By Neil Johnson - May 16, 2022



By July, the city of Janesville could have 250 acres of newly minted TIF district land in its arsenal as city economic development officials continue to work toward a landmark greenhouse development deal on the city’s south end.

On Monday, the city’s plan commission set a public hearing June 6 on a proposal to blanket 175 acres of land on Janesville’s far south end under a new TIF district.
The move would further set the table for Milwaukee developer Three Leaf Partners to build a 1.57-million-square-foot hydroponic strawberry greenhouse facility and ready other adjacent parts of the parcels for light industrial development.

The TIF district would blanket 145 acres at the intersection of Highway 51 and Highway 11 in the town of Rock that owner Bill MacFarlane has asked to have annexed into the city of Janesville, plus another about 26 acres to the north.

MacFarlane operates part of MacFarlane Pheasants on that land, but he said he is in the process of selling the property to Three Leaf.

The plan commission also has slated hearings on a request to rezone one piece of farmland that is adjacent to an existing residential area for development of apartments. That is a swath of land, just north of the 145 acres in the town of Rock, being earmarked for multifamily housing, according to developer’s plans on file at the city.

The plan commission will host public hearings June 6 on a request to rezone the MacFarlane land as light manufacturing and to adjust the city’s comprehensive plan to allow multifamily housing on part of the property. Those public hearings run in tandem with a hearing to consider the city designating the same property as a TIF district.
The Janesville City Council must ultimately approve annexation of the town of Rock property and the changes in land use. The city will have to wait until early July to bring those items to the council floor to allow a 30-day public comment period on the proposed changes.

East-side TIF

Separately, the plan commission gave a thumbs-up to the city creating a 70-acre industrial TIF district near the Youth Sports Complex off Enterprise Drive on the city’s east side. If the city galvanizes that new TIF zone in addition to the emerging proposal to annex and designate the 175-acre MacFarlane property as a TIF zone, it would add about 250 new acres of TIF-eligible land in Janesville.

Under law, municipalities are allowed to offer private developers reimbursements on improvements and development costs within TIF districts. In some circumstances, municipalities can offer developers land giveaways along with other tax breaks such as reimbursements tied to job creation and job retention. Those incentives are paid for by extra value that new developments generate within the TIF district.

The city has not publicly disclosed what tax incentives the city might offer for the initial project at highways 51 and 11, a massive, proposed strawberry greenhouse operation.

The city hasn’t given any details on what potential developments could come to the parcels off Enterprise Drive on the east side. One of three parcels at that location, a 40-acre parcel the city owns along Enterprise Drive just west of Wuthering Hills Drive, could draw an approximately 218,000-square-foot development, a consultant to the city of Janesville said in a report to the plan commission.

The city’s expenses could include some potential road improvements to the site along with potential developer incentives.

View Article Here.