Dam Removal, Property Values, and Taxes on the Fox River

Dam Removal, Property Values, and Taxes on the Fox River

With the recent conservation efforts of Kane County and the United States Army Corps of Engineers we are about to see a major change to the Fox River and adjoining areas. In an effort to improve and restore the Fox River, Kane County, under the guidance of the Illinois River Basin Restoration Program that Congress approved in 2000 is working on the removal of every Fox River dam in Kane County from the Carpentersville Dam to the Montgomery Dam.

With the loss of the dams, it is anticipated that the Fox River will flow much more easily without as many blockades long its path. This likely will result in the reduction of the river as the water flows more fluidly. With the shore line falling back, many Kane County residents are wondering what this will mean for them and their property.

Property owners are usually concerned with their property’s value and the taxes they will be expected to pay to the County. To determine both it is important to look at the process for determining value and property taxes. Township assessors take a property’s reported characteristics (which may or may not be verified) and then look at recent sales for comparable properties in the local area to determine how much a property is likely to sell for if it was on the market at that point in time. This number is then used, with other adjustment factors, to determine what share of the overall tax levy a specific property owner is burdened with. Because of this, property value (the main determinant of a landowner’s property taxes) is based on a potential buyer’s perception, not on the owner’s perception. For a discussion about the potential impact to the property taxes for riverfront property owners please see our blog on Riparian Rights and Property Taxes.

In regards to property values, the expectation of the County is that there will be little to no impact on the values of the properties. A riverfront property is a riverfront property and the minor reduction of the shore line shouldn’t have a significant impact on the expected market value of the property. None of the changes brought by the dam will affect the size, location, or other characteristics of the riverfront properties and thus people will continue to buy them for the same reasons they always have and pay the same rate they always have.

There could be a big benefit for homeowners who have property situated in known flood zones. The property value has a chance of increasing due to the benefit this dam removal program will bring. As the river returns to its natural elevation, we could expect to see a reduction in flooding. If a property is able to remove the designation of being in a flood zone this will naturally increase the worth of the property to prospective buyers.

If you have questions regarding your property rights, the Law Office of Andrew Szocka, P.C. can be contacted online or by phone at (815) 455-8430.

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