Beaver Creek financing decision delayed
CDA was set to discuss addtional TIF funds for developer
Brown Deer — The Community Development Authority on June 13 didn't review the financial underpinnings of the controversial Beaver Creek site after developer General Capital decided not to go to the meeting.
The CDA had been scheduled to consider an amendment to the tax incremental financing agreement between the village and General Capital first in closed session and later in open session.
Planning and Zoning Director Nate Piotrowski said General Capital contacted village staff earlier that day to say company representatives wouldn't be coming to the meeting, which prompted CDA members to pull the item since the closed session deliberations pertain to further village investment in the site through TIF.
General Capital recently requested the Plan Commission also delay consideration of the project until July.
The news of General Capital's absence and lack of deliberations, delivered to a full house of residents opposed to the developer's plans to build 44 apartments on the site instead of condos, made many wonder whether the developer had cold feet, if the project had been scrapped or if it was another of what critics have called delaying tactics.
"There's some speculation flying out there," Piotrowski said.
Trying to ease pressure
In an email Monday, General Capital President Michael Weiss said the company's intent was mistaken, and that they weren't asking for a delay.
"Our clear and sincere intent was for the meeting to go forward, and for the CDA to have an opportunity to discuss things in closed session without the pressure of General Capital being there or the item requiring action," Weiss wrote. "Apparently that was lost in translation and things got out of hand."
Weiss declined to comment if and when General Capital would bring the matter back to the CDA.
Thus far, the village has invested $1.75 million in General Capital's Beaver Creek project through tax incremental financing in exchange for the developer to guarantee — and pay taxes on — increasing property values. According to Piotrowski, the most recent amendment to the TIF agreement, passed in January, cut out any additional taxpayer dollars unless the developer built out the remainder of the site; it also compels General Capital to repay the village $285,000 for a 2008 TIF overpayment.
The amendment the CDA would have considered June 13, which had been presented to the Village Board in January but not acted on, includes an additional $550,000 in TIF dollars if General Capital builds "44 additional residential units" and increases the property value of the site to approximately $10.2 million by 2015.
Residents voice opposition again
Though the General Capital project had been taken off the agenda, the CDA fielded input on the subject during the public comment section of the meeting for about 45 minutes. At one point they called for a show of hands to see how many in the crowd supported and opposed the project.
"Every hand in the room was against it," said outspoken project opponent Mike Christopulos. "Not one hand raised for it. That's unprecedented."
Echoing arguments made at several public meetings, project opponents urged the village to stick to the original 2007 agreement for 51 owner-occupied condos. Several requested a referendum on the subject. Many protested any additional tax incremental financing for the project.
"It would be the height of fiscal irresponsibility for the Community Development Authority to dole out even a single penny to General Capital," Christopulos said.
Resident Augie Zanowski addressed Village President Carl Kreuger directly.
"Carl, the residents of Brown Deer are totally frustrated with the way this whole discussion has dragged on," Zanowski said. "...If you plan to vote (for the apartments) in the end when the residents are absolutely against apartments, then we will know that we have elected the wrong person as president of the village of Brown Deer."
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