Scenes from the Homewood Fire Department open house 2015

The Walmart project was on the Homewood Board of Trustees agenda Tuesday, but the two measures approved were routine compared to its previous appearance.

The board approved a resolution supporting Walmart’s Class 8 property tax incentives, but it was a formal matter. 

In August, the board approved an agreement between the village and Walmart that will enable the redevelopment of the former Kmart Superstore on Halsted Street. That agreement included the village’s support for the company’s Class 8 incentives application to Cook County.

The agreement attracted criticism from residents and from board members over the granting of property tax incentives for the project. The agreement with the village allows Walmart to pay property tax at a reduced rate for up to 12 years but caps the incentive’s value at $4.3 million, an apparently unprecedented limitation on Class 8 benefits for Walmart.

On Tuesday, the board also approved amendments to the site’s planned unit development requirements. 

Village Economic Development Director Tom Vander Woude explained that several features of the plan vary from the underlying zoning requirements and from the original PUD guidelines. 

One change includes the addition of a fuel center on the east side of the property near Halsted Street, he said. 

The site will have 748 parking spaces, fewer than the original 773 required for a store of that size. But the parking space reduction was due to the village’s request for additional landscaping features, he said.

The amendments also included allowing larger signs than usual. Vander Woude said the larger signs were requested to ensure visibility because the store is set back from Halsted Street.

He noted that the amendments were approved by the village Planning Commission, Zoning Board of Appeals and Appearance Commission.  

A Walmart representative at the meeting said interior work on the former Kmart building would be done over the winter months. The store is expected to open next summer.

Related story:
Walmart wins Class 8 tax break, gets tough questions from Homewood residents (HF Chronicle, Aug. 25, 2015)


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