FISHER — The village is one step closer to creating a third tax increment financing district. The village board hosted a sparsely attended public hearing this week on the new district.
The proposed area consists of 40 acres, mostly farmland, north of U.S. 136 and immediately west of the Heritage Estates residential subdivision that lies within TIF District I. It also includes what would be phase five of the current subdivision and land to the south of the highway where the school district athletic fields are. The latter two parcels have been moved from TIF I to the new district.
Resident Liz Pfeifer has closely watched the creation of the new district. She owns a home and 11 acres just west of the new district which she plans to have someone else use to run cattle. She expressed concern that the land to the immediate north of the highway could be used for commercial development, most likely retail.
Mayor Milt Kelly said the land won't be rezoned until there is a reason to do it, but that the village's comprehensive zoning plan allows for commercial development there. Pheifer said she hoped any such development would occur farther east, closer to the town's business district.
"I think growth is great, but we shouldn't do too much too fast in this economy," Pfeifer said.
TIF attorney Dan Walker said businesses decide where they want to be. He said with the TIF, "you try to make fertile ground."
Kelly said the primary purpose of the new district is to create new residential areas.
"We still have strong demand for residential lots," Kelly said. Lots in the first four phases of Heritage are sold and building is ongoing in the fourth phase.
The Fisher school district owns 18 acres in the proposed district. But the school district hasn't yet decided to request annexation of the land to the village. The extra land is what the school board purchased when it remodeled an existing building there for a new bus garage.
At a school board meeting last month only three of seven board members were ready to request annexation. The village will move ahead on the TIF district whether or not it includes the school district land. The proposed TIF district includes another 20 acres of farmland that could be used for residential development.
Superintendent Barb Thompson said then that securing an agreement with the village on what flat amount or percentage of TIF proceeds come to the school district is very important. She said talks will need to be ongoing. The school board will meet early next week with village trustees to discuss the proposed district.