By Michael S. Hoey

CORRESPONDENT

 

The Village of Darien Board approved on July 18 a developer’s agreement and the creation of a tax incremental district that will pave the way for NewCold to develop a site in the village that was recently annexed from the Town of Darien.

The board meeting on July 18 was standing room only and most of those in attendance carried “Vote No TID” signs. Many could not contain their displeasure and spoke out during the meeting despite it not being a public hearing.

The vote to approve by the Village Board means the NewCold development will proceed. There are five bodies represented on the joint Review Board, which will meet and cast a final vote on July 26. The village, the Delavan-Darien School District, and Walworth County have now all voted in support of the TID.

Gateway Technical College and Mark Wenzel are the other two. The Joint Review Board is made up of the four taxing bodies and one citizen, Wenzel. Even if Gateway and Wenzel vote no on July 26, approval of the TID has already been secured by virtue of the other three approvals.

The village received a form letter with over 500 signatures of people in the county who are opposed to the development, the creation of a TID, or both. The packed Village Hall was predominantly opposed as well but was not allowed to speak because the board now only accepts public comments via email.

Two board members were influenced by the opposition they had heard. Trustee Sandi Seefeldt said she had seen a lot of information to process while being asked to vote on this night. Trustee Kevin Atkinson said his position that the development and creation of a TID should not move forward without a public referendum has not changed.

Seefeldt agreed and said the opinions of the citizens should be taken into account. She said she was only elected in April and this seemed like a very big issue that the citizens should be a part of.

In response to some residents voicing opposition based on living near the proposed development, Trustee Ken Truckey said every development affects somebody.

Board President Jane Stiles said the developer’s agreement was the result of months of hard work and the board had a lot of information to base its opinion on. She said she was in support of the project and it would be good for the village. She also said the development would not cost the village anything, a comment many in the crowd disagreed with.

 

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