Council to talk enterprise zones

Published 9:36 pm Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The City Council will be talking enterprise zones during its work session today.

The council will hear updates on concerns they had when proposed enterprise zone boundary modifications were presented to them earlier this month.

An enterprise zone is a partnership between the state and municipalities. The state provides support via incentives to offer business to encourage them to locate in more distressed areas in the city to help spur growth and revitalization.

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Since 1990, Suffolk has had a maximum of 3,840 acres to deem as enterprise zones within the city. Enterprise zones expire after 20 years; Suffolk’s zones will be up next year.

With such a short time left, city officials want to maximize the zone space and are making modifications to the zone boundaries. A locality can change its zone boundaries once a calendar year.

Back in February, some of the recommendations included extending the enterprise zone boundaries to include the Lipton plant, the Commerce Center, Virginia Regional Commerce Park, Northgate Commerce Park, as well as some miscellaneous land to keep the zone contiguous – a state requirement.

Those changes would lead to about 3,749 of the 3,840 possible acres being deemed an enterprise zone.

When presented these and other recommendations, Council raised some concerns. During today’s work session, Council will be briefed on the proposed enterprise zone status of businesses along the East Washington Street Corridor – Council will be provided a larger map which will show the retention of businesses in the zone. Council will also hear the plans to include land in the vicinity of the Suffolk Executive Airport because the land originally proposed around the airport has been removed from consideration. They will also be briefed on the eligibility of home businesses inside an enterprise zone.

The work session is scheduled to being at 4 p.m. in City Council Chambers.