow goes because schools don’t get it, the Town doesn’t get it. He stated that is part of the impact. Mr. DeYoung responded that he begs to differ because the Town does get it and the schools do get it. After the TIF expires, they are at a higher tax base. Mr. Hero reiterated that he believes the EDC should look at it, so they do not get involved in anything that is not done properly.

Ms. Hernandez said she can print out a five-year fund report when she goes into the office tomorrow so the committee is able to see what is incoming and what is outgoing. Mr. Hero stated Ms. Hernandez can do that and she is the expert on this. Mr. Hero added the committee needs to dig into this and see where the expenditures have been for the past five years; where is it going and what is the excess.

Mr. Hero asked one additional question about the Boyer Development. He would like to know who is going to pay for the traffic light at 96th and if that has come up in any their discussions. Mr. Georgiou responded that is part of the Economic Development Agreement developed between the town and Boyer, and he does not know the details of that particular part.

Mr. Hero asked if the EDC has reviewed that agreement. Mr. Georgiou answered that the agreement has not been presented for their review and he does not believe the EDC will get that agreement. Mr. Hero mentioned he feels that as development happens, you have to look at the cost. He stated there are some hidden costs you do not know about, like if the town is going to pay a million dollars for that light; that is not made public. The EDC needs to get involved in stuff like that and follow the money.

Ms. Hernandez responded, to her understanding, per Mr. Eberly, the Town does not have a final agreement executed between the town and Boyer. As of yesterday, when she spoke with Mr. Eberly, it has not been finalized. Mr. Hero mentioned he thought the agreement has already been approved at one of the meetings. Mr. DeYoung stated they have approved it conceptually so that the project could go forward. Mr. Hero stated he thought the agreement was approved and that is why he asked. He stated even though you do not participate in the agreement, as part of development of the town, you have to know the intended and unintended consequences of where these things go. You have to teach yourself and learn where the money is going to see who is getting a free ride and who is paying and what the ultimate consequences are.

Mr. Hero added that he is not criticizing the EDC, but they need to become educated in these other area to see how much money is in the TIF fund, what the impact is on the schools and what the impact is on the town. Because, when the EDC makes recommendations, they might not have all of the facts and what the impact is. Ms. Hernandez stated she would also email a copy of the five-year report to Mr. Hero.

ADJOURNMENT:

Mr. Georgiou asked for a motion to adjourn. “So moved,” by Mr. DeYoung. Mr. Setlak seconded the motion. The motion was carried by voice vote (4/0). Ayes---four. Nays--- none.

(The meeting adjourned at 6:17 p.m.)

ATTEST:

____________________________________

Beth R Hernandez
Clerk-Treasurer

05-25-2017 Economic Development Committee

May 25, 2017 Economic Development Committee Minutes

NICK GEORGIOU, PRESIDENT MARK BARENIE STEPHEN KIL, TOWN MANAGER
WILLIAM KEITH, VICE-PRESIDENT GINA FEZLER BETH HERNANDEZ, CLERK-TREASURER
RICHARD SETLAK, SECRETARY KELLY STOMING DAVID AUSTGEN, ATTORNEY
JOHN DEYOUNG GINA FEZLER  

CALL TO ORDER:

Mr. Georgiou called the May 25, 2017 Economic Development Committee meeting to order at 5:02 p.m.

(The Pledge of Allegiance was recited by all.)

ROLL CALL:

Clerk-Treasurer, Beth Hernandez took roll call with the following members present: Nick Georgiou, William Keith, Kelly Stoming, Richard Setlak, John DeYoung, and Mark Barenie. Town Manager, Steve Kil, was present. Attorney David Austgen was present. Gina Fezler was absent.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES: April 27, 2017

Mr. Georgiou stated that the first item was the approval of the meeting minutes for April 27, 2017. He asked if there were any comments or a motion on the minutes.

Mr. Setlak made a motion to approve the minutes as presented. Ms. Storming seconded the motion. The motion was carried by voice vote (6/0) Ayes---Six. Nays--- none.

OLD BUSINESS:

A. Boyer Development Project and Route 41 Traffic Improvements –Status Update on Schedule.
Mr. Georgiou inquired if the public meeting had been officially set for June 7, 2017 for the PUD. Mr. Kil answered, “No.” Mr. Kil added that it would probably not be until July as his best guess but that date is also not certain.

Mr. Georgiou asked if there were any additional updates other than working on the details. Mr. Kil answered that they were still working on the details and things of that nature, and Mr. Boyer is not prepared to come in for the Public Hearing in June.

Mr. Georgiou stated it his understanding that he has requested and has been approved for the Public Hearing, but he is just not prepared. Mr. Kil answered he has been approved to schedule the Public Hearing, but he is simply not ready for that yet.

B. Review of Potential Commercial/Residential Developments –Status Update.
Mr. Georgiou asked if there were any updates on commercial developments. Mr. Kil stated there are no updates in addition to what was discussed last month. Mr. Georgiou asked if there were any residential or commercial projects approved in the past month. Mr. Kil stated he knows there is a zone change on the Town Council agenda tonight. In addition, on the agenda tonight, the Town Council has a finalization of an annexation.

The Town has also received another request for annexation. Mr. Kil added there were no new developments. Mr. Georgiou asked if Rose Garden was pending Town Council approval. Mr. Kil answered that it was on the Town Council’s agenda tonight.

Mr. Austgen asked Mr. Kil what the latest annexation application was for. Mr. Kil stated the application was for the office building that lies just to the west of the New Providence Bank, on the south side of 101st. It is that building and all of the property south of that building that is associated with it. The Town has received the petition for annexation. Mr. Kil assumes there will be a Public Hearing for that project sometime towards the end of June and an adoption in July that would take effect sometime in September.

C. Review Metrostudy proposal to update Opportunity Analysis Study. Assign subcommittee to work on.
Mr. Georgiou stated the EDC was given approval to request a proposal and to update the Opportunity Analysis Study. The proposal was received and has been distributed to the EDC members with their meeting minutes for review and a possible recommendation to approve the award of it. Mr. Georgiou asked for any questions on this proposal.

Mr. Georgiou asked Mr. Kil if he recollected what the original proposal was for the study. Mr. Barenie asked for clarification as to what was meant by “original”. Mr. Georgiou explained he was curious what the increase in cost was from 2014. Ms. Stoming provided the original document to Mr. Georgiou, and he stated the original study was $17,500, and the renewal is $15,000.

Mr. Georgiou asked if there were any questions relative to the current Metrostudy proposal.

Mr. DeYoung asked if that was the best price because it is a lot of money. Mr. Georgiou answered that this is their specialty area, and that they did not solicit other numbers, but this is an area that Metrostudy is extremely competent in. Mr. Georgiou does not remember if they pursued other options at the original point. Mr. Kil thought they interviewed three companies, and it was agreed upon to go with Metrostudy. Mr. Barenie asked, when they interviewed, does that mean they got three bids. Mr. Kil answered they received prices, and they did meet with the companies. Based on the conversations and the cost, Metrostudy was chosen. Metrostudy was asked to provide a quote to update their proposal. If you have to start from scratch, the thought was that the cost would have to me more expensive than a simple update. Mr. Kil stated that he believes that is why Metrostudy lowered their price for the update from the original three years ago. Mr. Barenie mentioned that Mr. Kil just answered Mr. Georgiou’s question in that it was actually more expensive three years ago. Mr. Kil agreed. Mr. DeYoung reiterated that he was only asking if $15,000 was a good price.

Mr. Georgiou stated the time frame is about six to seven weeks, and Metrostudy has identified the working days. Obviously, the intent would be to have this by late summer, which would be doable. Mr. Georgiou asked if there were any other questions.

Ms. Stoming asked if we were just updating the information. She stated in the original report, they gave the Town an assessment of the risk and opportunities and where they thought we should focus for short term and long-term growth. She stated she did not see that in this proposal. She asked if that was not part of it this time; is it just updating data information. Mr. Georgiou stated, without having that discussion, it would be his understanding that they would provide all of the documentation that was in the original report. He stated it would have the growth projections, the current demands, and the future demands. In his mind, there is nothing to indicate anything will be different from the original. All of the information will be updated, including all of the projections.

Metrostudy will be identifying all of the same items and looking at all of the residential, retail, commercial office, and an update on all three environments. Metrostudy will have meetings with the Town and meetings with the EDC. We can confirm that, but Mr. Georgiou expects it will have the 2017 data and projections associated going forward. Mr. Kil said that was accurate, and it was consistent with his discussions with Metrostudy when he asked them to resubmit a proposal for review.

Mr. Barenie asked if the EDC has negotiated price with Metrostudy yet. Mr. Kil stated, no, not yet, and asked if they would like for Metrostudy to come in front of the EDC. Mr. DeYoung stated he thought that would be nice if Mr. Georgiou and the committee wanted to do that. He stated he would be happy to meet with Metrostudy and added they also had a part in the proposal for $1,195 for extra travel and things like that. He just does not want the money to get away from them. Mr. Kil stated he would ask Metrostudy if they would be so inclined to attend next month’s EDC meeting. Mr. DeYoung stated that would be great because they can tell the EDC exactly what’s in the proposal. Mr. Kil added then the EDC could ask the questions directly.

Mr. Georgiou stated the other option is to have Metrostudy come in and meet with the subcommittee and Mr. Kil, and they could report back at the next meeting for a recommendation. Mr. Barenie stated that might speed the process up. Mr. Kil asked who the subcommittee was or if they needed to elect the subcommittee. Mr. Georgiou replied that they needed to assign the subcommittee. He added that he sent an email to all of the members and asked them what activities they wanted to work on. He stated he asked Mr. Keith what he wanted to work on. Mr. Keith asked if Mr. Georgiou was asking him right now what he wanted to work on. Mr. Keith said he was so buried and has been working 16-17 hours a day. He said he is trying to get in his new building and move his manufacturing over, so he is just tapped right now to be frank. He added he hasn’t really had time to consider it. He stated after June 15 or July, he will be fully in his building and functional after working out the kinks and bugs. He stated he is not joking and worked until 3 o’clock in the morning the other night. He said he could be a supporting member, but he does not think he can lead anything for the next few months.

Mr. Georgiou stated he did get feedback from everyone. He stated Mr. DeYoung was open to Mr. Georgiou selecting a committee on his behalf and that he, himself, did not select anything yet. Ms. Fezler wanted to work on Metrostudy. He said he was also interested in that, and, if Mr. DeYoung would also work on that, they would have three members for the Metrostudy. He said Mr. Kil could coordinate with Metrostudy to set up a meeting between now and the next EDC meeting to ask questions and, hopefully, make a recommendation at the June EDC meeting. Mr. Kil asked if they would kindly send him their availability, so he can coordinate that. He has to try to coordinate four people on an off night and everyone is busy so availability would be helpful.

Mr. Georgiou summarized that for the Metrostudy, Mr. Kil would set up a meeting with the three-member sub-committee and Metrostudy, and they would submit a recommendation for the June meeting.

D. Assign subcommittee for including all relevant development exhibits and associated items on an Economic Development “tab” on St. John website. Effort also includes developing exhibits with layouts, areas currently for sale or available and incorporate into Economic Development “tab”.
Mr. Georgiou stated he had a question regarding the Economic Development tab because he also heard the St. John’s website was also being revamped. He asked if it was parallel, separate, or a part of this. Mr. Kil answered that he thought it would be parallel and in part, thereof. He stated they would run in conjunction with each other.

Mr. Georgiou stated from the feedback he recieved, Ms. Stoming and Mr. Setlak wanted to work on that. He stated that is going to go on for a while, so he could monitor that, and Mr. Keith would be able to help. He believed the first step was to meet with Mr. Dravet to talk about the website and the dynamics of creating the Economic Development tab. Mr. Kil stated he would provide Mr. Dravet with their contact information, and he will have him reach out to them. Mr. Georgiou stated it would be Ms. Stoming, Mr. Setlak, Mr. Keith, and himself. Mr. Kil asked if Mr. Georgiou was going to sit on this committee as well. Mr. Georgiou replied that he was going to monitor it. He said he was half a block away from here, so he could easily pop over for a meeting. Mr. Barenie wanted to be clear that they were talking about the EDC tab on the website. Mr. Georgiou answered yes and to see how it will be part of the overall event.

(General Discussion Ensued.)

E. Review and Status of proposed Auto Condominium Development on Route 41 north of Aspen Café.
Mr. Georgiou stated last month they were asked to be a sounding board for the proposed Auto Condominium Development. He stated he polled the members afterwards to send some feedback to Mr. Kil and Mr. Forbes. It was an intriguing concept and was received favorably. The EDC would like to see more details on it.
F. Zoning and Housing Mix Study
Mr. Georgiou stated as he was going through his notes after Ms. Hernandez issued the meeting minutes, and he realized he omitted an item. They have had a few informal meetings and discussions on the zoning and housing mix. He stated that he would add it to the agenda now and wanted to know if it is something they are going to discuss or something they want to formally undertake. Mr. Barenie added he has not seen much progress with the Council on this topic from their end. He stated it might be something they want to defer to the EDC.

Mr. Kil asked Mr. Georgiou what he had in mind. Mr. Georgiou stated when he was talking to Mr. DeYoung earlier; the discussion was there are many people concerned with the mix of single and multi-family housing. He sees it as more of a research topic to see what the mix in the surrounding towns is. He assumes those statistics are available. He thinks it is more of a data collection issue because he hears comments from people saying it is too high, it is too low and we should see where we sit among adjacent communities or similar communities. It is more of an analysis to be able to present the statistics. Mr. Barenie agreed that having the information would be nice.

Mr. Georgiou stated he does not see it as dictating or recommending any fixture on the percentages, but to understand what is out there as opposed to always complaining that we are too high on multi-family or we are too low on multi-family. He sees it as more of a data collection, research project. As a side note, the person who might actually have this, where we can discuss this, would be Metrostudy.

Mr. Barenie stated that could actually be added in. It is more of a discovery—not a seeking out to try to make some sort of limit or range—but just to find out where everyone is at.

Mr. Kil stated he agrees with Mr. Barenie and thinks Metrostudy is the housing authority in the area, and they have that information. That information is more readily available to them, and he thinks it is a great idea to add that as part of their scope of work. When the EDC sub-committee meets with them that is right in his wheelhouse. He added that then it would come from an independent source, other than a member of the community.

Mr. Barenie stated he thought it would be good if Metrostudy did the Town’s numbers. Mr. Kil responded that they were going to do the Town’s numbers anyway. He said he has already talked to Metrostudy about the Town’s numbers, but he did not know about doing other town’s numbers.

Mr. Georgiou stated it would be nice to know how we compare to similar or adjacent communities. It would be nice to know statistically where we are at. Mr. Kil agreed that it would be helpful to have some data to look at.

Mr. DeYoung stated he has been talking to some real estate brokers, and he would like to submit into the minutes what one broker’s opinion on where he thinks the areas should be. Mr. DeYoung does not think it is a bad idea to get some other professionals in the industry to provide feedback. The EDC can take these opinions, ask questions to Metro, and see what they formulate. He stated he gave out some notes to everyone.

Mr. Georgiou stated the recommendation would be adding a study of adjacent communities to Metrostudy for housing. Mr. Kil stated he does not see how that would not be acceptable. He thinks the Town Council would actually welcome to have that included in the study.

NEW BUSINESS:

Mr. Georgiou asked if anyone else had any new business to entertain or enter. There was no new business.

Mr. Georgiou stated “The Times” which was doing an article on Tri-Town Development, specifically commercial development, contacted the Town. He had a conference call with Mr. Kil and the reporter. He is not sure when the projected publication will be. Mr. Kil stated he did not have any idea either. He would have assumed it would have been by now because the reporter had some sense of urgency. He has not seen the article though.

Mr. Georgiou stated they gave the reporter some recent commercial developments in the town, and he did contact some of them. He stated he looks forward to seeing the article shortly in “The Times”. It was supposed to be the Tri-Town area, but they gave the reporter the St. John perspective.

Mr. Georgiou stated the other item he wanted to mention just popped up on his phone before this meeting. The article said St. John is the richest town in Indiana with a population under 25,000. He said it was published by the organization “24-7 Wall Street,” which stated St.John is the best small town to live in, etc, etc. Mr. Georgiou stated we are almost double the statewide median income. Mr. Kil added we are also the safest town again.

REPORTS AND CORRESPONDENCE:

A. BOARD MEMBERS Mr. DeYoung stated “Welcome to Town and much success to your business”. Mr. Keith thanked him for that comment.

STAFF

Mr. Kil stated he would go ahead and get the meetings coordinated as asked.

PUBLIC COMMENT:

There was no public comment.

ADJOURNMENT:

Mr. Georgiou asked for a motion to adjourn. “So moved,” by Mr. DeYoung. Mr. Setlak seconded the motion. The motion was carried by voice vote (6/0). Ayes---four. Nays--- none.

(The meeting adjourned at 5:25 p.m.)

ATTEST:

____________________________________

Beth R Hernandez
Clerk-Treasurer

06-29-2017 Economic Development Committee

June 29, 2017 Economic Development Committee Minutes

NICK GEORGIOU, PRESIDENT MARK BARENIE STEPHEN KIL, TOWN MANAGER
WILLIAM KEITH, VICE-PRESIDENT GINA FEZLER BETH HERNANDEZ, CLERK-TREASURER
RICHARD SETLAK, SECRETARY KELLY STOMING DAVID AUSTGEN, ATTORNEY
JOHN DEYOUNG GINA FEZLER  

CALL TO ORDER:

Mr. Georgiou called the June 29, 2017 Economic Development Committee meeting to order at 4:57 p.m.

(The Pledge of Allegiance was recited by all.)

ROLL CALL:

Deputy Clerk-Treasurer, Marilyn Hrnjak took roll call with the following members present: Nick Georgiou, Gina Fezler, Kelly Stoming, Richard Setlak, and John DeYoung. Town Manager, Steve Kil, was present. Attorney David Austgen was absent. William Keith and Mark Barenie were absent.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES: May 25, 2017

Mr. Georgiou stated that the first item was the approval of the meeting minutes for May 25, 2017. He asked if there were any comments, questions, or a motion to approve the minutes.

“I will make a motion to approve the minutes as offered,” by Mr. DeYoung. Mr. Setlak seconded the motion. The motion was carried by voice vote (6/0) Ayes---Six. Nays--- none.

OLD BUSINESS:

A. Boyer Development Project and Route 41 Traffic Improvements –Status Update on Schedule.
Mr. Georgiou stated he was going to ask for this to be rolled into the New Business item, which is a review of the Economic Development Agreement, so that they may have a discussion at the same time. He asked if there was any objection to that. There was none.
B. Review of Potential Commercial/Residential Developments –Status Update.
Mr. Georgiou stated that Mr. Kil mentioned earlier that there was a lot of interest in people annexing into Town. Mr. Kil added it is consistent with the discussion held last month in that the Town will typically entertain one annexation a month. Mr. Kil stated there are always items in front of the Plan Commission, and the biggest item right now is the Shoppes 96 Agreement. Mr. Kil mentioned that as far as commercial developments go, that is still on the forefront. Mr. Levin is still interested in locating his store in Town. However, he has been gone for a little while now, so that has sat dormant while he finishes his vacation. Mr. Kil stated that when Mr. Levin returns, this project will come back up. Mr. Kil added that Culver’s is actively trying to come into the community.

Mr. Georgiou asked if the community has knowledge of the sale of the Standard Bank building. Mr. Kil stated he does not know if it is public knowledge or not, but there is a contract on it; it hasn’t closed yet.

(General discussion ensued.)

C. Review Metrostudy proposal to update Opportunity Analysis Study. Review and recommendation of proposal. Added scope included demographic and housing comparison for 5 towns comparable to St. John.
Mr. Georgiou stated the Metrostudy proposal was distributed to all members of the committee. Mr. Georgiou added the additional scope that the EDC specifically requested is that they wanted to try to get some comparisons between St. John and comparable demographics and income-typed towns. The EDC asked for the comparison of five cities and/or towns that were similar in size and/or demographics to St. John, with at least two being located in Indiana and three could be located in the Chicago/Metropolitan area. The intent was to get an economic comparison, demographic comparison, and housing mix activity. This would at least give the Town Council some background of similar towns. Mr. Georgiou mentioned he feels this is very appropriate, informative information for people wanting to move to St. John and also for the Town Council to use as statistical information.

Mr. Georgiou stated the proposal provided last month was $17,000, which included the added scope. He asked if there were any comments, questions, or discussion.

Mr. Setlak asked if the additional scope was the bulleted “Item C” on page 2. Mr. Georgiou stated that was correct. Mr. Setlak stated St. John is a town, not a village, but he understands that, if they are using a boilerplate, it comes up as “village”. Mr. Kil stated the Town sees that quite a bit on documents.

(General discussion ensued.)

Mr. Kil stated the proposal already includes verifying all of St. John’s own unit accounts, structures, zoning, land use. Mr. Kil stated he wanted to clarify that is also included as part of the agreement as well as the comparison that Mr. Georgiou referred to.

Mr. Barenie stated he thinks that will be quite helpful.

Mr. DeYoung stated he was happy with Metrostudy giving the Town a flat price, so it cannot escalate. The Town knows what they are going to spend. Mr. DeYoung added that he also believed adding that extra work will be a good thing for the Town.

Mr. Georgiou asked if there were any additional comments or questions. Hearing none, he asked for a recommendation to the Town Council to accept the proposal. “So moved,” by Mr. Setlak. Ms. Fezler seconded the motion. The motion was carried by voice vote 6/0. Ayes—six. Nays—none.

D. Status update of subcommittee for Economic Development “tab” on website and website revisions.
Mr. Georgiou stated he understands that Mr. Kil set up a meeting for Mr. Setlak and Ms. Stoming to meet with Mr. Dravet. Mr. Georgiou asked for comments from Mr. Setlak and Ms. Stoming as he understands the Town is also soliciting proposals to redesign the website.

Mr. Setlak stated there are a variety of things he would like to discuss. Initially, this project started as “just slapping some documents on a page and letting it go.” However, it is going to be worthwhile to work with Mr. Dravet on this project. Mr. Setlak mentioned this project could be completed either in-house or outsourced-subject to whomever makes these types of decisions. Mr. Setlak mentioned Mr. Dravet stated he has “quite a plateful” in terms of his responsibilities on a day-to-day basis as his work includes phones, networking, communications, and maintenance of equipment—PCs, and printers. Mr. Dravet told Mr. Setlak the project is within his capabilities but his time is limited.

Mr. Barenie added the website redesign would be out-sourced.

Mr. Setalk stated there are two things he would like to discuss—content being one. There are different ways to make content. One would be to regurgitate documents. The other way is to guide the reader and make it more user-friendly. Specifically, in terms of when the public gets to the initial Town page. They will want to go where they want to go instead of hunting and pecking all over.

Mr. Setlak added that there are technical aspects as well that include the color, layout, format, and language that is used. There is also the integration of the EDC page with other pages on the Town website. A feature he would like to see used is Metrics on the site to know if anyone is looking at it and how often.

Mr. Setlak added that there was some discussion with Mr. Dravet regarding a Town brand. Many places refer to the Town as a “bedroom community” and many places say something like, “We are open for business.” Mr. Setalk asked which one is it or is it both and how do you massage that together. How do you make the residential part complimentary to the business part? The Town has people and we need businesses to support those people. It will take some work to get the message across the right way.

Mr. Setlak moved on to the presence of social media as it relates to the Town and the way in which it responds to context. “Somebody” has to get around to “somebody.” The Town needs to monitor and respond in a timely manner-not just the EDC component but all Town components.

Mr. Setlak provided the following example. St. John has a truck that goes around saying it is the “Water Department”, but there really is not a “Water Department” per say. If someone wants to contact the Water Department because they think there is a problem with his or her meter, he or she cannot find the Water Department on the website. They will probably end up calling Ms. Hernandez’s office and asking, “Who do I call; I send my bills to you, do you know?” Mr. Hernandez would then direct them to Public Works. It would be good to make it more straight forward instead of going around in circles. Mr. Setlak recognized that would take some effort though. In the meantime, the subcommittee could work on the tab, which is doable, and put some documents out there, but Mr. Setlak is looking forward to seeing what comes forward with the Town Council and if something comes on a larger scale.

Mr. Georgiou stated he wanted to clarify something. He stated the EDC’s charge was to add an Economic Development tab to the website as it existed and/or as it will be re- designed. The indication was that the Town Council would be re-designing the website.

The EDC tab is just one component, and the committee would not participate in the overall website re-design.

Mr. Barenie stated, “Not at this time” and added that while there would be value in some input, he thinks the EDC is farther along than the Council at this point. The EDC may need to take a step back. The goal is to make sure it’s not a redundancy effort.

Mr. Georgiou responded the EDC will make sure to assemble what should be on the EDC tab and how that will be incorporated into either the current website or the redesigned website.

Mr. Barenie added he would see if he could get some more coordination between the rest of the Council for the next meeting to get their thoughts on it. He stated he hasn’t really heard them speak that much about the website.

Mr. Setlak stated there are a variety of things all dealing with economic development websites and best practices on the Internet. He took the liberty of making copies of what he found and passed it out to the committee. Mr. Setlak mentioned that, going forward, it will help to guide the EDC’s message. From what Mr. Setlak found, it appears that economic development is a separate entity and has its own website that refers back to the local government body--at least on a regional level. Mr. Setlak acknowledged they may have a different focus, and in the Town’s case, he thinks it is much better for the EDC to be part of the town.

Mr. Georgiou stated the subcommittee made up of Mr. Georgiou, Mr. Setlak, and Ms. Stoming, needs to get together and put together the information and a proposal of content for the Economic Development tab.

Mr. Setlak stated one can put together “stuff”, but part of the process is determining where does one want to guide the reader? If one just puts a lot of documents on a webpage, then there is just simply a lot of documents on the webpage. The public might click on the documents and they might not. There should be some effort in trying to draw the reader in and anticipating what they may want to look at in more detail? Mr. Setlak added that, in a way, it is advertising or marketing. It is bringing potential business into the Town and saying we have something here you might be interested in. Why don’t you come and take a look?

Mr. Setlak added that the website should provide a variety of information and a point of contact. If one is interested, we certainly don’t want them to send a letter or an email to a “dead” office that nobody ever answers. Mr. Setlak stated somebody should get back to them even if it’s an automated response saying, “We received your email and we will get back to you soon.” The public would appreciate that. Mr. Setlak acknowledged this is a little bit more than just content. It’s a rather simple task to slap content on the page, but he thinks it’s just going to look like just a lot of content sitting on a page.

Mr. Georgiou stated the subcommittee would have to make a recommendation on the structure of the tab. For example, one would click on the EDC tab, then maybe click on available sites or business opportunities. The EDC’s charge is to make recommendations on what will be in that content to be incorporated into the overall website. Basically, the subcommittee has to put together that recommendation and give it to the rest of the EDC.

Ms. Stoming stated she and Mr. Setlak understand that the subcommittee has to work on the content but thinks it was just hard not to notice how the current website is so disconnected. Ms. Stoming added that if the EDC throws out their own tab, then the EDC will have its own look instead of having a jointed town-look on all of the different tabs. Ms. Stoming acknowledged the subcommittee is specifically looking at the Economic Development page, but added it’s difficult not to notice how that flows into everything the Town already has out there. Ms. Stoming stated there is work to be done on the website that doesn’t necessarily fall on the EDC.

Mr. Setlak stated that everything the EDC does, points back at the Town.

Mr. Georgiou stated this might need to be part of a separate discussion, and reiterated the EDC needs to identify what should be on its own tab. As far as the coordination, there is absolutely going to be cross-links to the Town website. The EDC has to decide on content and then figure out how to coordinate with the rest of the website.

(General discussion ensued.)

Mr. Georgiou advised the EDC needs to keep it to what they want to include on this particular tab. He added they have to put blinders on what is going to happen with the rest of the website.

Mr. Barenie stated that Mr. Setlak brought up functionality, content, and search capabilities, which he thinks does need to be worked on. E-commerce is a possibility. Google analytics is a possibility. Ms. Hernandez probably has some suggestions. The brand is a big deal. He added that the Town has not invested in the website in many, many years. Rather, the Town has added a patch of content here and there. It’s been a long time, so it’s going to take a lot of research and exploration. Mr. Barenie stated he envisions it being someone from the Economic Development Committee, someone from Public Safety and someone from Clerk Hernandez’s department coming together. The Economic Development tab is just a part of the process.

Mr. Georgiou stated he highly recommends the Town Council establish a subcommittee for the website and redesign with all of the departments so it flows. Then, the EDC can plug in where necessary.

Mr. Barenie stated using a consultant would be very important as the Town does not want to do this project every year. He added this is going to be a big investment.

Mr. Setlak stated Mr. Barenie’s suggestion would help with the structure and plugging in where the EDC needs to. A lot of information it is already in existence, but Mr. Setlak does not see an EDC tab standing by itself without something going back to the Town.

Mr. Georgiou added that the EDC is just a piece of the Town website.

Mr. Setlak stated that one goes to the main page on the Town’s website, which is close to 20 years old. Then, this same person goes to the Clerk-Treasurer’s page or the Police Department’s page and it looks like another website. Then, he or she goes to other department’s pages and there is hardly anything there.

Mr. Georgiou stated he agrees, but that is beyond what the EDC is charged with.

Mr. Setlak responded that this is what the public has to go through to get to the EDC’s tab. The EDC might have some great content, but the public will never make it there.

Mr. Georgiou stated the intent is as follows: When one goes to the St. John website, there is a row of tabs. There needs to be one for Economic Development, period. He or she would click that tab to find our chosen content. We would obviously hope to integrate with the redesigned website as well. He added that the EDC could not criticize the rest of the website.

Mr. Setlak stated he is not trying to be critical, but on the main page of some of these established sites, they reference demographics, statistics, percentages, and so on.

One wouldn’t have to dig into an EDC tab per say because an item on the main page would catch the reader’s eye. It takes some thought and effort.

Ms. Fezler suggested the subcommittee reach out to the Lake County Economic Alliance Group. She shared two contact names: Karen and Don. Ms. Fezler mentioned they are our economic development specialist for Lake County specifically. They work with local government and economic development groups to be resourceful. They have a website with direct numbers on there. A committee member can just reach out to them and ask about what kinds of content they would recommend to go on our website.

Mr. Barenie stated to Mr. Setlak that he brought up good points, and mentioned he has taken notes on all of those items.

Mr. Setlak stated it is valuable to look at developing websites including authenticity, branding, and messaging. It is important to focus on comprehensive clarity of navigation, how often it is updated, and how often anyone looks at it. If one goes to the website and finds something back from 2010, he or she may say, “Well, who cares?

You say you are up with the community, but you haven’t changed things on here in seven years.” Mr. Setlak reiterated the EDC can add all of the content it wants, but if there isn’t a mechanism there to update and keep up on it, it’s going to age rapidly.

Mr. Barenie stated he doesn’t know if the Town has a designated person for our website other than Mr. Dravet.

Ms. Hernandez answered, “No,” but affirmed each department’s page has a different look and feel on the website. Mr. Wroe designed the Clerk-Treasurer’s tab and the Police Department’s tab. Ms. Hernandez suggested Mr. Wroe as a contact person to assist in adding an EDC tab if the Committee prefers the design and functionality of the Clerk-Treasurer and Police Department tabs. Ms. Hernandez stated she believes Mr. Wroe’s design is more user-friendly than just adding links to documents on a webpage.

(General discussion ensued.)

Mr. Georgiou stated he recommends the subcommittee schedule a meeting after this to focus on the content recommendation. Mr. Georgiou reiterated that he understands Mr. Setlak’s overall issue with the Town’s website, but that is something the EDC really cannot address right now.

Mr. Setlak added that he is trying to avoid doing it twice.

Mr. Georgiou stated if the EDC has its content together, it will plug in regardless. Mr. Setlak responded, “Not necessarily.”

Mr. Georgiou stated the EDC would have a discussion as a separate follow up subcommittee meeting and have further discussion.

Mr. Setlak added it might be wise to get Mr. Dravet in on that meeting too. Mr. Georgiou stated that would be fine. Mr. Georgiou asked Mr. Setlak to reach out to the subcommittee to schedule a time to meet sometime the week of the 10th. Mr. Setlak stated he would check on everyone’s availability.

E. Update on proposed Auto Condominium Development on Route 41 north of Aspen Café.
Mr. Georgiou stated he is going to recommend this item be removed from the agenda. The Plan Commission has asked the EDC for input on this unique development. This should be removed from the agenda until they come forward again. At such time, the EDC can be audience to that presentation at the request of the Plan Commission.

NEW BUSINESS:

A. Review and recommendation of Boyer-Town of St. John Development Agreement
Mr. Georgiou stated the EDC has been asked to review the Economic Development Agreement between the Town of St. John and Boyer Development, officially SJ96, LLC. Mr. Georgiou opened the floor to any comments or questions.

Mr. Georgiou added he was given a schedule update. Obviously, the EDC is the first recommendation. The EDC’s recommendation goes to the Redevelopment Commission and then to the Town Council. Currently, the Public Hearing for the PUD is scheduled for the September 6th Plan Commission meeting. There will be another Public Hearing related to the RDC and TIF funding and that will be scheduled in late September. Once the PUD is approved or modified, then they have to do the subdivision approval. Right now, in the schedule, the Public Hearing side of that will be planned for December. Again, these are tentative dates.

Mr. Georgiou mentioned the intent is to have all of this in place in December to start construction next spring. There are dates in the Economic Development agreement that give latitude; it gives both parties time to allow for any coordination items, clarification, etc. Any development, and a large one like this, has a lot of bits and pieces that must fall into place. Are there any comments or questions on the agreement?

Mr. DeYoung asked if a recommendation was needed to move the agreement forward. Mr. Georgiou responded, “Yes.”

Mr. Setlak brought the committee’s attention to “Prohibited Uses 5.04.” He asked if Malt Brothers is going to be one of the tenants. Mr. Kil responded, “Yes.” Mr. Setlak mentioned the agreement states any craft brewery is prohibited.

Ms. Stoming clarified the agreement states “excluding breweries.”

Mr. Georgiou stated the agreement specifically excludes night clubs, but it allows primary restaurants with alcohol.

Mr. Kil explained that is why uses allowed by existing leases is written into the agreement. Malt Brothers already has an existing lease there, so he is covered.

Mr. Georgiou asked if there were any other comments or questions.

Mr. DeYoung stated he has gone through this agreement for about a week and a half and made a motion to move the agreement forward.

Mr. Georgiou clarified that the motion made by Mr. De Young was a favorable recommendation for the agreement between the Town of St. John and SJ96, LLC.

Mr. DeYoung stated that a favorable recommendation is correct. “I’ll second that,” Mr. Setlak.

The motion was carried by voice vote (6/0) Ayes---Six. Nays---none.

B. PBIF Community Grants with OCRA for 2018
Mr. Georgiou stated Mr. Kil sent this item to him about three weeks ago. It is a State Grant document from the Office of Community and Rural Affairs. It is an investment fund grant program that is open to all communities and/or organizations and chambers. The intent is to assist members in the community with greater places to live, visit, and work. They have up to a $50,000 matching grant as long as the town and/or organization can match the rest of it.

Mr. Georgiou added that, unfortunately, the 2017 program deadline is July 14th. He mentioned he is looking for anyone on the EDC who would want to look into this more because it will take advance planning, etc. to be able to apply for this in 2018.

Mr. Kil suggested the EDC and the Town could work in conjunction with the Chamber on this grant. It is open to chambers and communities. It might be something where a joint grant application would be warranted.

Mr. Georgiou stated he would like to point to Project Eligibility, bullet point four; it is not only open to units of government, but also open to economic development organizations, Convention and Visitor Bureaus, organizations of public and private schools, and foundations that would include chambers.

Mr. Georgiou stated the intent is to create a place where people want to congregate and/or for the Town to expand upon. A town on a lake did a fishing pier, river walk improvements, park improvements, etc. This grant is very specific—one cannot just get the grant for streets and sidewalks.

Mr. Georgiou said he put it on the agenda to see if anyone is interested. He requested that Ms. Fezler present this opportunity to the Chamber and mentioned this is obviously something to discuss as the date becomes closer.

(General discussion ensued.)

Mr. Kil stated he thought it would be a nice opportunity for perhaps the Town through the EDC and the Chamber to get together and maybe jointly make a recommendation to the Town Council. That way, there are many different eyes looking at it including the business community.

Ms. Fezler stated she agrees with that and she will present it at the July St. John Chamber of Commerce Board meeting and then will provide the Chamber’s vision and feedback at the next EDC meeting.

Mr. Georgiou stated he would forward Ms. Fezler the email, which contains a lot of information such as the application, past grants, etc. He added this is a very interesting program but there is just no way to submit the grant application this year.

Ms. Fezler stated she would also ask Ms. Hernandez for assistance on the grant-writing portion. Mr. Kil stated that was a wonderful idea.

REPORTS AND CORRESPONDENCE:

A. BOARD MEMBERS

There was none.

B. STAFF

There was none.

PUBLIC COMMENT:

Joe Hero, 11723 South Oakridge Dr.

Mr. Hero stated he would like to remonstrate against the Economic Development Agreement. His first point is that it is going to increase traffic on 41. The stop light at 96th Lane, in his estimate, is going to cost 1 million dollars. And, that is not going to do anything to help traffic on Joliet. It will actually increase traffic on Joliet because if you look at the map attached to the agreement, there are dotted lines showing an exit at Joliet and the railroad tracks. That is going to create a traffic hazard for school buses and a road like shown on the map cannot go there.

Mr. Hero’s next point is he challenges whether they have all of the property rights in order to enact this agreement. He is against using eminent domain to compensate private property to make this plan work.

Furthermore, he has been told it will take $80 to $100 million dollars in road improvements to improve traffic in this Town. This is just going to exacerbate the traffic and go against the health, safety, and welfare of the community.

When looking at the Economic Development Agreement, it talks about a minimum of 7 million dollars and a maximum of 34.5 million dollars. Mr. Hero would like to see proof that the developer has 34 million dollars in a financial institution. This document does not guarantee that he has that amount of money to perform this project. Mr. Hero thinks a bond is needed in the amount of 34.5 million dollars by the developer to ensure that he has the wherewithal to do this.

Also, if you look at Article 4, everything from A to E, talks about acquiring land. The Town is going to need eminent domain to do that. Mr. Hero thinks that is going to create a backlash against the banks in Town, personnel, and the Chamber of Commerce who supported this. This is opening up Pandora’s Box to eminent domain by taking the taxpayer’s land.

Mr. Georgiou, “You have 15 seconds, Joe.”

Mr. Hero stated he believes the prohibiting uses are illegal and unconstitutional. Also, if you look at [section] 5.5, the financial commitment, there should be a bond of 34.5 million dollars put up front in a financial institution to guarantee this developer can perform.

Mr. Georgiou, “Your time is up.”

Mr. Hero added there are many other reasons he would like to address, but he is being cut off. He stated he thinks the albatross is around the EDC’s neck and people will resent the EDC for approving this.

Rita Berg, 10351 Joliet St.

Ms. Hernandez stated Ms. Berg requested she read the following. Ms. Berg submitted her letter of remonstrance today.

“I am giving formal notice to remonstrate against the Boyer Project SJ 96, as it will negatively affect my property value as well as my neighbor value. This will also make our traffic in this area more of a nightmare.

We are not properly notified of the change in paper work or meeting changes.”

Ms. Hernandez stated Ms. Berg asked that to be read at the town council, redevelopment and any other meetings this day.

Tom Parada, 9535 Joliet Street

Mr. Parada stated that he has been a member of the group that has been opposing this project for two years, and it has all started with him when Mr. Kil tried to take his property for this project.

Mr. Parada added he believes all building should be put on temporary hold until the Town gets everything else taken of including traffic problems. Mr. Parada acknowledged this doesn’t particularly pertain to the EDC, but the Town has a lot of housing going up and no improvements being made to the roads. He added the “sell sheet” used to draw people here should probably mention that once you get here, you are not going to be able to get around because the traffic is bad, and it’s getting worse. The more homes, the worse the traffic gets. To bring in a bunch of businesses without improving the infrastructure, is not going to do any good.

Mr. Parada said from his own personal notice, and he looked at the new plan today, and there is not a roundabout on Joliet St., but is “something”. He asked Mr. Kil if he was going to spring that “something” on him at a later time. Mr. Parada further question Mr. Kil as to if this is another plan to try to displace him.

Mr. Kil: “I have absolutely no idea what you are talking about Mr. Parada. I am sorry.”

Mr. Parada: “Not surprising. It does not surprise me. The point I am trying to make is now, when you see the Boyer property, there is just a little spot, and it says leading to Joliet Street. It doesn’t say whether it is going to be a roundabout or whether you are going to need any of my property for some other type of junction there. It is just an in- general statement. And if you don’t know that, I don’t know what’s wrong with you. You are the Town Manager. It is there plain as day. You have a copy. I would love to show you.”

Mr. Kil: “I have seen it. If we need your property for some reason, Mr. Parada, when the engineering is completed, you will be notified well in advance.”

Mr. Parada: “Great. So, I just get to put my life on hold again wondering what’s going to happen. I’ve already put it on hold for two years. I think that’s long enough. You have the St. John Homeowners Group who started a whole movement. I see a change at every Town Council meeting I come to because of it. And, I’m not the one who started it, and I take no credit for that. But, I’m where the buck started and there is no explanation of how that is going to terminate onto Joliet Street. Anything to say?”

Mr. Kil: “And your question is?”

Mr. Parada: “My question is when do I get to know what my fate is?”

Mr. Kil: “The construction on Joliet Street is actually being done not as part of the Boyer project. But, that would be a town project and engineers would be working on that when it’s ready to go.”

Mr. Parada: “So, that’s not there so Mr. Boyer has another piece of my land he can develop. Is that what you are telling me?”

Mr. Kil: “Mr. Boyer doesn’t even need that connection to do it for his project.”

Mr. Parada: “He seemed to need it two years ago.”

Mr. Kil: “That was..”

Mr. Parada: “You don’t remember calling me and telling me you were going to get my property by whatever means.”

Mr. Kil: “I remember calling you and telling you we were going to look at appraising the property and giving you a value.”

Mr. Parada: “You appraised it at $31,000 I might add.”

Mr. Kil: “I didn’t appraise it. The appraisers did.”

Mr. Parada: “No, but you conspired with them so it came in at $31,000. Everybody knows that’s a joke. The property is worth far more than that. Just the property itself.”

Mr. Georgiou: “Thank you for your comment, Mr. Parada, but your time is up.”

ADJOURNMENT:

Mr. Georgiou asked for a motion to adjourn. “So moved,” by Mr. Setlak. Ms. Stoming seconded the motion. The motion was carried by voice vote (6/0). Ayes---six. Nays--- none.

(The meeting adjourned at 5:49 p.m.)

ATTEST:

____________________________________

Beth R Hernandez
Clerk-Treasurer

07-27-2017 Economic Development Committee

July 27, 2017 Economic Development Committee Minutes

NICK GEORGIOU, PRESIDENT MARK BARENIE STEPHEN KIL, TOWN MANAGER
WILLIAM KEITH, VICE-PRESIDENT GINA FEZLER BETH HERNANDEZ, CLERK-TREASURER
RICHARD SETLAK, SECRETARY KELLY STOMING DAVID AUSTGEN, ATTORNEY
JOHN DEYOUNG GINA FEZLER  

CALL TO ORDER:

Mr. Georgiou called the July 27, 2017 Economic Development Committee meeting to order at 4:57 p.m.

(The Pledge of Allegiance was recited by all.)

ROLL CALL:

Deputy Clerk-Treasurer, Marilyn Hrnjak took roll call with the following members present: Nick Georgiou, Gina Fezler, Kelly Stoming, Richard Setlak, and John DeYoung. Town Manager, Steve Kil, was present. Attorney David Austgen was absent. William Keith and Mark Barenie were absent.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES: June 29, 2017

Mr. Georgiou stated the meeting minutes for June, along with tonight’s meeting minutes, will be ready for approval at the August meeting.

OLD BUSINESS:

A. Boyer Development Project and Route 41 Traffic Improvements—Status Update on Schedule and Development Agreement approval
Mr. Kil stated Mr. Boyer would appear before the August 16th Plan Commission Study Session and a Public Hearing for the zone change will be held on September 6th. The Plan Commission will make a recommendation to the Town Council for their September 26th meeting. Then, Mr. Boyer will go immediately into his subdivision process. If Mr. Boyer stays on schedule, it will take him until December 2017 to complete the process.

Mr. Kil stated the EDC Agreement was approved and signed by Mr. Forbes, Town Council President and Mr. Barenie, Redevelopment Commission President, will be signing it tonight. Mr. Boyer indicated to Mr. Kil in a meeting held two days ago, he will be in a position to sign the EDC Agreement in about one week when his lawyer returns from vacation.

Mr. Georgiou mentioned he did receive some letters of remonstrance relative to the Boyer Development. He provided the Board with a copy of same for their review and record.

B. Review of Potential Commercial/Residential Developments—Status Update
Mr. Kil stated the Town will entertain two annexations tonight. One is the Canaan annexation, which is the office building just to the west of the current location on 101st. Schillings is annexing the last phase of Greystone, which is a small sliver of property.

Mr. Kil mentioned he received another annexation petition for quite a bit of acreage including the church on the south side of 231, across from Silver Leaf, west of Palmira.

Mr. Kil said Family Express has shown a big interest in the annexation the Town did on the corner of Parrish and 231.

Mr. Kil stated he missed a phone call from the owner of the K-mart building. Mr. Kil added he would send an email to the EDC when he was able to reach him.

Mr. Setlak asked Mr. Kil if they would be able to receive any notices of incoming business coming to St. John. He stated they hear about them new developments, but not necessarily things that would take up existing space. He suggested a monthly or quarterly update.

(General discussion ensued.)

Mr. Kil stated Quick Scripts, a prescription company, is coming into Town. Mr. Setlak asked if this is a store-front operation. Mr. Kil answered affirmatively.

Mr. Setlak acknowledged that Mr. Kil reports on the “major” items but stated he would find it useful to know about some of the “minor” things coming in and going out.

C. Status of Metrostudy Opportunity Analysis Study and housing demographics
Mr. Georgiou stated the Town did award the Metrostudy analysis and a draft report can be expected in early September. Mr. Kil stated it would be available for the EDC’s review prior to the September 26th meeting.

Mr. Georgiou asked if the EDC would be provided the draft report or if Metrostudy would make a presentation. Mr. Kil asked if the EDC had a preference. Mr. Georgiou stated he assumed the subcommittee would receive a copy of the draft report and provide feedback. Mr. Kil stated he assumes the Town Council will look to the EDC to approve it. Mr. Georgiou queried if the draft report would be the final report. Mr. Kil responded it will be a draft copy for review and he assumes the Town Council could adopt a final version of it in October.

Ms. Fezler stated she does not feel the committee needs a presentation unless they have significant concerns or questions. Mr. Georgiou agreed since it is updating an existing analysis and the only new data would be the demographics of the five towns. Ms. Fezler stated the subcommittee could meet after review and take the next steps then. Mr. Georgiou stated Mr. Kil can advise them when their draft copy is ready for review.

D. Status Update of subcommittee for Economic Development “tab” on website and website revisions Proposed ED home page review on Town website.
Mr. Georgiou stated the subcommittee members have a draft of the EDC page only for the website. He stated it is a Beta version where tabs exist across the top of the page to include Departments, Residents, Visitors, Business, etc. He stated, on the current website, there will be a tab added that says “Economic Development” and the page in front of you is what would pop up.

Mr. Georgiou stated this is the first draft, and the committee decided to keep it simple. The intent is to have three or four pictures rotating across the banner where the picture is shown on the document.

Mr. Georgiou stated he wanted to thank Ms. Stoming for providing an outline statement about what the EDC is all about. He stated the document is for review and comments, but this provides a nice start.

Mr. Georgiou mentioned the page will show the mission statement “Open for Business,” the credit rating, and the committees contact information. He stated this is drawn across on the right hand side with existing tabs that are already active on the website and/or added onto the Economic Development page in the future. Mr. Georgiou stated other direct links could be added based on input from the committee. He stated there is data on the website that would be on the EDC page. Mr. Georgiou added this is not a live site.

Mr. Setlak stated the “About” part is fine, but he feels the Mission Statement is redundant. The “About” part talks about strategizing which he feels is more of the mission statement. He stated he does not know what the Mission Statement “Open for Business” means.

Ms. Stoming responded it is more of a “tagline” than a mission statement. Mr. Kil added it is more of a slogan. Mr. Georgiou stated it could be put above the “About” section as a headline banner. Mr. Setlak agreed that the slogan “Open for Business” could be placed above and drop the mission statement. Ms. Stoming and Mr. Georgiou agreed.

Mr. Kil stated any changes or revisions should be marked on the page and sent over to Mr. Georgiou for review.

E. PBIF Community Grants with OCRA for 2018. Request members interested in working on 2018 submittal.
Mr. Georgiou stated they were looking for committee members who were interested in looking at the grant for 2018. He stated it looks like an interesting opportunity to solicit grant funds and encourages not only the Town to get involved, but other economic development groups like the Chamber.

Mr. Kil stated it was more of his intent to have the Chamber spearhead this project and the Town can work with the Chamber on the grant.

Ms. Fezler stated this was discussed at the last meeting and she agreed to spearhead this with the Chamber along with the EDC’s participation. She stated Clerk-Treasurer Beth Hernandez also agreed to help. Ms. Fezler added she has already done some research and looked through the application process, grant forms, and requirements. She said there are some pieces they will have to discuss, but they do have some time since it cannot be submitted until 2018. She mentioned they need to decide on a specific project and the grant is also looking for matching funding capacity. She stated those were some items the EDC could assist with after recommendations for projects are discussed.

Mr. Kil stated when a project is determined or recommended, the Town Council will be requested to add the matching funds. He does not see it as a problem and feels they will be excited the EDC is going after a matching grant.

Ms. Fezler stated a lot of the recipients of the grants involve the residents or students within the town to incorporate their ideas by holding some kind of contest if the EDC pinpoints a specific project to work on. She stated it is added publicity for the Town to possibly be a grant recipient.

Mr. Kil stated since Ms. Fezler is already associated with the Chamber and Ms. Hernandez will help, the EDC can ask for an update in a couple of months because nothing can really be done until next year.

Ms. Fezler stated they had a Board of Directors meeting for the Chamber for the month of July, and they approved the Chamber’s cooperation and consent to go ahead and work with the Town on the grant request.

Mr. Setlak asked if there were any specifics of what type of projects get funded. Ms. Fezler stated the grant has specifications of what types of projects qualify and what types of projects do not qualify. She stated at the next meeting, she will be better prepared to provide some ideas for projects that she believes may qualify and have some merit.

Mr. Georgiou stated he went through the site and saw one town did a river walk as a grant. He stated they want to encourage community gathering. Preliminary, Ms. Fezler stated she had some ideas about doing a project in Lake Hills.

(General discussion ensued.)

Mr. Georgiou stated past projects and the application itself can be viewed on the OCRA website which may be helpful. Ms. Fezler stated she would come prepared to give some examples of projects to provide an idea of what qualifies.

NEW BUSINESS:

A. None

REPORTS AND CORRESPONDENCE:

A. BOARD MEMBERS

Mr. DeYoung stated he had nothing to report other than he had a new grandchild. He stated she is 6 pounds, 12 ounces. Congratulations were given.

B. STAFF

There was none.

PUBLIC COMMENT:

Joe Hero, 11723 South Oakridge Dr. Mr. Hero stated the Economic Development Committee needs to establish criteria for what projects they are responsible for as these different projects come along. For example, with the Boyer Development, the committee needs to show the initial cost of the project, the benefit to the Town and the long-term cost to maintain 96th all the way through for a private concern. He stated the developer is maintaining the roads for Strack’s and all these other places. He added, here, the Town is making a public road that dead ends, and the taxpayers are putting money in without knowing what the impact is going to cost. He said if one looks at the square footage of development, he or she would have to ask what is the cost to the taxpayers both directly and indirectly. Is it justified? He asked if the Town is doing this for a private entity to make money and what is the long-term impact on the Town. The study needs to occur before moving ahead on these projects, and he doesn’t see that happening.

ADJOURNMENT:

Mr. Georgiou asked for a motion to adjourn. “So moved,” by Mr. Setlak. Ms. Stoming seconded the motion. The motion was carried by voice vote (5/0). Ayes---five. Nays--- none.

(The meeting adjourned at 5:20 p.m.)

ATTEST:

____________________________________

Beth R Hernandez
Clerk-Treasurer

08-24-2017 Economic Development Committee

August 24, 2017 Economic Development Committee Minutes

NICK GEORGIOU, PRESIDENT MARK BARENIE STEPHEN KIL, TOWN MANAGER
WILLIAM KEITH, VICE-PRESIDENT GINA FEZLER BETH HERNANDEZ, CLERK-TREASURER
RICHARD SETLAK, SECRETARY KELLY STOMING DAVID AUSTGEN, ATTORNEY
JOHN DEYOUNG GINA FEZLER  

CALL TO ORDER:

Mr. Georgiou called the August 24, 2017 Economic Development Committee meeting to order at 4:57 p.m.

(The Pledge of Allegiance was recited by all.)

ROLL CALL:

Clerk-Treasurer, Beth Hernandez took roll call with the following members present: Nick Georgiou, Richard Setlak, John DeYoung, Gina Fezler, and Kelly Stoming,. Town Manager, Steve Kil, was present. Attorney David Austgen was absent. William Keith and Mark Barenie were absent.

AGENDA CORRECTION:

Mr. Georgiou stated an addition needed to be made on the agenda. The Road Impact Fee Study is ongoing, and the EDC requested an update.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES: June 29, 2017 and July 27, 2017

Mr. Georgiou stated there were two sets of minutes to review this month. Mr. Georgiou asked if there were any questions, comments, or motion to approve the June 29, 2017 minutes. Mr. DeYoung made a motion to approve the minutes. Mr. Setlak seconded the motion. The motion was carried by voice vote (5/0). Ayes—five. Nays—none.

Mr. Georgiou asked if there were any questions, comments, or a motion to approve the July 27, 2017 minutes. Mr. DeYoung made a motion to approve the minutes. Ms. Stoming seconded the motion. The motion was carried by voice vote (5/0). Ayes—five. Nays—none.

OLD BUSINESS:

A. Boyer Development Project and Route 41 Traffic Improvements—Status Update on Schedule
Mr. Kil stated the schedule has been pushed back upon Mr. Boyer’s request, although the Town is ready to move forward. The Town Council has approved the EDC Agreement. Mr. Boyer is waiting for his final corporate approvals with Buchannan’s before he executes it. He stated Mr. Boyer is confident this is the last time the schedule has to be amended.

Mr. Kil added that Mr. Boyer will start attending study sessions in September. A public hearing for the commercial PUD zoning will be held on October 4th, which means it will go before the Town Council at the end of October. Mr. Kil stated the biggest hurdle will be the Public Hearing in front of the Plan Commission on October 4th.

Mr. Georgiou mentioned he would forward the updated schedule to all of the members.

B. Review of Potential Commercial/Residential Developments—Status Update
Mr. Kil said the committee was aware of the Canaan annexation which is the office building on 101st, just west of Providence Bank. Greystone, right next to Emerald Crossing, is also a small sliver of land being annexed into Town.

Mr. Kil stated there is a Public Hearing for a new annexation tonight for the Christian Reformed Church on the south side of 231 near Palmira Golf Course. The annexation will be for the church and all of the land surrounding it. He stated the church is volunteering annexing it. Mr. Kil expects to have another annexation coming in shortly and added the Town has been averaging about one annexation per month.

Mr. Setlak asked if there was a map showing the new boundaries since they are always changing with the new annexations. Mr. Kil stated Mr. Dravet amends the map each time an annexation is adopted. Mr. Setlak asked where the map could be found. Mr. Kil responded the map, on the website, is updated approximately each quarter.

Mr. Setlak inquired if the Town’s boundaries are now continuing past 109th. Mr. Kil answered affirmatively and stated the boundaries are now south of 109th, which is why the giant Lift Station was built on Rt. 41.

Mr. Kil mentioned the Lift Station is operational as of yesterday and is capable of handling anything the Town would annex south of 231 and west of 41 all of the way to Stateline. It can handle an additional 7,000 acres. Mr. Kil added that takes care of the sewer and water, but the Town is always looking to expand the well system. The Water Board just authorized the test drilling of three more wells on Tuesday night. He stated there is a report and study from Peerless Midwest, the geologist, and a new fracture trace analysis.

Mr. Georgiou asked what the well depth is for the Town. Mr. Kil replied it is 400 feet, and if a well does not produce at least 1,000 gallons per minute, it is not useful to the Town. He stated water quality also needs to be tested because that determines the level of treatment necessary or if a new treatment plant is needed, which would cost the Town an additional three million dollars. He stated the well is expensive by itself, but the treatment plants are really expensive.

C. Status of Metrostudy Opportunity Analysis Study and housing demographics. Expected delivery date of Draft Report.
Mr. Georgiou stated there is a meeting with Mr. Kil and Mr. Gianopulos on September 6th and expect to see the draft report in mid to late September. Mr. Kil added that he expected the report in late September.
D. Status Update of subcommittee for Economic Development “tab” on website and website revisions Proposed EDC home page review on Town website comments. When can we add EDC to the Town website?
Mr. Georgiou stated he did not receive any new comments regarding the draft except for what was discussed at the last meeting. The phrase “mission statement” was going to be crossed out and “Open for Business” would be added instead as a headline. He mentioned he noticed Ms. Fezler’s last name was omitted and would make that correction. Mr. Georgiou stated this is still a work in progress, but at least it can be launched as an EDC tab on the webpage.
E. PBIF Community Grants with OCRA for 2018. Request members interested in working on 2018 submittal. Status on recommended outreach to the Chamber of Commerce to spearhead
Ms. Fezler stated the grant involvement was submitted to the Chamber of Commerce Board and approved at its last meeting. Mr. Georgiou asked if she knew who was assigned to work on the project. Ms. Fezler stated she would be involved and Ms. Hernandez also agreed to assist with the process from the Town’s perspective.

Mr. Georgiou asked what type of notice will be received for the 2018 grant. Ms. Fezler responded that the information is already available for 2018, and she has read through it. She stated the process can begin now. Mr. Kil asked if Ms. Hernandez has read through the information yet. Ms. Hernandez stated she was planning on meeting with Ms. Fezler to discuss the project.

Ms. Fezler stated the grants are awarded to communities who put a lot of thought behind the submissions and even incorporate high school students to come up with ideas for service projects. Ms. Fezler stated she and Ms. Hernandez would do some brainstorming, but that would help from an award standpoint. She hopes to get more people involved in the process. Ms. Hernandez added that Clark Middle School has an outstanding merit program, so that might be a possibility for the 8th grade merit students to become involved in the project.

Mr. Georgiou stated he would keep the item on the agenda and updates can be given.

NEW BUSINESS:

A. Road Impact Fee Study Briefing
Mr. Georgiou stated there is an on-going advisory committee looking at road impact fees being assessed against commercial and residential development. He stated it could have a significant impact on development if it is enacted.

Mr. Kil added that over the last five months, the consultants have been preparing and completing all of the “leg work” to come up with a final fee. Two hundred and fifty thousand hours of engineering studies have been completed with over twenty-five intersections and another twenty segments of roadway. A segment of roadway would be Parrish from Joliet to 231. 101st is a segment. 231 from Calumet to 41 would constitute a segment. All of these segments have been studied along with various intersections. It has been determined there is 11 million dollars’ worth of outstanding work necessary to bring the Town’s roadway system up to an acceptable standard. Mr. Kil stated in this case, it would be Level D. Mr. Georgiou stated for clarification purposes it is graded from A to E. Mr. Kil added the Town chose Level D because Levels A and B are unobtainable. He stated C is very rare, and D seems to be the standard. It is too costly and too hard to obtain the other levels.

Mr. Kil said 11 million dollars are needed to bring the roads up to par to meet the current needs. He stated, as the Town continues to grow, the roadway infrastructure needs will obviously grow as well. According to the traffic engineer, that is 81 million dollars’ worth of work. Mr. Kil stated that is the “sticking point” on how you fund that amount of money.

Mr. Kil mentioned the engineer also conducted a trip analysis. The Institute of Traffic Engineers has a series of volumes of books with various trip analyses in them including McDonald’s, Walmart, single-family homes, townhomes, duplexes, etc. Whatever is named, there has been a trip study completed. Mr. Kil added a trip is considered one way, not there and back. He stated the trip analysis looked at all of the potential future growth in and around the community. This included all of the annexations, the lots not currently build upon and all of the developments approved, but just not constructed.

Mr. Kil stated the engineer determined that the Town’s development would warrant an impact fee of five thousand dollars on each single family home. He stated their town already has the highest building permits in the area. A building permit currently costs about 12 thousand dollars to build a house. He stated the Impact Fee committee is evaluating the addition of another 5 thousand dollars. He stated the cost for commercial is exponential. The engineer did an analysis on a 200,000 square foot shopping center and the impact fee would be 4 million dollars. He stated that is just not feasible. Mr. Kil stated if Mr. DeYoung was going to come into town and was told in addition to his building permit, he owes an additional $375,000 for an impact fee, he probably could not build his building. He stated that caused the Impact Fee Committee to pause and step back to take a look at it.

Mr. Kil stated the development community and the building community were invited to two meetings so far. The first one was a staff meeting and the second one was the regular board meeting. He provided Mr. Georgiou with a copy of the sign-in sheet from that meeting to see who was in attendance, as well as all of the documents from the meeting that show how the fee is calculated. He stated he is sure Mr. Georgiou would be happy to share that information with this committee.

Mr. DeYoung asked who sits on the Impact Fee Advisory Committee. Mr. Kil stated the committee is comprised of builders, developers, and real estate brokers. He stated the law requires these types of people on the committee because you have to represent that industry.

Mr. Kil added, there is a lot of concern from the building and development community, he has concerns and the board was full of concerns. He added you cannot institute something that will jeopardize the economic vitality of the community and will hinder growth, especially commercial. Mr. Kil said the only way to offset a property tax rate or keep the taxes down is commercial development. He added they pay the highest taxes and require no services. Single-family homes and residential, in general, is tough because of ongoing maintenance. He stated that is where the problems exist with plowing all of the snow, paving all of the streets, fixing the curbs and sidewalks, and following through on drainage and code compliance complaints. He stated he does not experience those problems with commercial.

Mr. Kil mentioned they do not receive any benefits from sales taxes in Indiana. He stated the Town does not have Home Rule and cannot just raise taxes. He added the only thing that can be used to keep the assessed value growing, but offset the residential property tax rate, is commercial. He stated people also want commercial growth like restaurants.

Mr. Kil stated this is the most complicated thing he has ever been involved with and requested the EDC to attend the September 11th meeting at 9 a.m. He expects about 40 builders and developers in attendance. They asked for that much time from the August 7th meeting so they could study all of the documents, review what is being proposed, and perhaps offer an alternative to it. He stated the groups are not “butting heads” and realize the Town needs to do something in order to pave roads, widen intersections, and add center turn lanes. Mr. Kil mentioned they are not oblivious to the fact the Town needs help completing these items but proceeding smartly is very important.

Mr. Georgiou mentioned he would forward the PowerPoint presentation to the committee. Mr. Kil stated he has electronic versions of all of the documents and he can send them to Mr. Georgiou to distribute.

Mr. Kil said that was a brief recap on the Road Impact Fee study and reiterated it is a very complicated process. Mr. DeYoung said there needs to be a balance to attract business and not scare them away. Mr. Kil stated when the committee saw those numbers, they got scared because people can move just outside of Town, and then the Town would still get the traffic without the benefit of permit fees, tax base, or anything like that. The commercial will skip the Town over and nobody wants that to happen. He stated the committee is taking the job very seriously and he, personally, has never completed this process before.

Ms. Fezler asked how many other towns in Indiana have a Road Impact Fee. Mr. Kil responded three towns, but only one town charges it. He stated a town just north of Indianapolis is in the process of revising their fees because is not worth it unless the town is growing.

Mr. Kil mentioned the dollar amounts being recommended are the maximum, and it can be any percentage less than that. The maximum is what is supported by law. The Town Council can take the Impact Fee and knock it down by 90 percent or the committee could recommend that. Then, it has to go to a Public Hearing in front of the Plan Commission. There are many levels this has to go through before it gets to the Town Council. The development community and builders are looking at it hard right now to reach a happy medium.

Ms. Fezler asked if it would even be helpful, in the end, if only 10 percent was charged. Mr. Kil replied that it would not make much of a difference if a couple hundred dollars were collected per house, but if $1,000 was collected, it could make an impact. The question is what that equates to on a commercial development. It has to stay on parody. He added a small increase was acceptable on a residential building permit.

However, it would scare away potential developers on a commercial building. He stated the commercial developers are getting a seventeen dollar per square foot lease rate in Town. The impact fee alone would raise it another seventeen dollars and thirty-four dollars per square foot cannot be supported. Ms. Fezler added, from a bank perspective, those amounts simply could not be financed. Mr. Kil responded that this has far-reaching effects.

(General discussion ensued.)

Mr. Georgiou stated he appreciated the update and felt it was worthy of informing the EDC as well.

REPORTS AND CORRESPONDENCE:

A. BOARD MEMBERS

Ms. Fezler stated she emailed Mr. Georgiou and wanted to know if he had a chance to think about her email regarding projects occurring in Town. Mr. Georgiou stated he had and was planning on commenting.

Mr. Georgiou stated he had a discussion with Ms. Fezler and talked to Mr. Kil before the meeting and asked if any commercial project proposed in the Town go before the Plan Commission. Mr. Georgiou advised that Mr. Kil said it did. Mr. Georgiou stated he asked if the EDC could get copied on the Plan Commission Study Session agendas when they are published to allow the EDC to see all of the proposed projects coming before the Town. Mr. Kil stated the EDC could be put on the list for all agendas, both the study session and regular meetings. Ms. Hernandez stated she sends the agendas out to interested parties so she could add all of their email addresses. She added they would receive all documents she has, minutes, and agendas. Ms. Hernandez asked if anyone had any interest in BZA. Mr. DeYoung said he had interest. Ms. Fezler stated she has an interest and mentioned she brought this up because there are a lot of Chamber members who are either supporting or advocating for growth of business in Town. Ms. Fezler receives emails, calls, and questions about development, and she would like to be knowledgeable about the process and details about the projects. Mr. Kil added that it will be helpful once the Chamber has their office at Town Hall.

Mr. Georgiou stated he also wanted to discuss having a potential study session or in- depth briefing about TIF funding and some other potential topics the EDC is often presented with but does not have a complete understanding. He asked if there were any other topics the committee members were interested in learning about in a study session or in a separate meeting. Mr. Kil suggested picking one topic a month during the regular meetings. Mr. Georgiou stated he asked Mr. Kil about the Town budget process and was told budgets are posted on the DLGF site and the 2018 budget be on the Town Council’s September 28 agenda for a Public Hearing. Mr. DeYoung stated he thought TIF was a good place to start because they field a lot of questions from the public and they could then talk a little more intelligently. Mr. Kil told Mr. Georgiou to let him know ahead of time and he could possibly get a guest speaker.

(General discussion ensued.)

B. STAFF

There was none.

PUBLIC COMMENT:

There was none.

ADJOURNMENT:

Mr. Georgiou asked for a motion to adjourn. Ms. Fezler made a motion to adjourn. Mr. DeYoung seconded the motion. The motion was carried by voice vote (5/0). Ayes--- five. Nays---none.

(The meeting adjourned at 5:29 p.m.)

ATTEST:

____________________________________

Beth R Hernandez
Clerk-Treasurer

09-28-2017 Economic Development Committee

September 28, 2017 Economic Development Committee Minutes

NICK GEORGIOU, PRESIDENT MARK BARENIE STEPHEN KIL, TOWN MANAGER
WILLIAM KEITH, VICE-PRESIDENT GINA FEZLER BETH HERNANDEZ, CLERK-TREASURER
RICHARD SETLAK, SECRETARY KELLY STOMING DAVID AUSTGEN, ATTORNEY
JOHN DEYOUNG GINA FEZLER  

CALL TO ORDER:

Mr. Georgiou called the September 28, 2017 Economic Development Committee meeting to order at 5:00 p.m.

(The Pledge of Allegiance was recited by all.)

ROLL CALL:

Clerk-Treasurer Beth Hernandez took roll call with the following members present: Nick Georgiou, Richard Setlak, John DeYoung, and Gina Fezler. Town Manager, Steve Kil, was present. Attorney David Austgen was absent. William Keith and Mark Barenie were absent. Kelly Stoming entered the meeting at 5:03 p.m.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES: August 24, 2017

Mr. Georgiou asked if there were any comments or recommendations to the minutes. Mr. Setlak made a motion to accept the minutes as presented. Ms. Fezler seconded the motion. The motion was carried by voice vote (4/0). Ayes—four. Nays—none.

OLD BUSINESS:

A. Boyer Development Project and Route 41 Traffic Improvements—Status Update on Schedule
Mr. Kil stated Mr. Boyer is still working on the details with the Buchannan family, so they are behind schedule. Mr. Kil added he is not going to prepare another timeline until the Town has a signed EDC agreement as he has had to revise it at least a dozen times already. Mr. Kil said he would keep the EDC members “in the loop” but the Town was not moving forward until they have a signed EDC agreement with Boyer.

Mr. DeYoung asked what the hold-up was on the project. Mr. Kil replied it was the property owner himself. Mr. Georgiou added the Town has signed the EDC agreement. Mr. Kil agreed but added that Boyer cannot sign it until he has his agreement with Buchannan finalized. He said Boyer could not appear before the Town until he represents the entire development as a whole. Mr. Kil stated it is a business deal and sometimes those things take time. Mr. Kil concluded he would continue to keep the committee informed.

B. Review of Potential Commercial/Residential Developments—Status Update
Mr. Kil stated the Town Council is going to adopt an annexation ordinance for the property on the south side of 109th, just to the west of Palmira Golf Course. He added Olthof is ultimately going to purchase this property.

Mr. Kil mentioned he had a meeting with the engineers for Family Express. He said it is a“cool” plan for Parrish and 109th, which will include a pet washing station, and small dog park.

Mr. Kil said that, tonight, the Utility Board is going to entertain Protestant Christian Academy, the feeder school for Illiana Christian High School. He said they are looking at building a new school, not in Town, but one mile south of Illiana Christian on Calumet Avenue. They are asking for extension of the utilities.

Mr. Georgiou asked if the Lance project was going back in. Mr. Kil replied it was in front of the Plan Commission right now.

Mr. Georgiou questioned if Levin Tire was still active. Mr. Kil replied Mr. Levin definitely wants to locate in this community. He added now that summer is over and fall is here people are getting more active in their plans.

C. Status of Metrostudy Opportunity Analysis Study
Mr. Kil stated he received an email from Mark Gianopulos that indicated they are running behind schedule due to one of their primary offices in Houston, Texas being wiped out by the hurricane. All of their planners and analysts had to evacuate. Mr. Kil added that Mr. Gianopulos guaranteed him the Metrostudy Analysis would be completed by the week of October 16th and will be delivered to St. John on or before October 20th. Mr. Georgiou concluded it should be available for their next meeting to review.
D. Proposed EDC home page review on Town website comments. Approved. When can we add EDC to the Town website?
Mr. Georgiou stated he received a couple of minor comments from a few months ago and sent them to Mr. Kil and Mr. Dravet. He said they met briefly, and the EDC page will launch on the Town’s website tomorrow. He said it is currently one page with a bunch of links to various plans, traffic, and etcetera.

Mr. Georgiou added that the EDC is recommending the Town Council consider revamping the entire website. Mr. Kil said they met with companies and have a couple of quotes. There is one company they particularly like. He added $13,000 will give St. John a brand new website. If the Town wants to add a couple of videos and really enhance it, it will add another $800.00 here, $1,000 there. The plan is to get the actual website up and running first, and then “pretty it up.” The website re-haul is out for signature tonight; if the Town Council approves the expense, they will be able to get working on that.

E. PBIF Community Grants with OCRA for 2018. G. Fezler and B. Hernandez to update.
Ms. Fezler stated Ms. Hernandez and she talked briefly about it. Ms. Fezler added that she brought it up to the Chamber, and it was approved at the last meeting. She said they are trying to figure out, from a Chamber perspective, how they would like to handle it. She mentioned possibly voting on different types of projects they are going to propose. Ms. Fezler added they are continuing to talk about it. She said when they have additional information, she will share it with Ms. Hernandez and the group. The deadline is July 2018, so they have plenty of time. Mr. Georgiou added he would keep it on the agenda just as a reminder.
F. Road Impact Fee—Update Status of Advisory Committee and schedule.
Mr. Georgiou stated he attended the September 11th Road Impact Fee Advisory Committee meeting, and it was very informative. The next meeting is October 16th at 9 a.m. He said it was a very interesting topic with lively discussion.

Mr. Kil stated this could be the most difficult thing he has ever worked on. It is just a complicated topic, and the engineering alone is just exhausting.

Mr. Georgiou stated the impact fee can only be used for future improvements. It cannot be used to fix anything currently deficient. He reiterated it would be used for future improvements, expansions, and etcetera. He said he found the topic very interesting and the advisory committee has their hands full.

NEW BUSINESS:

A. Schedule TIF presentation for EDC B. Schedule presentation for EDC on methods for road funding including bonds, grants, fees, etc for roadway improvements

Mr. Georgiou stated they discussed at the last meeting to have a presentation on a couple of topics to include in their regular EDC meetings. One of the topics included a TIF presentation and one was a more in-depth understanding of how road improvements are handled in the Town, including means, methods, grants, fees, and etcetera.

Mr. Georgiou stated if the committee was interested, they could schedule one of these for potentially the next meeting. He mentioned TIF could possibly be the one they put on the October agenda. Mr. DeYoung added he would like to see that.

Mr. Georgiou said next month would only include Metrostudy discussion and then they could focus on the TIF presentation. He looked to Mr. Kil or Ms. Hernandez to present. Mr. Kil stated it would be like a workshop. Mr. Georgiou replied that would be fine. Mr. DeYoung stated they would receive a lot of questions once Boyer comes through and they need to be able to talk intelligently on it.

Mr. Georgioiu asked if one of Mr. Boyer’s scheduling items is the TIF funding approval through a public hearing. Mr. Kil answered affirmatively.

(General discussion ensued.)

Mr. Georgiou stated, technically, they could do the roadway presentation the following month, but that brings them into November already with the holidays. Mr. Kil replied he had to adjust the November and December meeting schedule due to Thanksgiving and Christmas and suggested the EDC take a couple of month break over the holidays. He said they would have the Metrostudy and the TIF presentation completed and if there is some hot topic, the group could schedule a meeting if needed.

Mr. Georgiou stated they would want to pass the Metrostudy on to the Town Council, and if they only receive the study on October 20th, he does not feel they would be able to make the recommendation immediately. Mr. Georgiou said if there are any revisions or comments needed, he doubts they would have it back in time. Mr. Kil stated the Town is simply paying for the document, and it does not need to be approved.

(General discussion ensued.)

Ms. Fezler suggested the Metrostudy subcommittee meet and make possible recommendations to the EDC based on the information in the document.

(General discussion ensued.)

REPORTS AND CORRESPONDENCE:

A. BOARD MEMBERS

Mr. Georgiou asked if the Town actually tore down the Lake Hills Clubhouse. Mr. Kil replied it is scheduled for demolition and that there will be no more haunted house. He said they did a Phase 1 Environmental because there was some old asbestos tile in the building. It is fine when it is in place, but once it is demolished, problems can arise. A company is going to come in to remove it at a cost of about $3,000. Once they are done, the demo company will follow, and it will be down prior to Halloween. It will be regraded, planted, and seeded.

B. STAFF

Mr. Kil wanted to let the committee know the TIF presentation will be ready to go from next month.

PUBLIC COMMENT:

There was none.

ADJOURNMENT:

Mr. Georgiou asked for a motion to adjourn. “So moved,” by Mr. DeYoung. Ms. Stoming seconded the motion. The motion was carried by voice vote (5/0). Ayes--- five. Nays---none.

(The meeting adjourned at 5:17 p.m.)

ATTEST:

____________________________________

Beth R Hernandez
Clerk-Treasurer

10-26-2017 Economic Development Committee

October 26, 2017 Economic Development Committee Minutes

NICK GEORGIOU, PRESIDENT MARK BARENIE STEPHEN KIL, TOWN MANAGER
WILLIAM KEITH, VICE-PRESIDENT GINA FEZLER BETH HERNANDEZ, CLERK-TREASURER
RICHARD SETLAK, SECRETARY KELLY STOMING DAVID AUSTGEN, ATTORNEY
JOHN DEYOUNG GINA FEZLER  

CALL TO ORDER:

Mr. Georgiou called the October 26, 2017 Economic Development Committee meeting to order at 4:58 p.m.

(The Pledge of Allegiance was recited by all.)

ROLL CALL:

Kathy Balicki took roll call with the following members present: Nick Georgiou (exited at 5:39 PM), Richard Setlak, John DeYoung, and Mark Barenie. Town Manager, Steve Kil, was present. Attorney David Austgen was absent. Gina Fezler, Kelly Stoming, and William Keith were absent. Rick Eberly was present.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES: September 28, 2017

Mr. Georgiou asked if there were any comments regarding the minutes. “I move to motion to accept,” by Mr. DeYoung. Mr. Setlak seconded the motion. The motion was carried by voice vote (4/0). Ayes—four. Nays—none.

OLD BUSINESS:

A. Previous Old Business items are being deferred to the next meeting.

Mr. Georgiou stated “Old Business” was being deferred to the November meeting, which will be the last meeting for the year.

NEW BUSINESS:

A. TIF Presentation for EDC by S. Kil, R. Eberly, B. Hernandez
Mr. Georgiou stated the Committee requested an overview of TIF in St. John—what it is and how it works as a primer for the Economic Development Committee.

Mr. Kil stated the Committee should have a binder in front of them that contains the material he and Mr. Eberly will touch on during the presentation. He added they are going to try to keep it general. He asked Mr. Eberly to join him because for years and years, when he was in Dyer, they utilized their TIF Districts to their advantage, including Calumet Avenue. He said he would let Mr. Eberly explain further. Mr. Kil added he was involved in TIF in Schererville, and he has been involved in TIF for 17 years in St. John. Mr. Kil concluded they would give a brief overview of TIF, how it is used, why it is used, and how to collect taxes. He added it would all be in general terms.

Mr. Kil stated all of the possible questions anyone may have are answered in the binder. There are a lot of resource tools, and it can be read at the Committee’s leisure. Located in the binder is also a TIF District map of St. John. Mr. Kil wanted to explain that the legend represents Old TIF, TIF 1, TIF 2, and the white area, which is not TIF.

Mr. Georgiou asked if all three TIFs were current. Mr. Kil answered Old TIF is part of TIF 1. He added the community drew a TIF district back in 1996 and then it was redrawn in 2014. Old TIF and TIF 1 are synonymous—they are the same district. The map just shows what was existing and what was added to the district because there were many questions about what was the previous district and what was added. Mr. Kil said it was easier to show using different colors on the map. He added TIF 2 is along the 231 corridor between Cline and Parrish, the lower right-hand corner of the map in the lavender color. Mr. Kil said he just wanted to clarify the map so the Committee members knew exactly what they were looking at.

Mr. Kil introduced Mr. Eberly by stating he was Dyer’s Town Manager and Redevelopment Director, similar to Mr. Kil’s position in St. John. Mr. Kil said he would let Mr. Eberly give the overview and then they could entertain some questions.

Mr. Eberly started by saying the first section of the binder is titled Overview of Tax Increment Financing and Redevelopment Commission in Indiana, which was prepared by Barnes and Thornburg in April 2014. He said it is an excellent summary of the topic. Mr. Eberly stated he reviewed it again today, and it was an excellent refresher for him, and he enjoyed reading it. He added state law does not call it a TIF district, but calls it an Allocation Area. The state law, which is 36-7-14-39, is where it starts getting into the Allocation Area. Mr. Eberly said the idea is to create a TIF district and capture it at its lowest base assessed value. Mr. Eberly provided an example. If the Target and Aldi area were already developed, and it was not a TIF, the Town would not want to create a TIF around it because its assessed value is already as high as it is going to get. He explained you want to capture the area when it is vacant land, but you want to make sure you believe it has the potential for development because capturing vacant land that is never going to be developed is not helpful. The Town cannot reap the benefits of the development. Mr. Eberly said you capture the land at its lowest assessed value and as development occurs, the Redevelopment Commission captures all of the taxes on the new development.

Mr. Eberly stated joining the presentation is Mr. Tim Brown who is a Lake County Economic Development Director. He was formerly Town Manager in Cedar Lake and Merrillville and also Director of Building and Planning in Merrillville. Mr. Eberly stated Mr. Brown has had extensive experience with TIF Districts and will share a Merrillville story later.

Mr. Eberly stated all of the underlying or overlapping taxing districts—the schools, the county, the libraries, the State—all continue to get their share of the taxes paid on the base assessed value of the TIF District. For example, if you have a base assessed value of 1 million dollars in your TIF District and you get development going and that goes to 4 million dollars, that increment (the difference between the 4 and 1million dollars), the taxes paid on the 3 million dollars is entirely captured by the Redevelopment Commission of the community. It is a tremendous revenue source that allows the community to do projects that otherwise would not be able to be completed.

Mr. Kil interjected and said he is going to put a graph on the screen that is found in the handbook towards the back. He said it is section 1, page 3, “Fundamentals”. He added the graph illustrates what Mr. Eberly is discussing.

Mr. Kil said if the TIF District is generating $1,000 and that money is split between all of the overlapping taxing districts (school, county, etc.), the theory is that without TIF that area would not be developed. He added no one is losing anything. He said if the Town creates a TIF District, development occurs, and now the assessed value goes from $1,000 to $10,000, the Town will capture $9,000. He added the base assessed value always continues to go where it always did. He explained no one ever loses anything; they just do not gain anything. He added you cannot capture that assessed value to pay your debt.

Mr. Georgiou asked if there was an expiration on that. Mr. Eberly answered there are statuary expirations depending on when the TIF District was created. For example, Dyer’s original district was created in 1992, and it did not have an expiration date until the law changed and imposed one on the older “Legacy” TIF Districts. Mr. Eberly added it is included in the overview section in the binder regarding the Sunset Provisions for each TIF District.

Mr. DeYoung asked if it was 10 or 15 years. Mr. Eberly answered it is 25 to 30 years with the older districts being 30 years and the newer districts 25 years. Mr. Eberly added that there is a provision in the law that states if you create a TIF district, but do not establish debt yet, then your “clock does not start ticking” until you establish debt, such as by selling bonds for a project. Once the Town sells bonds for the project, then the 25-year time period starts. He added it was a good change in the state law. They did put the Sunset Provision on the older “Legacy” TIF districts created prior to 1995. He continued there is now an expiration date for the “Legacy” TIF districts as well.

Mr. Georgiou questioned if the Town benefits for that whole period of 25 years. Mr. Kil responded and said you need about a 20-year span when you issue any kind of debt. Mr. Kil said the first real TIF District established in St. John was in 1996 for Ravenswood Subdivision. He stated, back then, the Town Council established the TIF District, but then they granted tax abatements in the TIF District. Mr. Kil elaborated that is the cardinal rule against TIF Districts; you do not want to grant tax abatements in TIF Districts because you count on the taxes being collected to pay off the debt. If you abate the taxes, you are not collecting anything. He said in Ravenswood, the developer bought his own bonds, so the only one who was out the money was the developer. The TIF that St. John did for Strack’s and Target was a developer bought bond as well, so there is no risk to the community. If the developer’s project does not go then the stores do not get built. Those stores do not start paying taxes. The developer does not get paid. He added it is that simple; there is no bail out for the developers.

Mr. Kil continued that when the Town established their new TIF District, they took the old TIF and incorporated it into TIF 1. By doing that, the Town is still collecting that increment that was generated from developed property. Mr. Kil stated the Town is collecting about $800,000 a year from the TIF District. He further stated the Town is able to use the money and leverage that money against TIF debt to do TIF projects. He added it took a while for St. John to build the revenue up. St. John did not have any revenue built up when they first did the Strack’s and Target project.

Mr. Kil added not every development qualifies for TIF. It has to be a larger project that requires a significant amount of public improvements that would otherwise preclude anything from being developed. He added it is similar to what Schererville did with the Shoppes on Main. Schererville wanted a certain level of development, and they had to assist the developer in order to get the type of construction and the type of businesses they hoped to have there. He said, for example, in St. John, McDonald’s did not get a TIF. He added no stand-alone businesses gets a TIF. The businesses really have to bring a significant benefit to the community in order for the Town Council to consider a TIF District from someone.

Mr. Eberly stated, oftentimes, a TIF District is established to help finance infrastructure. He said, in Dyer, they created their TIF District in 1992 and their goal was to build Calumet Avenue, and to the extent they were able to, rebuild Sheffield Avenue. He said they were ultimately able to do that, but it was a gamble to put in Calumet Avenue, in hopes that Dyer would realize economic development, and that occurred in spades.

Fortunately, Dyer was able to get federal funding for Calumet Avenue, so 80 percent of the project’s cost was covered by federal funds. Even with the federal funds, Dyer’s cost was close to 4 million dollars to put Calumet Avenue in, and the total cost was about 13 million dollars. The reason it was more than 20 percent is because Dyer added some extras that the federal process would not pay for. Dyer put in 4 million dollars for Calumet Avenue and, shortly thereafter, a developer snatched up 35 acres, which is now the northeast corner of Calumet and Route 30 to build the Jewel store and the commercial plaza, which surrounds that. Fortunately, for Dyer, because it is a Legacy TIF, you could also do residential TIF Districts at that time. Mr. Eberly estimates that Dyer’s TIF District brings in about 4 million dollars a year to that community and probably just over half of that is from residential taxes being paid.

Mr. Eberly stated he liked the diversity of that TIF District as opposed to some TIF Districts being dependent on one big user. If that user goes “belly-up,” there is a “boatload of problems.” Fortunately, for Dyer’s case, they do not have that problem. Even in the commercial uses, there is not just one big commercial user. Mr. Kil asked if that area of Route 30 would not have been developed without Calumet Avenue. Mr. Eberly answered affirmatively. Mr. Kil stated there always needs to have some inherent benefit. Mr. DeYoung said that area is just thriving today.

Mr. Kil stated Strack’s and Target could not have been built without relocating the St. John ditch, which was a 2 million dollar project. The dividends have paid off and the debt has been paid off a long time ago. It worked out perfectly.

Mr. Eberly said he and Mr. Kil have talked how TIF is one of the only economic development tools out there, and it is the best one. He added there are also tax abatements, but in most cases, you do not grant a tax abatement in a TIF District because it is counterproductive. He added there are some situations where it might be considered but not very often. He added that every year someone introduces legislation to handcuff TIF. He said someone is always introducing legislation to put more constraints on TIF because there are some communities that may be abusing it. He added he is not aware of them particularly.

Mr. Barenie stated he appreciates the binder he was presented with, but wanted to ask if there have been any revisions to the documents since April 2014, which was three years ago. Mr. Eberly stated there have been some changes in TIF law.

Mr. Barenie stated Mr. Kil and Mr. Eberly are working for the Town, as he is, but he is a resident as well. Mr. Barenie looked at this a while back when one of the developers tried to bring in a different type of TIF. He said everything that has been explained he feels is right, but he also feels that when you look at a TIF, each one is unique, and you have to look at the whole Town and everything about the Master Plan. He said TIFs are good, but if you continue having them, you will end up with a problem. He rhetorically asked, “How do I know you have problems?” He said you can go to California and take a look at what they have done with their TIFs over the last 30 years. He said they are in big trouble just like the City of Chicago. He added there is a reason why people want to put clauses on them because you can go the other way with it.

Mr. Barenie said the TIF described in Dyer was TIF plus residential. Mr. Eberly stated it had a residential component. Mr. Barenie said he did research when one of St. John’s developers wanted to put in a residential TIF so he could pass the information on to the Council. He said that kind is different because the residential housing, from what he understands, does not go to the schools and libraries. Mr. Eberly said the base assessed value does but not the increase. Mr. Barenie said that is a big burden on the taxes on the schools and libraries. He added that needs to be taken into consideration.

Mr. DeYoung added it does not change; if you have a piece of blighted ground, and it is getting $1,000 tax, that still goes to the school just not the increment. Mr. Barenie stated if there is residential property that is going to go, once you take it, those homes are never going to contribute, but the kids are going to be in the system.

Mr. Brown interjected and said there is a new law called a HO-TIF that is limited to 300 acres in size. He continued that they changed the funding formula for schools. Schools do not rely on property taxes like they did in the past. It is a different formula, so the impact is not the same. In fact, there were law changes in 1995-2001 that excluded residential completely. He continued they have now added a section where you can do a HO-TIF.

Mr. Barenie asked if it was done recently because when he did his research, there were not a lot of them in the State of Indiana, and there must be a reason why. Mr. Brown said they added it back in 2015 or 2016. Mr. Brown added it started as a pilot project in Marion County, and they did some very successful homes on River Road where they took old housing stock, did a HO-TIF, and now those units are very popular.

Mr. Barenie stated he is not going to argue that, but he is talking about a residential TIF in a beautiful subdivision here in St. John that has $300, $400, $500 thousand homes. He said it is a different story and each TIF District is unique. Mr. Brown stated he does not think a HO-TIF would qualify for that type of development. Mr. Eberly agreed it would not qualify. Mr. Brown said it has to be a redevelopment in an older housing area. He said he was looking at it in Calumet Township, unincorporated. He said he is trying to convince the County Commissioners to try to do something to establish it.

They have a $71 million dollar obligation to try to put sewers in that area. He added you cannot have HO-TIF pay for that.

Mr. Barenie asked what HO-TIF referred to. Mr. Brown answered it was Housing Tax Increment Taxing. Mr. Kil added it was residential TIF. Mr. Brown added it was limited to 300 acres for the whole jurisdiction. Mr. Eberly said it is basically a redevelopment effort of low quality housing.

Mr. Kil reiterated not everything that comes in qualifies for TIF; the Town Council is pretty picky and there has to be a big benefit for the community in order for the project to qualify for TIF. He said St. John does not give actual money for the development and construction of buildings. The money St. John puts in is in the ground and strictly for public infrastructure.

Mr. Kil mentioned it also has to be inner serving the TIF District. St. John has a large TIF District, so it is easy. In the outer circle it gets a little gray when you try to branch money away from the TIF District you have to show a direct correlation and core benefit of how that money will benefit that District. Mr. Kil provided the example of building a road to get to the TIF District. He added it is all public infrastructure improvements. He said Mr. Brown has done it in Merrillville, and he is trying to do one in Calumet Township now. Mr. Barenie asked if they were referring to HO-TIFs or residential. Mr. Kil answered commercial TIFs.

Mr. DeYoung asked where the money is found for the existing areas that need the improvements in Town. He added that is the tough part because the Town does not want to raise taxes, and it does not get any federal government money. He said St. John needs 93rd expansion. Mr. Eberly responded that TIF money could be used for that purpose. Mr. Kil clarified if the roads are in the TIF District.

Mr. DeYoung asked if St. John could take the money from the TIF District south on 41 and use it for 93rd. Mr. Eberly answered the Town could not take the money from TIF 2 and use it in TIF 1 because they are two separate Districts. Mr. Kil added it gets a little gray. He elaborated that if St. John was to do a project on 93rd that was in the current TIF 1 District, the Town has to look at the “or serving” part. He said as far as how far the Town could go on 93rd or how far the lawyer would allow would depend on the project. Mr. Kil said if St. John came up with a project on 93rd, the Bond Council would ask how it is benefiting the TIF District. He said you cannot pave a road two miles away and say it is serving the TIF District.

Mr. Eberly said it was done in Dyer. Mr. Kil responded St. John would have to prove how it would benefit the District. Mr. DeYoung said a benefit would be ease of traffic. Mr. Eberly provided the following example. Hart Street/Sheffield Street in Dyer was in a good portion of the TIF District, but from Route 30 south it was not in the TIF District, but it served the District so the street was paved all the way to the southern town limit with TIF money. He said Dyer did the same thing with 213th Street that runs east and west through the TIF District. They repaved the entire 213th Street with TIF money.

Mr. Brown added that is the beauty of the law; anything that goes through the District, including a drainage ditch, storm water, roads, etcetera, the TIF money revenue can be used. For example, in Merrillville when Meijer’s was built on US 30, that was the Town’s first TIF District. Merrillville Road is a 4-way road heading south to 93rd Avenue, but the TIF District stopped at 84th, and only went three blocks. The improvements done just north of Route 30 by the church, including Merrillville Road all the way to 73rd, were paid for by Meijer’s. He added none of that area is in the TIF District. He said 93rd Avenue is a 4-lane road and Merrillville got the match money from the same TIF District.

Mr. Kil provided an example. If the Boyer project ever came to fruition and it got done and St. John put 96th Avenue in and connected it to Joliet Street, the Town could make a solid argument that Joliet Street serves that TIF District. He added the Town cannot make a solid argument that the street and subdivision road on West Oakridge has anything to do with it. He said you cannot make those kinds of arguments. The Town has to start generating the income in the District.

Mr. DeYoung asked who approves the TIF District once it is established. He asked if it goes to the State or someone on the State level to approve it. Mr. Kil said the Redevelopment Commission makes the approval. He added in St. John’s case, the Redevelopment Commission is the Town Council. Mr. Brown said the Town Council is the Redevelopment Commission in Merrillville as well. Mr. Eberly said it’s the same in Dyer. Mr. Kil said Schererville Town Council is also the Redevelopment Commission. Mr. Brown added it is not uncommon. Mr. Eberly mentioned about two years ago, the Town Council in Dyer became the Redevelopment Commission. Prior to that, it was a separate body. Mr. Brown said in Cedar Lake, he actually got rid of the EDC and converted it to the RDC, the Redevelopment Commission, and it is not part of the Council. Mr. Kil said each community is slightly different. He said every community has to have a Redevelopment Commission though, and these TIF’s are actually EDA’s or Economic Development Areas. He said it has to be funded through the Redevelopment Commission.

Mr. Brown said the EDA, the Economic Development Area, is typically for acquiring farmland or vacant land and converting it or you can have an RDA, a Redevelopment Area. He said that is what is usually done in the older subdivisions or the older commercial areas. He provided an example that in Merrillville’s case, they expanded their TIF District all the way up along Broadway to the Town Hall where all of the Town Hall improvements were paid for because the TIF District was expanded. He said it was a Redevelopment District, not an EDA.

Mr. Kil said St. John did that. The 2010 Road Bond was a Redevelopment Authority Bond. The Redevelopment Authority is the same gentleman as the Building Commission or the Holding Corporation for the building here. He said that is how St. John funded the five million dollar road bond that paved 20 percent of the roads in this community. It was done through a Redevelopment Authority. He said St. John has done creative financing. He added to answer Mr. DeYoung’s question of how do you pull money out of this to go pave subdivision streets, the answer is that you do not do it.

Mr. Brown stated years ago, they paid for lots of things including the rental of fire hydrants and Public Works vehicles. Mr. Kil responded it has been determined that it cannot be done anymore. Mr. Brown explained they changed the rules so those types of things cannot be done anymore.

Mr. Kil said in St. John’s case, they concentrate on public infrastructure. Right now, St. John is generating $800,000 a year in our TIF District. He added that would be the base, and once Boyer is included, St. John would capture that increment which would generate 2.2 million dollars a year. He said it does not take long and a nice bond issue could be done where the citizenry does not pay for it. The taxes that those businesses will be paying, will pay that bond issue. He added that is the nice thing with a TIF bond; the people do not pay for it.

Mr. Kil said when everything is done with the TIF Districts, the Town would release all of the taxes they were collecting to everybody. So, everybody would get this big infusion of tax money. He added that is the theory behind it. Mr. Brown added the nice thing is, if you do it right, you can actually see a reduction in your property taxes because you are slicing the pie differently in that tax base. Since you will have a huge infusion of tax dollars, that means everybody is going to be paying less.

Mr. DeYoung asked why would the schools object to this. Mr. Brown answered the schools do not object much anymore. He said that is the key. Mr. Brown asked if St. John had a school board member on their RDC committee. Mr. Kil answered they have both a Hanover and Lake Central representative. Mr. Brown said it is a requirement of the Redevelopment Commission to have a school board member. Mr. Eberly added these representatives are non-voting but still members. Mr. Brown said that was brought up from the very beginning because when TIF Districts were created at the initial start, you could actually capture the base. It cannot be done anymore with schools, but the school board members are still attached to the RDC. Mr. DeYoung said the schools are not fighting anymore because whatever the base tax was, they are still receiving it.

Mr. Kil said it was done correctly in St. John. When the Strack’s and Target bond was paid off, St. John released all of their tax increment for several years. Now, St. John found a project that made sense to the community, so they started recapturing that tax money again so it could be used to pay off a bond. To show how significant it is, Mr. Kil said with their current TIF, and the money St. John is receiving (about $800,000 a year), that gives St. John 150 percent debt service coverage on a five million dollar bond. He said Cender provided that figure. He added when Boyer would be done and St. John is collecting all of the tax money, St. John’s debt coverage increases to 400 percent. He said that is how much more money is going to be collected in that District annually. He further explained when St. John is done with improvements, the money can be released to everybody. Mr. Kil said Dyer would have never been able to build all that they did unless they put Calumet Avenue through and entice the commercial development. Mr. DeYoung said is a big benefit to the Town and everybody that uses that area. Mr. Kil said there are inherent benefits and St. John does not do the TIF Districts wrong; they are done correctly in this community.

Mr. Brown said every year in April, the Town has to fill out a report if they are going to capture or not capture. He said that is not how it was when TIF was first started. He said part of the changes are good because it keeps the RDC’s “on their toes” when they have a bond obligation and they need to capture on the obligation. Mr. Kil said Mr. Barenie is President of the Redevelopment Commission and he is a stickler about that. He has to make sure Mr. Barenie gets his report, and he signs those letters and sends them to the County to let them know if we want to capture the increment generated every year. He said it is done religiously.

Mr. Eberly said there are filing deadlines. He said if a Town is bringing in one million dollars through the TIF District, and there is only a need for half a million of that, the Town can released the assessed value to the other taxing districts so they can collect their taxes on some of that increased assessed value. Mr. Kil said St. John has released all of theirs. If St. John does the Shoppes on 96th project, issues a bond and it is paid off in 10 years, then all of the money coming in every year, the Town Council or Redevelopment Commission can say they have another TIF project here and only need one million dollars for it, not two million dollars. They can instruct a letter be sent to the auditor to release one million dollars back to all of the other taxing units. Mr. Kil added if the Town has a giant project, they may need to capture it all to pay the debt. Mr. Kil said every year that information has to be certified to the auditor. Mr. Eberly said you have to certify what increment you need, and if the Town does not have a project that needs the money, they are supposed to release the money back to the other taxing units.

Mr. Kil said St. John does not “run crazy with its TIFs.” Mr. Barenie stated that was wise because sometimes a Town can over-TIF and have problems. Mr. Eberly stated there used to be a restriction on the amount of land a Town could TIF. He said it used to be 20 percent of the community but that restriction is now gone and technically a Town could TIF its entire community. He said he would never be an advocate for that.

Mr. Brown said there are some communities out there that have done that. Whiting is total TIF or EDA area. Mr. Kil added that Schererville also has a large TIF District. Mr. Eberly mentioned Whiting is a little different though. As a small land area community, that makes more sense in a place like Whiting but not here. Mr. Brown added these areas still have to file the paperwork to say if they need the increment or not. Mr. Eberly said it is an ideal place to do a HO-TIF.

Mr. Eberly told the Committee to notice on their map that the whole south end of TIF 1 is residential property located in the TIF District. He would assume when it was originally placed in there, there was thought of some commercial redevelopment. He added those would be good candidates for HO-TIF.

Mr. Kil said the residential properties on the south end of Town are typically the older areas of the community. He said they are in the TIF District for two reasons. Number one, they are prime candidates for redevelopment, and number two, they are needed for continuity to expand the TIF District down 231. It made more sense to draw that area in. He said Mr. Schilling is buying up the whole west side of the road that is in the TIF District. At some point, there might be a shopping center that looks at 231 and 41. He added that might be an opportunity for St. John to cure some of its problems and TIF would be an excellent way to do that. He said the Town has to plan for the future with these type of things and that is what the map does. It does not say a Town has to issue debt, but it allows the latitude at some point to evaluate if it is needed.

Mr. Eberly said St. John is not collecting any TIF monies on the residential areas. The taxes being paid on those areas are going to all of the overlapping taxing districts. Mr. Kil said that is a good point. St. John only collects commercial taxes and not residential taxes, whether they are in the District or not.

Mr. Kil stated St. John had to develop a spreadsheet of every single key number in this District that they were going to collect taxes from to provide to the auditor. He said it took months of work to create this spreadsheet. He added it was all identified parcel by parcel by parcel and residential is not in there.

Mr. Brown mentioned, now, it is required to create a spreadsheet. He wanted to do one for I-65 and US-2, and it contained 375 parcels. Every single one had to be identified by certified mail. Mr. Kil added it was a process. Mr. Eberly asked if Mr. Brown did one in Cedar Lake. He answered he did two in Cedar Lake and also five in Merrillville.

Mr. Kil stated he, Mr. Eberly and Mr. Brown are only three great examples of the economic development benefits of TIF. Mr. Brown said Meijer was built in Merrillville and it paid for all of the roads including the 93rd Avenue overpass and 93rd Avenue four lanes. There was the Mississippi TIF that paid for the four lanes on Mississippi and all the improvements along with the Town Hall work. Mr. Kil said Dyer did Calumet Avenue and Route 30 and St. John was able to get a grocery store to come into Town, buy an aerial fire truck, and now they are looking at road improvements from taxes generated.

Mr. Kil said Merrillville has a lot of commercial to draw from and Dyer has Route 30 running through it, but St. John is at the tail end, and it is just now getting commercial development. He said residential is fine, but commercial is where a Town generates the real money in its TIF Districts.

Mr. Brown said the amount of residential St. John has done over the last 15 years is a natural business draw. The businesses will not make the people drive to them, but they will come here because there is so much residential. Mr. Kil said Levin Tire is interested and Mr. Eberly has a commercial project in Ravenswood. Mr. Kil added Culver’s wants to come here because they are always knocking on the door. Mr. Barenie asked if Culver’s was contingent on the lawyer. Mr. Kil stated he was looking at 231. He said St. John has Coyne Veterinary Clinic and Shoppes on 96th. He added commercial businesses are starting to migrate into St. John because of the rooftops. Now is when St. John can really make some headway and capture some increment to really do some projects because they have tax money coming in. Mr. Kil mentioned Lake Central Plaza all feeds St. John’s TIF District.

Mr. DeYoung mentioned that road and light has saved a lot of lives. There used to be 15-18 accidents there at the corner right in front of his store. Mr. Kil stated that was a good example and asked him how he thought St. John paid for the road. TIF money paid for the road. He added St. John did not have to issue a bond because of their TIF collections they have saved. St. John does not spend the money indiscriminately.

When St. John has a project, they have cash in the bank to pay for it.

Mr. Eberly said that is a great point because you can have bonding or cash and carry. He said it is a great approach to bank the money. Mr. Kil said Mr. Barenie is big on cash and carry. That is why St. John has a two million dollar balance in their TIF account right now. The Town is waiting for a project to come along and they will have the cash to pay for it unless it is so big it requires a bond but then there is a bank of money to start paying down that debt quickly.

Mr. Brown added that cannot be done at the very beginning when a TIF is created. Mr. DeYoung said he does not think residents realize what a great benefit it is to them to be so financially prudent. It really benefits the entire community by collecting and saving the money for a rainy day. Mr. Kil said that is just what our culture is. He said, after reviewing the third quarter report, St. John’s revenue is above projection with large cash balances and the TIF account is no different. He said the Town does pay bills out of it— the lawyer, the accountant, the certification, the report to the Redevelopment Commission. Mr. DeYoung interjected that is all “TIF-able” expenses. Mr. Brown added the law says the Town is not able to pay the Redevelopment Commission or employee wages, but engineers, accountants and lawyers’ fees are acceptable. Mr. Kil stated, unfortunately, when you do something like this and set up a TIF District, and issue debt, you have to have a lawyer-bond counsel. It is impossible to do it without a lawyer.

Mr. Eberly asked if a ladder truck or Ariel truck was purchased with TIF. Mr. Kil replied that when the initial TIF District was started, that was a developer-bought bond. Part of the Town’s willingness to put a TIF there was that the developer had to pay for a firetruck for the community to service that area. He said it was a negotiated sale; they did not go to the open market to sell the bonds. He added the Town paid that bond issue off seven years early. It’s been done for years and now the Town is realizing the benefits from that.

Mr. Brown said that is about the only way you can now use TIF revenues. Purchases like vehicles are not allowed anymore. Mr. Kil clarified the Town did a negotiated sale. Mr. Brown said that is still acceptable.

Mr. Eberly said when Dyer did their big bond issue, they bought two million dollars worth of fire equipment and a little over one million dollars’ worth of Public Works equipment. In or servicing the TIF District was easy to justify. Speaking for Dyer, Mr. Eberly said the TIF District was the best thing that ever happened to that community. Without it, they would never have had the money to build Calumet Avenue. Dyer put four million dollars into Calumet Avenue and reaped the benefit of about 40 million dollars worth of private investment that happened as a direct result of Calumet Avenue being built.

Mr. Kil stated they wanted to keep the meeting to under one hour and asked if anyone had any questions. Mr. DeYoung said he had a lot of them. Mr. Kil responded that he hopes everyone has a good understanding of the benefits of a TIF District. Mr. DeYoung added a lot of times the residents will get different ideas because they do not understand it. Mr. DeYoung said the EDC barely understands it, and he appreciates the gentlemen coming out tonight.

REPORTS AND CORRESPONDENCE:

A. BOARD MEMBERS

There was none.

B. STAFF

There was none.

PUBLIC COMMENT:

Bryan Blazak, 9299 Franklin Drive

Mr. Blazak asked regarding the Shoppes on 96 and all of the demolition and clean-up, would TIF money be used for that.

Mr. Kil answered that the TIF money would be used for that. He added all of the existing buildings lie right in the middle of where they would need to build a road. He said St. John would only use TIF money for a project like that and no other Town funds would be used for that. St. John is generating 800,000 dollars a year; the District is generating money. He provided the example of a five million dollar bond. St. John has a 150 percent debt coverage for the payments. With Shoppes 96, the Town will go up to 400 percent. St. John will be able to start paying the bond off quickly. A 12- year bond issue may only take six years to pay off.

Mr. Blazak said, so basically, St. John has the money in the bank for the stop light and the demolition. Mr. Kil replied that St. John has a couple of million dollars, but they have to pay engineering and legal. He added there is enough to get going, but they certainly do not have enough to do the whole project. Mr. Kil said they could pay down one million right away and then over the course of a 14 or 15-year bond, the Town could pay that off in about six years. He said it is better to go longer and pay it sooner than strap yourself. He added that is the thought process on the Shoppes on 96th.

ADJOURNMENT:

Mr. Setlak stated he would entertain a motion to adjourn. Mr. DeYoung seconded that motion. Mr. Barenie seconded Mr. DeYoung’s motion. The motion was carried by voice vote (3/0). Ayes---three. Nays---none.

(The meeting adjourned at 5:51 p.m.)

ATTEST:

____________________________________

Beth R Hernandez
Clerk-Treasurer

11-16-2017 Economic Development Committee

November 16, 2017 Economic Development Committee Minutes

NICK GEORGIOU, PRESIDENT MARK BARENIE STEPHEN KIL, TOWN MANAGER
WILLIAM KEITH, VICE-PRESIDENT GINA FEZLER BETH HERNANDEZ, CLERK-TREASURER
RICHARD SETLAK, SECRETARY KELLY STOMING DAVID AUSTGEN, ATTORNEY
JOHN DEYOUNG GINA FEZLER  

CALL TO ORDER:

Mr. Georgiou called the November 16, 2017 Economic Development Committee meeting to order at 5:02 p.m.

(The Pledge of Allegiance was recited by all.)

ROLL CALL:

Kathy Balicki took roll call with the following members present: Nick Georgiou, John DeYoung, William Keith, Richard Setlak, Gina Fezler, and Kelly Stoming. Town Manager, Steve Kil, was present. Attorney David Austgen was absent. Mark Barenie were absent.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES: October 26, 2017

Mr. Georgiou asked if there were any comments regarding the minutes. He added if anyone missed the meeting last month, the meeting minutes were very informative regarding the TIF presentation. It covers a lot of questions and answers. There is also a handout from Mr. Eberly that he will talk about later in Old Business. He added they are well worth reading because it provides a good overview of TIF. Mr. DeYoung stated he felt it was the most simplified explanation of TIF and should think about putting it into a simplified basic of TIF worksheet so the average person can understand it. He added he did not completely understand it all until he read the meeting minutes. Mr. Kil said the audience said the same thing and that is the reason they put on the workshop.

Mr. Keith made a motion to approve the minutes. Mr. DeYoung seconded the motion. The motion was carried by voice vote (5/0). Ayes—five. Nays—none.

OLD BUSINESS:

A. Previous Old Business items are being deferred to 2018.

Mr. Georgiou stated the EDC had multiple old business items that were not urgent or pressing and were being deferred to 2018.

B. TIF Presentation Handout for EDC members
Mr. Georgiou stated Mr. Eberly put together a real nice notebook for all of the members. He said they looked, but did not find the extra copy. However, he will make sure all members who missed the last meeting will receive a copy of the TIF Binder that has a copy of the TIF map in it, State Law, and a wealth of information. His presentation was the crutch of the understanding of the verbiage needed. Mr. Georgoiu was curious if they could have a short version of the information. Mr. Kil stated they would let them get through reading the minutes version and Christmas and they could look into a short version then.

NEW BUSINESS:

A. Metrostudy Opportunity Analysis Study recommendation for acceptance

Mr. Georgiou stated they received the first draft dated October 20th of the Metrostudy Opportunity Analysis Study. He said Mr. Kil went through it in great detail and he reviewed the second draft in detail. He added he is not sure if anyone else chose to, but Mr. Kil and he sent comments back. They are supposed to receive what will be the final draft of the Metrostudy Opportunity Analysis Study incorporating those comments tomorrow. He added Mr. Kil was going to walk the members through some of the comments he had as well as himself. He was not aware if anyone else on the committee read through the study either.

Mr. Georgiou stated he would let Mr. Kil talk about what they incorporated into the study. Mr. Kil said on Draft 1, Page 4 there were some typos. Mr. Gianopulos referenced 2012 and for consistency sake he references everything to 2015. 2012 was just a little bit too old. There were some comments there. There were some basic typos and a couple of numbers he transposed. Mr. Kil also had some questions on some terminology on Page 13. Page 17 is where the comparison of the municipalities begins. Mr. Kil stated he wanted him to define, which he did in the second draft, what multi-family units were. It shows St. John as having zero because the definition of a multi-family structure to the rest of the world and the U.S. Government consists of 5 or more units. Other than that, they are single family attached, not multi-family. That is why St. John is the only one who looks at multi-family as more than one unit. The rest of the world doesn’t. He added if that was the case, he asked Mr. Gianopulus to define that better. People need to understand why St. John shows zero. Mr. Kil said that was corrected in the second draft.

Mr. Kil also found typos on Page 20 and Page 27. Ms. Stoming asked when he refers to the second draft, is that what the members received. Mr. Kil answered that yes they did receive the second draft. He wanted to make sure he defined some terms such as TMA, Target Market Area. When acronyms are used he wanted to make sure it was refreshed throughout the book because everyone does not know what the acronyms mean. Mr. Kil stated he went through the report and tried to clean up that area. Page 39 referenced vacant developed lots. It was listed as VDL. When people read through it, they do not know a VDL is. Mr. Kil asked him to do an analysis of lot size demand which he did complete.

Mr. Kil added all of these comments were from the first draft. All in all, Mr. Kil believes the study did well. All of the retail stuff from the last study to this study has changed due to market conditions. Mr. Kil added he was surprised by that. Mr. Kil stated on Page 67 there is a reference to a shortage of lots. This is where he looks at the 3 and 5 mile radius of the community. He said people have to remember “as the crow flies” there is housing activity there and when you look in the executive summary he needed to better define what his recommendations were. He did that in the second draft. In the second draft which the members received, he cleaned up almost everything. Mr. Kil said Mr. Georgiou found some typos he missed and he also had one defining thing he asked Mr. Gianopulos to include. He added Mr. Georgiou could discuss that item to bring the group up to speed.

Mr. Georgiou stated on Page 18 of the latest version, it compares municipality lot size. He said this was not included on the first copy. He said it breaks it down by the size of the lot and how many are in each town. He said this did not exist in the original. He felt what was missing was St. John’s statistics in there. He recommended St. John be included in the statistics because it is an ongoing point of interest for lot sizes and whatnot and historical perspective. He said Mr. Kil asked Mr. Gianopolus about it and he replied that we should know what is in our town. However this study goes out beyond the Town people. Mr. Kil added he included what he requested, but never put St. John in there. Mr. Georgiou said Mr. Gianopolus is going to add St. John’s statistics into the study as well. It will provide the lot mix and comparisons can be made for demographics.

Mr. Georgiou stated the other point he wanted to make was about residential recommendations. Mr. Gianopolus has all of the recommendations at the end, starting on Page 81, with retail. Specifically, when he goes to residential, he heavily talks about age targeted developments as being significant for the Town of St. John. He also stated he found almost buried at the bottom, the second paragraph on page 83, Mr. Gianopolus actually makes the recommendation on what attached versus detached should be. He said it did not appear in the first draft and he quizzed Mr. Kil in terms of where it came from or what background information generated that. He said Mr. Kil told him the Town Council requested that to be included. There was a recommendation for it. Mr. Kil added there is always the argument that the Town has too much multi-family or not enough single family. Then the analysis team can take a look at it. He added that is the reason the Town hired this company—look at the market, look at the Town, look at the demographics, look at the future and make a recommendation. Mr. Kil said Mr. Gianopolus was missing that in the first draft and he asked for it to be included. He added whatever his recommendation is, it is. He is the one doing the study. Mr. Kil talked to Mr. Gianapolus on the phone. He asked if he knew he was trying to say he doesn’t think St. John has enough age-restricted housing. Mr. Kil said the whole study is riddled with it. Mr. Gianopolis said he could not stress it enough. Mr. Kil replied that he obviously did stress it enough. He said he verbalized to him that it was a component that was sorely missing. Ms. Stoming added he said that in the first draft. Mr. Kil said that was correct and it carried over into the second one and he also verbalized it to him as well. Mr. Georgiou stated on page 82 and 83 he talks specifically about shortages and/or needs. He talks about Age Targeted there.

Mr. Georgiou stated the other part where he and Mr. Kil had a discussion was about where the information came from. He said he looked at page 17 and 18 that had all the town comparisons with detached and attached and currently St. John is about 16 point something attached and 83 point something detached. Mr. Kil said when you round it up it, St. John currently has 16 and 84. Mr. Georgiou elaborated that since Mr. Gianapolus is recommending age targeted could St. John lean to more attached developments. He wondered if that percentage should be different. He furthered commented that Mr. Kil said if you read the paragraph that it is included in it is clear. He basically said St. John is a bedroom community and as it develops further in density, that percentage number will go up because as land disappears, people look for more dense developments and attached developments will become a higher percentage. Mr. Kil added Mr. Gianopolus said if he wrote the study in 2 or 3 years, the numbers will have changed. Two things are going to change for sure. Right now St. John has an abundance of land—a lot of undeveloped property, a lot of vacant property surrounding, a lot of annexations. He said as it fills in, lot size decreases and density increases in a community. He said this occurs across the country and there is no exception to it. Mr. Gianopolis further told him that he can make a recommendation now, but 5 years from now it may be different depending on where the Town is at. Mr. Kil said when you talk with him, he is better able to explain it. He added Mr. DeYoung asked to have a joint meeting where Mr. Gianopolis would come and speak to them, the Plan Commission, Town Council to directly answer all of the questions so you can not only see it in writing, but you can also verbally hear what he has to say and his reasoning behind everything. He added he picked up on that along with Mr. Georgiou and they discussed it. Mr. Georgiou added when you look at the comparable municipalities, he would combine multi-family and detached in terms of the percentage. The percentages on the more developed towns are quite significant. They might be 33 percent and 66 percent when you put detached versus attached. He added he can’t argue that those are comparable demographic towns he uses in the comparisons. Mr. Kil added if you look at the data for each of the towns, they beat St. John in almost every category. He said St. John is great for our little neck of the woods, but when you branch out, we are certainly not the top of the rock anymore. He said for us, St. John is doing well.

Mr. Georgiou stated the only other point he wanted to make is regarding the 3 mile and 5 mile analysis. It is done separately as first a 3 and then a 5 mile. He said the interesting one is when the gap is compared in the 3 and 5 mile. He added stuff was a surplus or availability or a need and the 3 mile disappears in the 5 mile. On page 61, a lot of stuff that showed as an opportunity in the 3 mile, certain types of activities disappeared. He added you start to go 2 miles into Illinois in the 5 mile radius. He concluded it was worth looking at the 3 to 5 mile comparison to see where the need is. He said Mr. Gianopolus doesn’t address in the narrative if he got through it. He identifies the Shoppes on 96th as particularly filling in some of the opportunity analysis. Mr. Keith added it was a pretty short time span. Mr. Gianopolus was saying the Shoppes on 96th would do a basic satisfying of the Town’s needs for retail through 2022, which is going to be here in a snap of the fingers. Mr. Kil said Mr. Gianopolus said it would “scratch the itch” for a few years, but it will be here before you know it.

Mr. Kil stated what his recommendation would be is if the members agree with the comments being made and the things done to date, and the additional things Mr. Georgiou pointed out, if the members would approve the document contingent on those changes and minor corrections being made. He added then he could issue a final document to everybody. He said that is what he was hoping to get out of the meeting tonight so the document could be issued and get into circulation. He added that would be his recommendation because they have looked at it pretty thoroughly and several reviews have been done on it. He also said he would like to work on a joint meeting that Mr. DeYoung suggested.

Mr. DeYoung stated he just had one question. He wanted to know how they figure out the retail gap. He said he was looking in his own industry and what they say is being consumer expenditures, he is way beyond that just in his own industry and just in his own store. Mr. Kil said furniture stores changed from the last time. He said he looked specifically at that, but now he can’t recall the page. Mr. DeYoung asked how he got the formula going from the 3 to 5 mile radius. Mr. Kil asked if he was on page 55. Mr. DeYoung was on page 61 where it read opportunity gap change retail 3 to 5. Mr. Kil said he was looking at page 55 and he was looking way down at the bottom in the 3 mile. Mr. Kil said in the previous study done 3 years ago, Mr. DeYoung was up towards the top. He said his industry actually switched from this study to the one done 3 years ago. Mr. DeYoung still questioned how Mr. Gianopolus gets that number. Mr. Kil said it was just data. Mr. Keith asked to get that number they are basically looking at what consumers are currently spending on the following items. This is what the average consumer is spending on automotive dealers (23 million dollars). If you expand out to 5 miles there are 99 million dollars being spent. So what he is saying is there is an opportunity. He further explained if he was eating out 3 days a week and spending $300 a week on eating out, $100 a shot eating out, and I’m only using 1 of those in town, than there is a 2/3 gap of not going to Illinois and spending money. Mr. Kil said to look at page 58 under Home Furnishings and in 2017 look at the demand and consumer expenditures and then the supply at 5 miles. It is showing there is more supply than demand. Mr. DeYoung said so they are in a negative situation, but if you look at page 61, it shows a plus situation. Mr. DeYoung said in a 3 mile radius it says the expenditures are 2.5 million. He says just his own stores is so far beyond that. Mr. Keith says it states the source in the footnote and it is a 2014 survey. He added he is sure it is a retail trade tracking system. Mr. DeYoung wondered how current and up to date the data is if it’s from 2014 and it is now 2017. By the time the study hits the street it will be 2018 and will be 4 years old. Mr. Kil said there may not have been more surveys done since 2014 and he is using the most up to date information he has. Ms. Fezler stated she expects it is a forecasting model they use. Mr. Kil said it is based on 2014 surveys and they probably haven’t done one since then and it is the most recent data they have. Mr. DeYoung said if this gets out in the public or online, he will have to field questions about it and they have to talk intelligently. Mr. Kil said St. John has enough furniture stores in Town so do not come here.

Mr. Georgiou stated the analysis is interesting because what it really does show, even from 2014, those retail gaps for all industries and that there with the vacant land is going to drive this community. Mr. Kil said Mr. Gianopolus also said St. John is growing so fast that it is ahead of all building curves. The Town is building 300 new homes a year. With new construction, the homes need new appliances in those homes, they have to furnish those homes. They do not want to move into a new home with a bunch of old stuff. Mr. Kil said it is hard to really quantify something like that because St. John is the third fasting in the metro area. He added that was impressive and St. John was a moving target. Mr. Kil said the Impact Fee guy said the same thing—that is was hard to keep current data on St. John because of the growth. He added that could be the reason why Mr. DeYoung sees in his industry once you settle in, you do not tend to replace stuff as much. When you build new homes, you want new stuff and it forces the number up. He added that is how he would explain it, especially in Mr. DeYoung’s business, but not so much with the automotive industry.

Mr. Georgoiu stated it obviously has to be the latest data. He just compared the old report to the new report and Mr. DeYoung’s line item has not changed. Mr. Kil said the last study Mr. Gianopolus did for St. John was in 2014. Mr. Kil said he does not know how much it costs to do all of the surveys. Mr. Keith stated he might know the surveys come out every 5 years or something. Mr. Georgiou stated the report is valid, but it will be interesting to see when the next background data comes out that can be incorporated. Mr. DeYoung said that is why he would like Mr. Gianopolus to come to a meeting so he can field some of those questions. He added it will put a whole new light on what they are doing here. Mr. Kil said he is definitely going to work on that. He added it would be beneficial for everybody. Mr. Georgiou added to try to get Planning and Zoning and some Council members to get everyone on the same page will be terrific. He suggested even combining a meeting if that was allowed. Mr. DeYoung stated since we paid the money, he asks when the surveys are done or when the projections are done. Mr. Kil said he knows the company used the latest data. Mr. DeYoung said it begins by saying the sources are ESRA 2017 Census and Retail Trade and after that it says “All Rights Reserved” based on 2014 surveys. He said he does not know what that means. He asked if it means that it is copyrighted in 2017 using 2014 data and surveys. He doesn’t know if that is the way it should be read or if it is two different things. Mr. Kil responded that is why the Town will bring Mr. Gianopolus here to answer these questions and address them.

Mr. Georgoiu asked if the Chair should make a motion or not. Mr. Kil said he could entertain a motion. He added he could say what he wanted and then someone could say “So moved” and second. Mr. Georgiou made a motion the EDC recommend the revised version of the Metrostudy Opportunity Analysis with a condition that typos the members caught are fixed in the final and it includes St. John and the lot size comparison on page 18 and verify the recommendation for detached and attached housing mix. Mr. Kil said so he is going to entertain that motion. “So moved” by Mr. Keith. It was seconded by Ms. Stoming. The motion was passed by voice vote (5/0). Ayes—five. Nays—none. Mr. Georgiou stated it could be passed onto Mark Gianopolus and will look forward to the final report.

Mr. Georgoiu also asked Mr. Kil if he would follow up with him to see if he could do a presentation after the first of the year. Mr. Kil answered he was sure he would be able to do it, but he wasn’t sure what date would work for everybody. He said he had two boards he had to schedule. Getting everybody together is difficult, but he will definitely do the best that he can and schedule it on one of the meeting nights. He added the Town Council is here on the same night as the EDC so he will try to get the Plan Commission over here towards the end of January. He said he has the 2018 meeting schedules just about done. The meetings are going to remain unchanged unless the members want to change them. Mr. Georgiou said the 4th Thursday of the month still worked. Mr. Kil said he sent the proposed 2018 meeting schedule over and it is massive when all of the meetings are together. It is amazing how many meetings there are.

Mr. DeYoung asked a question: Once all of the changes are made and there is a final one, who uses it and what does it affect. Mr. Kil answered he hands it out quite a bit to prospective businesses. They are always asking for data—traffic data, demographic information, housing starts. He said you name it, they ask for it, and he hands out the study a lot. He said he will get calls saying they represent this type of industry, without naming the business right away, and he suggests emailing them the analysis to hopefully answer some of their questions. Mr. DeYoung asked if there was any use internally in the town. Mr. Kil answered he refers to it quite a bit and Mr. Eberly looks at it now. Mr. Georgiou added city planning can be done on it with future growth. He said it will be put on the website; the current one is posted now. Mr. Kil is hoping if the Town gets the final report back, the Town Council could accept the proposal based on the recommendation of this EDC committee. He would like to do it in December and get it done with. Mr. Keith said when he was looking to buy a second home, he went into the City Hall and asked for their demographic study so he would know because he didn’t know anyone in the community to know if it was nice or not. He said he was provided with a study similar to Metrostudy that showed all of the demographics, retail, and housing mix. Mr. said he gets a lot of calls from appraisers because they are keenly interested in the data for the community. The leading entity to purchase Palmira Golf Course is out of Canada. They do not know anything about St. John. The Metrostudy Report could be pulled out to provide information. Ms. Fezler said she thinks this goes round robin. The Council tasked the EDC to figure out the housing mix data and this study is what they asked us to do. She sees the Town Council using it first and foremost. Mr. Kil said the Plan Commission will use it also. Mr. Georgiou said he believes it is a great complimentary report to go with the Master Plan. It actually talks about recommendations for various developments which the Master Plan does not. A lot of developers will use this data, especially when they go to the bank to get a loan. Mr. Kil stated a lot of people request it when they are putting together business plans. Mr. DeYoung said he would like to speed up the process. He feels it just takes so long. Mr. Kil said “Welcome to Municipal Government.” Mr. Setlak said he worked for the Federal Government so he knows slow. He added this makes them look fast. Mr. Setlak said you see things going in and out and being developed. You read about it in the newspaper and within 6 months it is up and operating. He said here it seems it goes on for an awful long time. Mr. Kil said sometimes there is a tendency to drag things out in Town. Mr. Setlak said some facts and details about lot sizes is the point of discussing them. He added needs change. He elaborated and said he saw people frowning upon lawns and that is not a big deal anymore. People do not want to cut them so why give them a big lot. Why insist on those when people want something else. He added there seems to be a lot of hang up on that. People say we need the large lot sizes. Mr. Kil said the Plan Commission and Town Council get perpetually beat up over the lot sizes. Mr. Setlak continued to say that if Metrostudy can knock down some of those from a factual basis, before they get into a subjective thing where they say they lived in St. John for 50 years and did this way back then and I want to do it now. He concluded if this study can help, he finds it a big plus. Mr. Kil said the Council wanted an outside perspective and get a professional look at it.

REPORTS AND CORRESPONDENCE:

A. BOARD MEMBERS

Mr. Keith wanted to make a comment about something he has been studying recently. He asked if anyone was familiar with Block Chain Technology and what it is. He said it was super complicated, but to keep it as simple as possible, it is basically creating an environment where facts are facts and there is no subjectivity. It cuts out all of the “crap” that people can throw out there to try to distract you. For example, someone coming into a meeting and saying we have way too much multi- family in this Town. It can be as simple as pulling up the data--no lies, no manipulation of the numbers—all factual, all real so it takes the “crap” out of the environment. He added where it is useful and Block Chain Technology is being used right now is in currency transactions. He said the members might have heard of BitCoin. He is not very familiar with it, but it’s basically a transfer. To get a payment from Europe when he sells his product, the person has to go to the bank in Europe, initiate a wire transfer. He added he deals with a bank in St. John that does not have a Swift Code or international bank code so it has to go through a bank in New York. The bank in New York has to transfer it to his bank and his bank has to put it in his account. It is a big process with a lot of middlemen and a lot of room for error. Block Chain Technology takes all of the human error out of it. If a guy has money in his account and he wants to transfer it to him, he clicks the button and BAM it cuts out all of the intermediaries and all of the crap. No one can say the wires were not in this morning so it wasn’t able to be posted to the account. He added the same applies for information. It is easier and immutable. Mr. Keith added everyone who is present tonight is a fact. Mr. Kil stated it sounds fantastic.

Mr. Keith said it is implemented by having the same data out in Cyberspace on multiple platforms so it isn’t controlled by just one place. For example, Exqifax or TransUnion or one of the consumer credit reporting agencies house all of your data and someone can come in and hack it or make a change. But if that information on many computers it is like saying “What color is the sky?” and everybody hits the button “The sky is blue.” What is the sky like in St. John? It is blue. Someone else says it is cloudy. It automatically picks up that someone is lying because if 99 people said it was sunny and 1 person said it was cloudy, what are you going to believe. Mr. Kil said if you could produce something that would tell when someone is lying all of the time, you will be a billionaire. Mr. Keith said to remember 20-30 years ago, the Internet was just beginning to pop up. He added he started getting involved in the Internet when he saw on billboards, “Visit us at DeYoung Furniture.com.” In the beginning he didn’t even know what “dot com” even meant. Then he starting investigating the Internet and learning what it was all about. He said that is where they are with Block Chain Technology. It has been around for a while, but it is just starting to be implemented. He stated all of the discussion tonight concerning where are the facts, where did they get the data, that will all get taken care of as Block Chain Technology gets better. Once the data is inputed, vetted and proven as fact, it cannot be changed. No one can go back and manipulate the data. It is across multiple platforms and it creates almost a spreadsheet or a ledger of everything. For example, when you buy a house, all of the data that goes in—what did it cost, who is the plumber, who is the electrician—it can all be on a Block Chain Data. One hundred years down the road, someone wants to know who the electrician was that did the electrical work, BAM, there is no missing documents, it is all immutable. Mr. Keith recommended the members google Block Chain Technology when they had time to read up on it. He feels it is exciting for the future of information and transactional things. He concluded by saying he was at a meeting in Washington, D.C. where they were discussing how to protect intellectual property. Some of the older guys on the stage were talking and talking and finally when it was question and answer time, some young hipster kid with a beard stands up and says everything you said is B.S. He said he could disprove everything that was just said right from my Iphone. The gentleman continued that the data was incorrect. It opened up a huge discussion that the days where you can stand in front of people and cite what you call facts are over. The Internet has made it possible.

He concluded that is what Block Chain Technology has done.

Mr. Georgiou said this was the last meeting for the year. They do not have a December meeting. He stated he would be sending an email asking if the members wished to be reappointed by the pleasure of the Town Council. He said he would send an email and forward it to Mr. Kil to see if the Council wanted to reappoint them for next year. Mr. Kil said he has no problem telling the Town Council the members of the EDC would all love to be reappointed. Mr. Keith stated he promises to be at the meetings more often next year and he apologizes for his absences.

STAFF

There was none.

PUBLIC COMMENT:

There was none.

ADJOURNMENT:

Mr. Georgiou asked for a motion to adjourn. The motion was carried by voice vote (5/0). Ayes---five. Nays---none.

(The meeting adjourned at 5:52 p.m.)

ATTEST:

____________________________________

Beth R Hernandez
Clerk-Treasurer

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