New Lenox officials hope fee reduction will stimulate housing growth

Michelle Mullins | 9/30/2016, 9:51 a.m.
New Lenox officials hope that land that was left undeveloped after the housing crash could get a fresh start following ...
New Lenox Village Hall

The village of New Lenox is trying to help stimulate the housing market by offering some developers a reduction in impact fees.

Developers who bought land at a premium price before the housing market crashed were often left with half-finished subdivisions because demand for houses dropped.

The village began adopting resolutions in 2010 that offered a 50 percent reduction of impact fees for developers to help them weather the slow housing market, Mayor Tim Baldermann said. Each year, the village board has renewed the policy.

On Monday, the village board extended the 50 percent reduction of impact fees through 2026 for developers that were building subdivisions and owned land as of Jan. 1, 2011. The policy could impact up to 644 single family lots, officials said.

When the village board began offering impact fee reductions, it noticed that housing development began to rise, while other communities saw that their housing development remained stagnant, Baldermann said.

After the housing crash, the village saw only 21 new housing starts per year, but it is now at about 175 homes per year, making the village one of the fastest growing towns in Will County, Baldermann said.

By offering the developers who bought land before the housing crash a 50 percent impact fee reduction, they are leveling the playing field with developers who bought land at reduced prices during the recession through foreclosures, community development director Robin Ellis said.

The village hopes that new housing starts will mean that subdivisions and improvements, such as continuous sidewalks, will be completed, Baldermann said.

The move will reduce the number of vacant lots and blight sometimes associated with those lots, officials said.

Taxing bodies would also benefit because the land would not be taxed as vacant property, but rather as a single family home, Baldermann said.

Baldermann said he expects new homes and subdivisions to be completed well before the impact fee reduction policy expires in 2026.