Brian O’Connell
Director of City Development

Contact Person: The City of Racine contracts with the Racine County Economic Development Corporation (RCEDC) for business development services., Gordy Kacala, Executive Director, gkacala@racinecountyedc.org, www.racinecountyedc.org

General City Contact Information: Brian F. O’Connell, Director of City Development, brian.oconnell@cityofracine.org, www.cityofracine.org

Comprehensive Plan: Citywide plan, adopted 1975, has been updated for areas of the city such as downtown, South Side, and commercial corridors and is currently being updated in compliance with the state Smart Growth law.

Basic Process of Approval or Denial of a Development Plan: Pre-application conference with Department of City Development. Submission of complete application to department. Hearing before City Plan Commission. Common Council action on Plan Commission recommendation. If project involves a rezoning or planned development, a second Plan Commission and Common Council meeting is needed for ordinance adoption. Plan Commission and Common Council meet twice each month. Racine prides itself on expeditious review of development proposals and allowing many types of development by right. The zoning code is available on the city’s Web site; click on the Municipal Codes icon.

TIF Districts: Racine has created 12 Tax Increment Districts (TIDs). All have been created under the blight elimination provisions of the tax increment law, including the city’s “brownfield” districts. Recent districts are (“budget” is TID expenditures, not development value):

TID 11 (2005): Redevelop a block of blighted commercial property; budget: $1.3 million, excluding financing.

TID 12 (2005): Assist redevelopment of a brownfield loft building as housing units; budget: $1.2 million, excluding financing

TID 13 (2006): Assist development of a mixed use residential and commercial building in the downtown; budget $2.0 excluding financing.

TID 14 (2006): Assist redevelopment of a 20 acre brownfield as a lakefront neighborhood; budget $21.5 million, excluding financing.

TID 15 (2006): Assist redevelopment of a 2.5 acre former nursing home as single-family home sites; budget $500,000, excluding financing.

Redevelopment Aid: Racine offers a variety of programs for business development. A partial list is available at the RCEDC Web site; click on the Financing tab. The city also offers improved, affordable land in its industrial parks; enquire through RCEDC.


– Brownfield initiative, to redevelopment underutilized former industrial property. Over 20 acres have been cleared and cleaned since 2002. Contact: Christopher Schanz at RCEDC, 262-898-7422.

– Commercial corridor initiative, to improve properties and recruit businesses to the older commercial areas on the city’s major streets. Redevelopment plans are completed, special financial assistance is available. Contact: Kristin Niemiec at RCEDC, 262-898-7404.

Fee Schedule:

Rezoning: $175.

Conditional Use Permit: $175.

Planned Development: $175 plus recording fees.

Time Schedule for Plan Approval: Many projects are allowed by right. Projects that require formal review are handled expeditiously. For comparison: A recent rezoning and conditional use permit for the conversion of a loft-style warehouse to 100 apartments took eight weeks from application by the developer to final approval by the Common Council.

Building or Growth Moratoria: None.

Environmental Issues: None city-wide. The Racine Water Utility has ample capacity to deliver fresh water from Lake Michigan and the Racine Waste Water Utility has ample processing capacity due to recent improvement projects. The city offers assistance for the clean-up of site specific contamination through its brownfield initiative.

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