Like never before, developers are begging to build everywhere that has a train station – and Plainfield has two. Unfortunately, the City of Plainfield has bent over backwards to please developers without regard for its residents who already live here.
You may have heard about the Wawa on South Avenue – approved despite not conforming to South Ave’s master plan. Then there’s the recently approved $2 million North Avenue pedestrian mall that the City Council approved despite the administration admitting they have not done a parking study or a study of the impact on existing local businesses. This mall, built for the benefit of potential developers, will send the city a further $2 million in debt and will raise our taxes. You can read more about that here.
Many developers are given PILOT (payment in lieu of taxes) agreements to come to Plainfield. These are essentially tax breaks that allow for developers to pay the city a reduced amount directly, and is based on the success of the project. Developers claim that without PILOT agreements, they are unable to secure financing.
Traditionally, PILOT agreements force these developers to hire local building contractors, provide a set number of affordable units, and help provide other services that benefit the community. That hasn’t been the case in Plainfield.
Our position is that development that does not benefit current residents is, in fact, not development at all. We can’t expect our elected officials to negotiate the best deals with developers if we continue to elect people who are funded by those very same developers, who give tens of thousands of dollars to our political opponents.