Naperville City Council Discusses Business District Taxes

405 S. Route 59
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Naperville City Council recently held discussions about additional taxes for the proposed Heinen’s Business District, as well as the Westridge Court and Heritage Shopping Centers.

Heinen Business District

City Council voted 5-4 in favor of passing an ordinance and scheduling an Oct. 4 public meeting for the proposed Heinen’s Business District during their Sept. 21 meeting. The Ohio-based Heinen’s Grocery Store wants to purchase the seven acres of strip mall space formerly anchored by Butera Market at Chicago Avenue and Olesen Drive.

Heinen’s is requesting the City of Naperville instate an extra half percent sales tax for each business in this proposed strip. This sales tax would help pay for fixes to the flooding issues on the property. This includes elevating both the parking lot and the store so excess water can go into underground vaults. Heinen’s plans to knock down obsolete structures on the property, and construct fresh buildings for the businesses. 

Unreasonable in This Economic Climate

Councilwoman Jennifer Bruzan Taylor voted against the proposed business district. She believed it is unreasonable to place this tax on Naperville shoppers in this current economic climate.

“It’s unconscionable based on the nine percent inflation rates that we are looking to put an additional tax on those who are seeking groceries,” said Bruzan Taylor. “I do not agree with putting a business district here.”

Fix for Drainage Issues

Councilman Ian Holzhauer was concerned about tax requests from “highly profitable” companies who use the money to improve their private properties. However, Holtzahauer voted in favor of the ordinance and public meeting. He made an exception due to flooding issues with the current property. 

“What distinguishes this project for me is that you have a property that has some real drainage issues that are currently impacting parts of Chicago Ave and the neighborhood,” said Holtzhauer. “It is a safety issue during the winter.”

Westridge Court and Heritage Shopping Centers

Later in the meeting, council voted 5-4 in favor of a resolution expressing the city’s intent to consider imposing a sales tax of up to one percent for businesses in the Heritage Shopping Centers and Westridge Court for as long as 23 years.

The additional tax would generate as much as $20 million for road improvements, utilities and sewage for the shopping centers located at 404-405 South Route 59. This request has come from Brixmor, the owners of Heritage and Westridge. Indian Prairie School District 204 Superintendent Adrian Talley wrote in a letter to council that the project would provide a financial boost to the district. 

Mayor Steve Chirico voted in favor of the resolution. He cited the potential benefits for District 204 schools, the sales tax for Aurora businesses on Route 59 already being one percent higher than Naperville and investment needed for shopping centers in the city.

“I am fully in support of this,” said Chirico. “I think this is an excellent and creative way to do this without financing it on the backs of our school districts.”

Councilwoman Theresa Sullivan voted against the resolution. She believed those looking to develop in the City of Naperville should not be reliant on money from taxpayers.

“Taxes should be for public investment,” said Sullivan. “If you’re a private investor or developer, I think you should figure out different ways to put into the new development.

The potential sales tax for the shopping centers will be a topic of discussion at a future council meeting.

Naperville News 17’s Will Payne reports.

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