Three Volusia cities are entering the New Year with solid plans for longterm redevelopment of their primary urban corridors.
The Volusia County Council recently approved requests from Edgewater and New Smyrna Beach officials to create Community Redevelopment Areas (CRAs) that cover practically the entire stretch of US1 through the two Southeast Volusia cities – as well as certain adjacent tracts. And last summer, the council approved Orange City’s request to designate a CRA for about three miles of mostly-commercial land along US 17-92, and including downtown.
The designations establish base values for properties within the CRAs and — over the next 20 years — tax proceeds above those baselines can be used for allowable redevelopment projects, such as infrastructure, capital improvements and landscaping / aesthetics. As part of the CRA designation process, cities must conduct studies to show the areas are “blighted” as well as master plans for improvements.
There are now 17 CRAs within Volusia County – and others being considered by the cities of Deltona (along parts of Deltona, Saxon and Normandy boulevards) and Ormond Beach (US1). Throughout their 20-year terms, CRAs have the potential to generate multi-million dollar improvements from the diverted tax revenues. Volusia County government approval is required for the creation of cities’ CRAs. And as the CRAs also direct county tax revenues to the designated areas, county government in the past year has placed greater restrictions on the requirements for creation and operation of CRAs and allowable projects that can be funded – as well as the amount of county tax revenue that can be diverted to each project.
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New Smyrna Beach already has an existing CRA that has been very successful in boosting commercial development along Flagler Avenue on beachside — and growing success in recent years along Canal Street on the mainland. That CRA however will ‘sunset’ in May, 2015.
The new Southeast Volusia CRAs mainly will focus on rejuvenating development along the US1 corridor, extending from near New Smyrna Beach’s north city limits all the way south to Falcon Avenue in Edgewater. In New Smyrna Beach, the new CRA also will include renovations to the historic Westside neighborhood adjacent to US1; and Edgewater’s CRA will work to create a new ‘downtown’ surrounding the US1 / Park Avenue intersection, promoting mixed-use development.
Orange City’s US 17-92 CRA has been a work in progress for three years. It stretches through the municipality’s downtown and main commercial corridor. Since gaining the CRA last summer, Orange City officials also have been working to designate the district a “brownfield,” which would enable certain properties to qualify for potential tax and financial incentives when they are redeveloped.
More information about Volusia’s various CRAs (existing and proposed) is available on the web site of Volusia County Property Appraiser Morgan Gilreath at www.volusia.org — including background, statistics, blight studies and financial data.
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