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Zoning laws regulate how land is used and how buildings are constructed. Zoning is a powerful tool but limited. Zoning can’t do everything, and it’s misused far too often.
Many community members think zoning legislation can be used to coax developers in a different direction and to address community complaints about lack of development.
Unfortunately, zoning codes are not a vehicle for forcing desired changes in a community. Here is a breakdown of what zoning can actually do well and what it can’t do.
Check out the Public Works Presentation (PDF).
The best way to explain this complex issue is with an example. Let’s suppose we create a Tax Incremental District (TID) of one property. This one property is currently assessed at $100,000. A developer proposes to develop this one property and build a new store. After they complete the project the new value on the property adds an additional $900,000 to the assessed value. This makes the assessed value on the newly developed property now worth $1,000,000. Who gets the taxes from the newly developed property? All the taxing entities (village, school, county, state, MMSD, etc.) would continue to receive taxes as if the property were assessed at $100,000. This is called the "tax base".
The new taxes that created an additional $900,000 in assessed value would stay within the TID. This is called the "increment". What does the municipality do with this new "increment" tax? The municipality can use the money to make additional improvements within the TID or it can help the developer. If the developer requests funding to help them complete the project, then state law allows a municipality to help developers using this new "increment" tax. The developer must sufficiently prove they would not be able to complete the project without TIF help because of higher than normal project costs. The state calls this the "but-for test". This new development would not occur ’but-for’ the use of TIF. The municipality then uses the new "increment" tax to help the developer over the course of the life of the TID. The maximum statutory life of a TID is 27 years. The "tax base" taxes would continue to go to all the taxing entities.
This is a very complex question. It requires the public to answer the following question. What level of risk are the citizens willing to take and how much should local government get involved in the private market?
Here are the ways the Village has tried to get involved in the private market.
The purpose of Town Hall meetings is for elected officials to hear the community’s views on public issues. There are no specific rules or guidelines for holding a Town Hall meeting. The format of the meeting can vary. Usually, the elected officials, along with Village staff, will make opening remarks and presentations. Following the presentation and remarks, the floor is opened up to questions and comments from the audience. Attendees generally present ideas, voice their opinions, ask questions of the elected officials and Village Staff.
In contrast, the purpose of a Village Board meeting is to conduct business of the Village. It is a formal process with specific agenda items that must be followed and where motions are made and voted on. There are limited opportunities for the public to make comments during a Village Board meeting. It is not an open format like Town Hall meetings.