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Expanding regional enterprise

Posted on Wednesday, January 8, 2020 at 3:23 pm

It just so happens that at December’s Westmoreland County Board of Supervisors meeting, the matter of a public hearing involving the amending of the regional enterprise zone in the county came up. The county is part of a regional enterprise zone throughout the Northern Neck, with the zone comprising a total area of about 2,982 acres in the county.

So what is a regional enterprise zone? To the uninitiated, the Virginia Enterprise Zone Program was established back in 1982 by the General Assembly, with the idea of giving job creation and private investment a kick in gear within areas throughout Virginia, usually via incentives in the form of tax relief, grants, flexible local regulations, and infrastructure development. Over the years, there have been around $3 or 4 million in grants paid out over the Northern Neck.

According to Mr. Davis, the representative that was at the meeting to inform the board on the situation as it is, we’re in the 20th year of that zone designation, which is close to the expiration of the enterprise zone’s shelf life. Normally, the zone would expire at the end of this calendar year, but the General Assembly approved legislation last session that allowed for all expiring zones to request a 5-year extension. All four counties requested extensions, and as far as the rep knows, it’s going to be approved within all the counties, extending it for another 5 years.

Within the Westmoreland zone, there have been 3 or 4 amendments to the zone’s boundaries within the last 20 years. The amendment to the zone at Colonial Beach adds 234 acres, where the Food Lion shopping center and McDonald’s are, adding onto the area that already included the main street to the boardwalk and the businesses surrounding it.

For the full article, pick up the latest Westmoreland News 1/8/20