Critique of Dense Die Cast Development in TIF

Michael Stanard ctitiques the dense residential development that is proposed for the old Die Cast property north of the Woodstock Square:

“Risking conceit, I think it’s fair to say that, given my 40+years as an award winning design professional, I am qualified to opine on this topic.

“In brief, the development proposed for the former Die-Cast site is irredeemably inadequate.

“It is terrible in every respect, far too many to burden you with by listing each in this email.

“I am dumfounded by our Mayor’s apparent support of the project. I simply cannot understand his motivation. 

“By contrast, I can understand that the credulous members of the City Council may not have the distinctions, experience or aesthetic sensibilities to realize the potential disaster that lies ahead if they vote in favor of the Rawson scheme.

“One positive aspect of this tortuous past year – once we rid ourselves of the faux architect and mendacious so-called developer – we will be able to take advantage of our renewed focus on the Die-Cast property. Now that we are awake, will be able to devote our energies to creating a plan that will be worthy of Woodstock.

“We should create a brilliant design that will be beautiful for generations to come. Why in God’s name not?

“I’m sure you are familiar with Thomas Sowell, an important American intellectual. Dr. Sowell is a Fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institute.  I will quote Dr. Sowell at Tuesday’s evening’s City Council meeting:

‘It’s hard to imagine a more stupid or dangerous way of making decisions than by putting those decisions in the hands of people who pay no price for being wrong.’”


Critique of Dense Die Cast Development in TIF — 26 Comments

  1. Dense housing near the train station to draw in residents–Woodstock has to maintain 25,000 residents some how to maintain home rule status.

    Maybe Stanard would realize this if he wasn’t so busy fluffing up his ego.

  2. Why are you in favor of Woodstock’s being Home Rule, thus able to raise taxes without a referendum?

  3. Stanard is an old friend of mine.

    Brian Sager is everybody’s fiend, however.

    Every chance Sage gets he pushes his ‘gay’ agenda.

    I’m sick of it!

    How come there are 9 people listed as voters at his home?

    Something stinks!

  4. HonestAbe and OldMaBarker are really zooming on oxycodone tonight.

    In 1962, the average new home was 800 s.f. When HonestAbe and OldMaBarker are slowly being tortured to death in nursing homes by their first generation American attendants, dense developments will be smart developments.

    Or, we can stare at an empty brownfield for another 20 years.

  5. And Michael Stanard is a design professional- a graphic design professional.

    I’ve had long conversations with the man, and his work bio is a matter of public record.

    He has as much expertise in commercial residential development as I do.

    Which is none.

    He offers expertise on nothing in this matter.

    Giving how proudly he waves the Trump flag, this is not surprising.

  6. The voters of Woodstock have already considered the worth of Stanard’s opinion on all matters of import to them.

    It seems they have little interest in anything he has to say.

    Fact check?

    Review the election results.

    Sager’s lifestyle has nothing to do with this, he’s an a**, and that’s about all you can say on his behalf.

  7. John’s comments are about as intelligent as “Orange man bad.” I see now how this blog went off the rails quite a long time ago. The caliber of the social justice warrior types that have infiltrated is way beyond the level of acceptance to anyone with even a modicum of discernment.

  8. A rational reason to protest this development is that is will cost taxpayers more than it generates in revenues.

    Ask the Woodstock Council to present the numbers supporting their belief that this development will not net cost Woodstock taxpayers millions of dollars in losses.

    They cannot, because the development will cost Woodstock taxpayers millions of dollars losses.

    Or, because Council members do not care to understand cost benefits analysis: forcing taxpayers to pay many millions in today’s dollars is a loss unless the promised returns 35 or 23 years down the road exceed current value dollar cost equivalent.

    It is as if Woodstock TIF is knowingly paying lottery winners (lucky TIF gift recipients) MORE than the jackpot for taking immediate inflated lump sum payment rather than annuity payments stretching over 35 or 23 years.

  9. What Mayor, City council, and attorneys representing private-profit interests who stand to receive millions of dollars of taxpayer TIF funding never talk about:

    TIF development creates costs–free-riders– and those freeriders have to be subsidized by all unlucky other taxpayers, for 35 years (23 years if we are extremely lucky).

    This development is residential, will create children, by law children must be educated, also by law TIF freeriders are not allowed to pay thise costs because TIF freeriders taxes go to TIF to pay TIF stakeholders.

    According to US Census, each Woodstock resitial init is expected to generate .6 shool aged residents.
    Each school-aged resident currently bills taxpayers ~$9000 per year.

    That means that every TIF freerider residential unit built will cost NON-TIF taxpayers .6 x $9000 in year 1, and increasing with inflation amounts for the next 34 years (22 years if Illinois politics suddenly becomes ethical in 2043).
    90 residential units x .6 x $9000= $486000 annually new cost burden in year one, new cost burden to NON-TIF taxpayers. Every year.
    (Not to mention debt associated with OPEBs and unfunded pension liabilities and health insurance entitlements for 55 year old “retirees “.

    And that $486,000 new cost burden is just for schools. Add another few hundred thousand dollars annually to pay for TIF freeriders 35 years of every other mandayed government service.

  10. Just wondering. Is the development incompatible with homes and lots nearby. Specifically the area defined by streets 1st, Todd, Clay and Wheeler? There appear to be about 25 lots ranging in size between 1/3 and 1/2 acre and most of these have many trees and greenery. Also, so important as these size lots can provide space for trees and evergreens. It would appear from an environmental point of view that the small lot sizes in the proposed development will not allow sufficient space for trees, shrubs and evergreens which are so essential for community quality of life.

  11. Thanks Mark.

    Glad to see, finally addressing some of the taxpayers’ costs of subsidizing TIF stakeholders’ profits:

     District 200 Agreement.

    It is the City of Woodstock’s intention to assist with the education costs borne by District 200 for residents of these new units. Because the homes are proposed within the TIF, the property tax growth due to the new construction is directed into the TIF Fund, rather than to the various taxing bodies that would have received these new property tax revenues.

    It is anticipated that 82 new single family homes, based on the original proposal, would generate approximately 200 new residents, including 37 new school-age students.

    The proposed 36 new apartment units should generate approximately 68 more residents, and 6 more students.

    State of Illinois TIF law requires that projects which receive TIF incentives, and also add new residential units, must utilize a portion of the TIF property taxes for the education of the children present.

    The formula established by the State requires the school district to annually report their tuition costs to educate each student (minus state aid), as well as the number of children actually residing in the project area.

    Using this tuition number times the student count as a maximum, the Illinois TIF law requires that the first 25% of the available TIF funding be directed to the school district, up to this maximum.

    In the case of the proposed Founders Crossing, the anticipated tuition cost could be paid using an estimated 50% of the TIF
    revenue generated from this specific project.

    The City Administration and the School Administration have been negotiating an agreement, which would supplement the mandatory 25% of revenues paid to the District, and address the remaining 25% as well (to the total of 50%).

    This would be based on actual student counts and tuition costs, rather than a flat 50%.

    One nuance of this supplementary payment is that surplus payments from the TIF are required to be made to all taxing bodies, not just the schools.

    Therefore, if the City declares an additional 25% of TIF revenues to be surplus, only 60% of these funds would be directed to the schools.

    The remaining amounts would be paid to the Fire/Rescue District, Community College, etc., including the City of Woodstock,
    based on each taxing entity’s percentage of the current property tax bill.

    However, the City Administration is proposing to commit the City’s portion of the surplus payment to enhancing the amount received by District 200, raising their supplementary payment to approximately 76% of the declared surplus.

    This payment, in addition to the initial 25% would result in the School District receiving 88% of the estimated tuition costs from the TIF.

    As the number of students residing within the project area increases, the amount of TIF increment available to pay the Developer through the Redevelopment Agreement is diminished.

    The Development team understands this relationship and is supportive of paying the schools even if it means a delay in receiving their requested incentive.

    On the other hand, District 200 has agreed to delay their supplementary payments until WinTrust Bank has received the remainder of the land purchase costs.

  12. Republican Governor Bruce Rauner signed Senate Bill 2562 (SB 2562) into law as Public Act 0972 (PA 99-0792) on August 12, 2016.

    SB 2562 > PA 99-792

    This bill provided the City of Springfield the ability to extend to 47 years a TIF created on December 29, 1981.

    This was the first 47 year TIF in Illinois.

    PA 99-0792 allowed the extension of other TIFs, and allowed for the creation of Transit Facility Improvement Areas (TFIA) for these planned projects:

    Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) Blue Line Modernization,

    CTA Red and Purple Line Modernization,

    CTA Red Line South Extension, and

    Union Station redevelopment. > Public Acts > Public Acts/Leg. From Previous General Assemblies > 99 (2015 – 2016) > Go > Public Acts Listing > Public Acts 099-0701 Thru 099-0800 > Public Act 099-0792 – SB 2562 – REVENUE-FINANCIAL INFORMATION > Bill Status

  13. Talk about hard to read! Why is Susan’s post so messed up? Ai apparently doesn’t like what she says. Why are there hard returns all over it yet no delineation for paragraphs? Or did you do this, Cal? This site is messed up.

  14. The proposed development at the old Woodstock Tool & Die is near a working class neighborhood, the commuter train station, downtown Woodstock (the square), and some small businesses not in the square.

    No business or resident has been active on the Woodstock Die Cast property in about the last 29 years, since 1990 or so.

    Sure some things may have needed to be done such as resolve bankruptcy, environmental clean up, changes of ownership due to failed projects, etc.

    But 29 years of no active business or residence is a really long time.


    There are some architectural renderings in the board packet from yesterday’s meeting.

    What’s wrong with them, other than they may not fit into a historic classification and obviously people’s taste in architecture vary.

    Is there a claim inferior materials will be used?

    Compare the renderings to the entire area, not just the downtown area.

    There are plenty of non historic buildings in that area already.

    Who might want to live in a dense area of relatively affordable units close to a train station?

    Younger commuters to Chicago would be one category.

    Perhaps recent retirees who like to be close to downtown and don’t want to maintain a bigger property.

    There are many recent dense developments near train stations in the Chicago area.

    If anything it’s a growing trend.

    A dense development near downtown presumably would be beneficial to some of the downtown businesses.

    The TIF subsidies are a separate related issue.

    The entire state and local finance system in Illinois and the political process that created it is messed up and TIFs are just one part of that along with property taxes, pensions, OPEB, poor legislative transparency and process, phony budgets, etc.

    Without TIFs what percentage of the development and beautification projects in this state would not occur.


    Larry Farrenkopf at Architects 127 is a licensed architect by the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation.

    Architects 127 is the architect listed for the project in the the November 19, 2019 board packet for the City of Woodstock.

    So what was meant by “faux architect.”


  15. The reason Woodstock has not developed with affordable or unaffordable housing is that it has a property tax rate ranging between 3.5% to 4.7% of fair market value for a decade.

    Real estate here loses value relative to everywhere else at 3% per year.

    Local school debt exceeds $150 million (is almost 19% of EAV) (yes i am including unbooked accrued CAB interest).

    The development is doomed not because of aethetics, but economics.

    Why does Illinois NEED development or beautification when development TIF spending just digs existing homeowners into a deeper hole of public debt and property-tax-rate capitalization of negative home values?

  16. There are other many other places in Illinois with effective property tax rates as high or higher than Woodstock.

    The local school district (Woodstock District 200) bond debt is high since Woodstock North opened in 2008 around the time the real estate market tanked, so the enrollment projections never materialized.

    The are plenty of TIF financed projects that get built in Illinois as as the TIF incentive helps offset high property taxes.

    The reason the system exists and persists is politics not sustainable economics.

    People will often simultaneously complaint about property taxes, not vote for fiscally conservative school board candidates, and vote for tax hiking referendums.

    However there are also lots of people with high overall debt be it credit cards, car loans, mortgages, and / or student loans, and as a result are paying lots of interest.

    Lots of people not very good at personal or government finance.

    Not to mention there are all kinds of ways people benefit directly and indirectly from the status quo, even if on average their properties are not appreciating much if at all.

    Then toss in the brutal politics of the state.

    It is a complex system with many layers and tentacles.

  17. It seems the comments are all moot now that the developer has pulled out.

  18. Woodstock Independet

    Founder’s Crossing plan ‘permanently withdrawn’ before City Council vote

    by Larry Lough

    November 19, 2019

    “The proposal of Nuvo Realty Group for a housing development north of the Metra station was “permanently ‘withdrawn’ before Tuesday night’s meeting of the City Council.”

    “But Mayor Brian Sager said after the meeting that the developers, headed by Kenneth Rawson of Chicago, were interested in a similar project elsewhere in Woodstock.”

  19. Mark, TIF 1 and 2 in Woodstock have made any CONTRIBUTORY development in the taxing district Of Woodstock D200 impossible.

    Only heavily subsidized (TIF financed) development comes close to making sense at 4% property tax rate, which alters Cap Rate by Huge Factor,
    and only low-priced residential developments command such subsidies…

    And low priced residential subsidized developments raise property tax rates as a matter of law fact and math….

    What am i missing?

    In what alternative reality is TIF development in a 4% property tax rate environment (given national average 1% property tax rate) non-economically devastating to existing homeowners?

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