TRAR helps Peotone plan for future growth and development

Judy Panozzo and Jim Sim present a check from the Three Rivers Association of REALTORS® (TRAR) to Peotone Mayor Steve Cross and the village board of trustees. Others present for the ceremony include Barbara Sim and Gideon Blustein from TRAR, and Patrick Bowden, Kevin Hack, Kent Hamm, Roy Hupke, Michael Jones and Peter March from the board. #REALTORparty #IL

The Three Rivers Association of REALTORS® (TRAR) presented the village of Peotone with $16,500 to conduct a Tax Increment Financing (TIF) study at the February village board meeting.

“The ability to implement a TIF District for the village of Peotone’s downtown area is imperative for its future growth and development. Without a sustainable downtown area, residential, commercial or industrial growth can be hindered,” said Gideon Blustein, a local government affairs director for the Illinois Association of REALTORS®.

Out of the $16,500 presented to Peotone, TRAR secured $15,000 through the National Association of REALTORS® Smart Growth Action Grants that encourage REALTOR® participation in community and economic development. TRAR is a non-profit organization that represents over 900 members in Will and Grundy counties dedicated to professional and ethical service to their real estate clients.

Recent growth trends have the village positioned to be a metropolitan center for surrounding communities. However, current residential and commercial capacity design do not meet future land use, transportation and growth needs. Proper planning must be done focusing primarily on the revitalization of the deteriorating downtown area. Also needed is new infrastructure and improved traffic patterns that will accommodate larger commercial businesses as well as provide pedestrian walkways and bike paths necessary for the health, safety and welfare of the community.

One of the ways the village plans to accomplish this is by designating a Tax Increment Financing (TIF) District in downtown Peotone. The designation of the TIF district in downtown Peotone will enable the village to work with local merchants and new developers to enhance the area through public private partnerships.

A TIF can be in place for 23 years during which time the village has an opportunity to capture incremental property taxes to reinvest in the TIF District. It will also have the ability to market the downtown area to both existing and potential developers as a TIF with available development incentives. As downtown Peotone is enhanced, other areas of the municipality should grow and prosper as well. New residential development occurs along with new commercial growth.

#REALTORparty #IL

REALTORS® rein in Zion’s nuisance property ordinance

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The Illinois REALTORS® does not just advocate against transfer taxes and government pre-sale home inspections — we took the lead in reining in the city of Zion’s chronic nuisance property abatement ordinance that was, among other things, targeting sexual assault and crime victims.

Zion’s chronic nuisance property abatement ordinance authorizes city staff to contact property owners when two of 13 defined nuisance activities are found to have occurred within a 180 day period. If a property owner does not respond or a proposed plan of action is not mutually agreed upon, the property must be shut-down for a period of 30 to 180 days and all occupants, regardless of culpability, must immediately vacate the building and be subject to homelessness. Other penalties include civil fines and judicial remedy.

The Illinois REALTORS® has long maintained concerns with these types of ordinances that often penalize property owners for seeking police assistance – the police services they pay for. Echoing our concerns, the Sargent Shriver Center on National Poverty Law, writes, in their report, the Cost of Being “Crime Free”: Legal and Practical Consequences of Crime Free Rental Housing and Nuisance Property Ordinances, “these ordinances present numerous potential pitfalls that can cause serious harm to tenant households, landlords, and the community at large and expose municipalities to legal liability.”

Upon hearing of escalated and abusive enforcement, the Mainstreet Organization of REALTORS® (MORe) Lake County Government Affairs Committee took the lead in investigating, and uncovered, among other concerns, that the city was violating its own policy by enforcing the ordinance even in cases of just one alleged nuisance instance and breaking Illinois law by enforcing the ordinance against the disabled and victims of domestic and sexual violence at risk.

According to a front page Lake County News-Sun story profiling our findings, Zion Mayor Al Hill says the city is now sending far fewer violation notices, no longer enforcing against crime victims, and violation notices now must have supervisory approval.

Illinois REALTORS® and MORe will continue to monitor this ordinance for continued abuse. To read the Lake County News-Sun’s story on Zion’s ordinance, click here; to read the Lake County News-Sun’s editorial calling the ordinance “misguided,” go here.

Independent expenditures from Illinois REALTORS® backs Oyler in Peoria

Registered voters in Peoria have received postcards asking them to vote for REALTOR® Zach Oyler for at-large alderman in the consolidated primary on Feb. 28.

The mailings were sent as part of an independent expenditure campaign. Independent expenditure activities take place in support of a candidate for public office without any coordination with the candidate or the candidate’s campaign.

Oyler serves real estate customers through Keller Williams Premier Realty in Peoria. He serves on the board of trustees for the Peoria Historical Society and is the interim executive director of that organization. In 2014, he lost a bid for a spot on the Peoria County Board.

Illinois REALTORS® supports Gambino with independent expenditures

Registered voters in the city of Rockford’s 1st Ward have received postcards asking them to vote for REALTOR® Frank Gambino for alderman in the consolidated primary on Feb. 28.

The mailings were sent as part of an independent expenditure campaign. Independent expenditure activities take place in support of a candidate for public office without any coordination with the candidate or the candidate’s campaign.

Gambino is the broker/owner of Gambino Realtors in Rockford and the owner of Gambino Homes, LLC. He is a former Winnebago County board member, and was a former majority leader on that board. He is a Republican.

Time-lapse photography captures Springfield YWCA demolition


Anyone lucky enough to be in the third floor conference room at the Illinois REALTORS® building between Feb. 1 and 7 had a front-row seat for the demolition of the old YWCA building on the northwest corner of 5th and Jackson streets. The building has been taken down to make way for a future urban park and pedestrian walkway that will connect the Lincoln Home National Historic Site and the Illinois State Capitol.

Watch the video to see how the demolition changes the appearance of the block just north of the Illinois Executive Mansion