Archived Story

Edwardsburg council tables TIF agreement

Published 2:46pm Thursday, January 21, 2010

By JESSICA SIEFF
Edwardsburg Argus

Two issues facing the Village of Edwardsburg council were put on hold Monday night, one of which is scheduled to be addressed in a special meeting expected Jan. 20.

On the agenda at Monday’s meeting was the matter of Evergreen Land Holding, LLC’s desire for approval to build a new residential development where the Escape Reality adult nightclub once stood.

The property owner had requested rezoning consideration in order to move ahead with the development.

Village President, James Robinson asked to hear from Bruce Campbell, Cass County water resources commissioner, who informed the council of drainage concerns he had regarding the property.

“There’s been some localized flooding issues,” Campbell said, adding he’d hired an engineer to do a special study on the drain.

“The drain does function,” he said. “But not as efficiently as it should.”

Water quality was also something Campbell said had him concerned. The site was a dumping ground in the 1970s, he said, and he was unsure whether or not there were specific issues related to that time.

When addressed, attorney for the property owner, Michael Bell, requested the matter be tabled for 30 days, in order to allow for more time to get up to speed with Campbell’s concerns as well as the opinion passed down by the Cass County Planning Commission.

Also postponed for vote was the Cass County Tax-Increment Financing agreement, which would allow the Uptown Corridor Improvement Authority to capture taxes on new construction within the designated jurisdiction.

Robinson stated he was unable to understand the text of the agreement which was presented to the council, as were many others who had been shown the document.

Still, when it came down to discussion, Robinson stated he wanted the council to vote – hoping to avoid the need for a special meeting.

“You have to post it and all that crap,” Robinson said.

Still, Trustee Scott Mackling voiced concerns along with Jacque Tighe about the lack of understanding of the document that essentially outlined a 20-year agreement.

Trustee Toby Stahly agreed.

“It just seems like we’re really trying to rush something,” he said.

Tighe questioned what kind of understanding could be gained before the council would be faced with a deadline to sign. Concerns revolved around timing, the council hoping not to lose out on the current tax year.

“I don’t know if there’s any way to have clarity in a short time,” Tighe said. “I understand the need.”

A decision is expected by the end of the week.

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