Rolling Meadows enacts development moratorium 

Analyzing potential impact of new Bears stadium in nearby Arlington Heights

Rolling Meadows Enacts Development Moratorium
Mayor Lara Sanoica with aerial of Kirchoff Road (City of Rolling Meadows, Google Maps)

Rolling Meadows officials have hit pause on all new development on Kirchoff Road while they analyze the potential impact of a new stadium nearby for the Chicago Bears.

The northwestern suburb has enacted a 90-day development moratorium along the downtown corridor, and it could be extended for up to a year, the Daily Herald reported. Rolling Meadows has been wanting to revamp Kirchoff Road to create a “vibrant and walkable ‘downtown’ district” for residents and visitors alike.

Earlier this year, the Bears paid $197 million for the former Arlington International Racecourse — just a few miles from Rolling Meadows — with plans to build a $5 billion stadium. While the NFL squad is no longer fully committed to a gameday venue in Arlington Heights amid a sky-high property tax assessment, the purchase prompted Rolling Meadows officials to update their 2019 comprehensive plan.

Moreover, the pandemic’s impact on commuting patterns, commercial office spaces and retail and multifamily residential land uses also contributed to the need for a new city plan. 

“What happens in the coming months will shape the character of Rolling Meadows for years to come,” Mayor Lara Sanoica told the outlet. “It is important that we act deliberately and strive for future development that our residents can be proud of.”

During the moratorium, new commercial construction, building additions and significant remodeling within the Kirchoff corridor, spanning from Rohlwing Road to Oriole Lane, are prohibited. However, new businesses can still open, and routine improvements can proceed.

Exceptions to the moratorium include the newly approved Marathon gas station at 3005 Kirchoff Road and a restaurant at the former Taco Bell site at 2997 Kirchoff Road.

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While some property owners, like Clark Street Development, expressed concerns about the moratorium potentially lowering property values, Ald. Nick Budmats argued that careful planning could enhance property values, particularly through a unified Kirchoff Road expansion effort.

The Bears, meanwhile, continue to show signs of decommitment from Arlington Heights. The team will not be pursuing a large long-term property tax break for a new stadium in the city, as it explores “all opportunities for the development of a world-class stadium,” team president Kevin Warren told the Daily Herald

The tax break and a new potential stadium was expected to be a major talking point for an upcoming legislative session. 

In recent months, the Bears have considered Naperville and other locations within the Chicago city limits as possibilities. 

—Quinn Donoghue 

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