At Monday night's City of Winter Haven CRA meeting the board voted 5-1 to approve development incentives presented by Merle Bishop, Growth Management Director, and developed in cooperation with the Winter Haven Economic Development Director Bruce Lyon. This was after a lengthy discussion by the board as to whether there was funding available to provide these incentives.
Bruce Lyon believes that these incentives are meant to show that the city wants to support development in the two CRA districts, Florence Villa and the Downtown CRA district. The Downtown CRA district covers a much larger geographic area than what we would traditional think of as the downtown core. See the map above. The hope is that the availability of these incentives could spur greater investment.
Commissioner Birdsong and Mayor Dantzler explained that these incentives are conditional on development actually happening which would lead to positive financial impact for the city i.e. it is a rebate program. No development, no incentives. Commissioner Twyford raised concerns about giving back money (paid in taxes) from new development that could be used to pay back CRA debt service.
Ultimately, the CRA Board (made up of the 5 city commissioners, Dr. James Threlkel and UJ Johnson (who was abscent)) approved the measure with Commissioner Twyford voting no due to questions on the facade and exterior improvements proposal. Read more about the incentives and the resolution below.
Official Press Release from the EDC:
In order to facilitate further redevelopment opportunities within its Downtown and Florence Villa Community Redevelopment Areas, the Winter Haven Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) Board approved a resolution on June 13, 2016, establishing five new development incentives. The Winter Haven Economic Development Council (WHEDC) has been working in partnership with the City of Winter Haven’s Growth Management Department to create the incentives, designed to encourage new development activity of both housing and commercial projects. Before presentation to the CRA Board, advisory committees for both districts, as well as City staff,recommended approval of these incentives.
The following incentives were approved:
• Real Estate Development Accelerator
• Housing Investment Program
• Façade and Exterior Improvement Program (for Developers)
• Commercial Redevelopment
• Capital Improvement Grant Program
Attached is the approved resolution with descriptions of each incentive. If successful, these measures will help spur new development in the two CRA districts, including the already active downtown area. In 2014-2016, downtown Winter Haven will see the results of approximately $120 million in new investment, with more than $35 million planned for 2017-2018.
“We embrace the level of development activity in downtown Winter Haven,” Bruce Lyon, WHEDC President said, “and believe that these new development incentives can not only help reinforce those investments, but also bring more housing and commercial development to the entire CRA. We appreciate the support of the board and its approval of this resolution.”
The Winter Haven Economic Development Council fosters expansion of existing businesses and industry; attracts new high-skill, high-wage business and industry; expands economic and job opportunities for Winter Haven residents; broadens the local tax base and enhances relationships with local, regional, state, national and international economic development organizations and agencies.
CRA RESOLUTION R-16-01
A RESOLUTION OF THE CITY OF WINTER HAVEN, FLORIDA COMMUNITY REDEVELOPMENT AGENCY (CRA) SETTING FORTH AND ESTABLISHING THE USE OF CERTAIN DEVELOPMENT INCENTIVES WITHIN THE FLORENCE VILLA COMMUNITY REDEVELOPMENT AND THE DOWNTOWN COMMUNITY REDEVELOPMENT AREAS; IN ACCORDANCE WITH, RECOGNIZING AND ACKNOWLEDGING THE GOALS AND OBJECTIVES OF THE FLORENCE VILLA AND THE DOWNTOWN COMMUNITY REDEVELOPMENT PLANS; MAKING FINDINGS; PROVIDING PROCEDURES AND ADMINISTRATIVE DIRECTIONS REGARDING SUCH DEVELOPMENT INCENTIVES; AND A REPEAL OF ALL CONFLICTING RESOLUTIONS; AND PROVIDING AN EFFECTIVE DATE.
WHEREAS, the City of Winter Haven CRA desires to facilitate further redevelopment opportunities within the Florence Villa and Downtown Community Redevelopment Areas within the City’s Community Redevelopment Area; and
WHEREAS, the Florence Villa and Downtown CRA Advisory Committees established by the CRA have reviewed and affirmatively endorsed and recommended certain development incentives (further described herein) to be established and utilized by the City of Winter Haven CRA for eligible properties located within the boundaries of the City of Winter Haven Florence Villa Community Redevelopment and the Downtown Community Redevelopment Areas; and
WHEREAS, the City of Winter Haven CRA finds certain development incentives to be consistent with the Community Redevelopment Plans for the Florence Villa Community Redevelopment, and the Downtown Community Redevelopment Areas, and Chapter 163, Part III, the Community Redevelopment Act, Florida Statutes, and City of Winter Haven Resolutions R-00-07, R-00-18 and R-00-19 creating a Community Redevelopment Agency to exercise and carry out community redevelopment within the Florence Villa Community Redevelopment and the Downtown Community Redevelopment Areas within the City.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE CITY OF WINTER HAVEN, FLORIDA COMMUNITY REDEVELOPMENT AGENCY:
*Lenders to be identified
Individual proposed written agreements reflecting all terms of such incentives will be presented to the CRA Board for consideration and approval in a form and manner satisfactory to the City Manager and the City Attorney.
3. Approval of development incentives, described herein, for projects and properties within the Florence Villa Community Redevelopment Area must be recommended for approval to the CRA Board by majority vote of the Florence Villa CRA Advisory Committee at a properly advertised meeting presenting a quorum of members.
4. Approval of development incentives, described herein, for projects and properties within the Downtown Community Redevelopment Area must be recommended for approval to the CRA Board by majority vote of the Downtown CRA Advisory Committee at a properly advertised meeting presenting a quorum of members.
5. Administration of development incentives, described herein, shall be conducted by CRA staff as determined by the City Manager or his designee which shall include but not be limited to the development of appropriate applications and a CRA staff and CRA Advisory Committee review process.
6. Any development incentives authorized herein are also subject to appropriation and availability of funds as determined by the CRA Board of the City of Winter Haven. All such reimbursements as defined in this Resolution shall be limited to 10 years or the expiration of the CRA whichever time period is earlier.
7. The provisions of this Resolution are severable. If any word, sentence, clause, phrase, or provision of this Resolution for any reason is declared by any court of competent jurisdiction to be void, unconstitutional, or unenforceable; then all remaining provisions and portions of this Resolution shall remain in full force and effect.
8. All Resolutions in conflict with this Resolution are repealed to the extent necessary to give this Resolution full force and effect.
9.Any provision in this Resolution may be renumbered or relettered and the correction of typographical and/or scrivener’s errors which do not affect the intent may be authorized by the City Manager or his designee, without need of consideration by the CRA Board, by filing a corrected or recodified copy of same with the City Clerk and/or Secretary of the CRA Board.
10.This resolution shall take effect immediately upon passage by the CRA Board at a duly noticed and held public hearing.
INTRODUCED AND PASSED by the CRA Board of the City of Winter Haven, Florida, on this ______ day of June, 2016.
COMMUNITY REDEVELOPMENT AGENCY
OF THE CITY OF WINTER HAVEN, FLORIDA