The City of Geneva has awarded itself a do-over of Ordinance 2022-10 (see agenda for Oct. 3, 2022. – “Ordinance 2022-40″). In March 2022-10 was passed creating Special Service Area #34 for Emma’s Landing to protect Geneva from the consequences of flooding resulting from that Special Planned Unit Development. Floods seem likely if Emma’s planners function at the same level as the Geneva City Council.
But here’s the thing. According to Geneva Municipal Code “11-9-3: – INITIATION: The owner of the property for which a planned unit development is sought may initiate a request for a special use planned unit development.” (Ord. 95-28, 5-1-1995). The City Council tripped on the starting line and face-planted long before the SSA became an issue. Mostly in secret and while disregarding 11-9-3, the City clandestinely chose the Burton Foundation (a one-person operation) to be the unlawful non-owner “requester” for its already guaranteed LIHTC PUD. In the process, the Council secretly tossed out a better candidate in MVH, who even wanted to make a counteroffer to the Burton greased ambush, but Geneva ignored MVH’s plea for fairness.
The provision that the actual property owner apply for the PUD is sound. The applicant should have skin in the game, or else a procession of carpet baggers will take flyers on obtaining a low cost buy option while the resident taxpayers pay more than half of the application costs for these outsiders through bloated municipal salaries and consultants.
Of course, only a privileged few knew anything about this until at least a year after the fact. Now City of Geneva comes with a fairy tale about a mistaken signing of the PUD plat by a surrogate claiming ownership of the property. Finally, City of Geneva is willing to go on public record that it was the owner of Emma’s Parcel. By Code the owner must “initiate a request for a special planned unit development.” The Mayor, without approval by his minions of the Council, filed a “correction” with the County Recorder. No lawful request for a PUD was ever made by anyone. It was all winks and nods and smoke and mirrors, as per the Geneva Way. Remember Geneva “waived” its fees (and sandbagged its way to bonus points from the Illinois Housing Development Authority for it.) Geneva also duped IHDA into believing it donated Emma’s Site. Without these stolen “strokes” Geneva and Burton would have lost the match. Actually, they should have been DQ’ed and banned from further play.
Putting the fine points of the Royal & Ancient Rules aside, this was government of the government, by the government, and for the government. The phantom “request” for the PUD was made by the City Council as the applicant owner, and then the City Council acted as the judge and jury. The City Council lied and claimed that there were no other parties interested. The Council lied when it claimed Emma’s would be taxed like any other Geneva private property. In fact, Emma’s will be the only property in Geneva taxed differently (2005 Illinois 35 ILCS 200/ Property Tax Code. Division 11 – Low-Income Housing” “…local assessment officers must consider the actual or probable net operating income attributable to the project,”). All this impairs the funding of the SSA, which is predicated on a much different taxing scheme based on income, not market value. These perjuries alone should have resulted in sanctions (if not a sentence) by the judge, but the Council was and is the judge.
Every property owner in Geneva Township and even some nearby will see his or her taxes go up as a result of this swindle. Residents near Emma’s Landing may see their property values permanently impaired by the banditti vigilantes carrying bogus council badges. Some lower-income households may be taxed out of their homes. Some of these victims can’t even vote for a new mayor or alderman, as they do not live in Geneva.
Don’t let the City of Geneva into your foursome – their bets all come out of your pockets, and the City keeps score. The taxpayers deserve a mulligan on Emma’s Landing.