Lake Zurich officials help with restaurant expansi …

Last week Lake Zurich officials agreed to put up almost $50,000 in a mixture of permit fee waivers and tax increment financing funds to help DiPiero’s Ristorante to expand.  The restaurant has been described as one of Lake Zurich’s most popular eating establishments by village officials, and the owners are intending to pull down the vacant building situated between their two locations at 44 S Old Rand Road and 17 E Main Street.  The pulling down of the vacant building will mean that there is room for a potential outdoor seating area and a shared parking lot, according to village officials.  The owners are also planning to build an addition to the existing restaurant kitchen.

In spite of the TIF district struggling and being set to witness increased payments in the next few years – expected to rise to as much as $2.9 million by the time 2018 rolls around – and a revenue stream that appears to be holding steady at around $1.3 million, officials claim that they made the decision that it was in the best interests of the town to move forward with this plan.  A little over $27,000 will be provided by Lake Zurich from the TIF fund.   Jim Beaudoin, a trustee, says that while he understands residents’ concerns about taking money away from a fund that already appears to be having difficulty fulfilling its obligations, in the long term the deal was in the best interests of Lake Zurich.

“We have to do something,” Beaudoin notes.  “In the short period of time … parking is really not a huge issue, but as we continue to try to develop downtown, and drive people there, something I think we have to have is adequate parking.”  The lot, which will include between 20 and 30 spots according to public works manager Mike Brown, will have six spots solely dedicated to customers of DiPiero’s Ristorante all year round.  One board member, Mark Loewes, voted against the plan, annoyed by the stipulation that 50% of the lot’s spots should be held for DiPiero’s Ristorante up to as many as 18 times in a year for special events such as 4th July or Rock the Block.

“I’ve got a problem with that,” Loewes admits of his decision to vote against the move.  “Our actual busiest times of the year in town, he’s still maintaining half the lot.  I mean, at what point does the lot become useful to the village other times of the year?”  Other members of the board claimed that they understood why the stipulation would be required by the restaurant, however, noting that it could potentially lose customers during such times if they were unable to find a parking spot available.  Despite the costs, Beaudoin believes that the venture is a low-risk one for the village.  Mayor Tom Poynton notes that is part of the bigger picture in terms of developing downtown.