Per­ryville set to vote on en­ter­prise zone ex­pan­sion

Zone would in­clude for­mer Per­ryville Out­lets prop­erty

Cecil Whig - - LOCAL - By JANE BELLMYER

jbellmyer@ ce­cil­whig. com

— The mayor and com­mis­sion­ers will vote next month on an res­o­lu­tion that would des­ig­nate the for­mer Perr yville Out­lets Cen­ter prop­erty as an en­ter­prise zone.

Ear­lier this month, the board tabled the vote and charged town em­ploy­ees with dis­cov­er­ing other prop­er­ties in town to in­clude in the des­ig­na­tion. Po­ten­tial de­vel­op­ment in such a zone could mean tax cred­its from the town, the county and the state. On Tues­day night, Mary Ann Skilling, plan­ning and zon­ing di­rec­tor, ex­plained what type of busi­ness can be in such a zone.

PER­RYVILLE

“It has to be in­tense busi­ness. It can­not be just re­tail,” Skilling said, adding that this rules out in­clud­ing the down­town busi­ness district in the des­ig­na­tion.

Skilling told the board that state plan­ners are re­view­ing the en­ter­prise zone des­ig­na­tion statewide to make sure the guide­lines are be­ing fol­lowed. She also warned that the lone fac­tor that gets Perr yville into the pro­gram is at risk.

Towns must sat­isfy one of four re­quire­ments to get into the pro­gram, Skilling said. The town had pre­vi­ously qual­i­fied be­cause its un­em­ploy­ment rate doesn’t meet so­cioe­co­nomic or pop­u­la­tion stan­dards for the des­ig­na­tion. But she hinted that the rate was on the cusp and any im­prove­ment could re­sult in los­ing fu­ture en­ter­prise zones.

“When the new cen­sus comes out, we may not qual­ify,” Skilling said.

Once the town ap­proves the des­ig­na­tion, the county must also ap­prove it, though this may not hap­pen for some time be­cause the Ce­cil County Coun­cil is on hia­tus from leg­isla­tive du­ties dur­ing this elec­tion sea­son.

IKEA is the town’s lone en­ter­prise zone. Along with the out­let prop­erty on Heather Lane, Perr yville has two other large tracts on the board’s radar. How­ever, Skilling said nei­ther the tract next to Hol­ly­wood Casino nor the for­mer Wood­lands de­vel­op­ment on Route 40 meet the en­ter­prise zone des­ig­na­tion for in­tense busi­ness.

The Wood­lands was a planned mixed- use com­mu­nity that had won awards for its en­vi­ron­ment- friendly de­sign. But the project fell apart with the eco­nomic slump in 2010 and is now over­grown. Aside from the en­ter­prise zone, Skilling said the town would also profit from en­act­ing float­ing, or over­lay zones, for cer­tain ar­eas.

“Over­lay makes it eas­ier for in­fill de­vel­op­ment,” she said. “It gives us more flex­i­bil­ity to get the things we want to see in our town.”

Com­mis­sioner Ray Ryan asked if the float­ing zones would al­low for light in­dus­trial at The Wood­lands. He said hav­ing in­dus­try along the high­way would free up the par­cel along Coudon Boule­vard for mixed use of com­mer­cial and res­i­den­tial.

“Is more in­dus­try what we want at Wood­lands?” Skilling asked the board. “Is some­thing bet­ter than noth­ing?”

The Per­ryville Out­let Cen­ter of­fi­cially closed Oct. 4. Skilling said she has been in con­ver­sa­tion with the owner of the 41acre prop­erty over po­ten­tial fu­ture de­vel­op­ment.

CE­CIL WHIG PHOTO BY JANE BELLMYER

Per­ryville Town Plan­ner Mary Ann Skilling shows the mayor and com­mis­sion­ers the area off Heather Lane — the for­mer Per­ryville Out­lets prop­erty — tar­geted to be­come the new en­ter­prise zone.

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