In an effort to attract new business development and growth to the City of Fairview Heights plus stimulate residential and industrial development and assist existing firms to expand thereby increasing the local tax base and further providing job opportunities, the City Council of the City of Fairview Heights, Illinois, has established several programs to provide various financial incentives and inducements. One of the primary goals of the City of Fairview Heights is to provide a suitable environment and delivery of essential public services to attract and enhance new business development and investments as well as retain and help expand existing businesses.

Business District Program Overview

The creation of Business Districts is yet another tool that municipalities can use to stimulate economic activity, create and maintain jobs, increase tax revenues, as well as encourage the creation of new and lasting infrastructure, other improvements, and facilities, pursuant to the Business District Development and Redevelopment Law, 65 ILCS 5/11-74.3-1, et seq. (the “Business District Law”). The “Shoppes at St. Clair Square Business District” is one example of such a Business District. The City will entertain any serious efforts to create additional Business Districts, but such districts must meet the criteria and follow the process set forth in, inter alia, the Business District Law, 65 ILCS 5/11-74.3-2.

A Business District is a special district in which the municipality is authorized to undertake certain pubic improvements to be financed, in certain instances, through the issuance of notes or bonds that are, in turn, retired by the levy of a sales tax within the geographic boundaries of the Business District. The municipality may also reimburse developers, owners, investors, or other applicants for eligible “Business District Project Costs.” Eligible business district project costs include, but are not limited to, the cost of:

  • Studies, surveys, plans, and specifications;
  • Property assembly costs, including but not limited to acquisition of land and other property, demolition of buildings, site preparation, as well as clearing and grading of land;
  • Installation, repair, construction, reconstruction, extension, or relocation of public streets, utilities, and other public site improvements;
  • Renovation, rehabilitation, reconstruction, relocation, repair, or remodeling of any existing buildings, improvements, and fixtures within the Business District;
  • Installation or construction within the Business District of buildings, structures, works, streets, improvements, equipment, utilities, or fixtures; and
  • Financing.

In certain instances, if the municipality approves a Business District development or redevelopment plan, it may impose a retailers’ occupation, service occupation, or hotel operators’ occupation tax in the Business District, at a rate not to exceed 1% of the gross receipts from sales, adjusted only in 0.25% increments. Proposed business district development or redevelopment plans shall set forth, in writing, the following:

  • A specific description of the proposed boundaries of the district, including a map illustrating the boundaries;
  • A general description of each project proposed to be undertaken within the Business District, including a description of the approximate location of each project and a description of any developer, user, or tenant of any property to be located or improved within the proposed Business District;
  • The name of the proposed Business District;
  • The estimated Business District project costs;
  • The anticipated type and terms of any obligations to be issued; and
  • The rate of any tax to be imposed subject to the Business District Law and the period of time for which the tax shall be imposed.

If, upon completion of the Business Assistance Program Application Review Process set forth, the Letter of Intent is approved, the City will prepare a “Development Agreement.” Prior to the City executing the Development Agreement, the applicant must pay a “Business Assistance Application Fee” (the fee) equal to 2% of the Total Project Cost, not to exceed $500.00. The fee covers the cost of legal review, analysis, and processing of the application. The Fee is non-refundable, but should the project be delayed or terminated by actions of the City of Fairview Heights, such fee will be reimbursed. Land owners, developers, investors, or other applicants seeking to obtain Business District Program assistance must complete a Business Assistance Program Application.

County Organization Programs

Business Financing in Southwestern Illinois

St. Clair County Economic Development Department

The Illinois Finance Authority

State Organization Programs

Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity

Small Business Development Center

Federal Organization Programs

Economic Development Administration

Environmental Protection Agency

Housing and Urban Development

United States Department of Agriculture

Small Business Administration Loan Industry

The City of Fairview Heights is a great place to


City staff will work with you to ensure a streamlined, successful and supported experience.
Below, you will find a guide to basic city processes required.



Fairview Heights has partnered with the neighboring communities of O’Fallon and Swansea to launch the Metro East Business Incubator (the MEBI), a full-service program for business startups; check out local, regional, state and national resources available through the incubator’s website.


Need help finding the perfect location for your business? Contact the City’s Land Use and Development Director Dallas Alley at (618) 489-2061 or

Before you select a site, verify the zoning classification of the property and if the proposed business is allowed in the zone.  In some instances, a type of business may require a zoning procedure such as a Special Use Permit, Rezoning (Map Amendment) or Site Development Plan.  These are multi-step review and public hearing processes that can take 2-4 months.

Contact the City’s Land Use and Development Director Dallas Alley at (618) 489-2061 or for zoning verification.


Before you can open your business, you will need to comply with all City Codes and licensing requirements.  Most of the forms are available on the City’s website at

Ready to Talk?