Perryville set to vote on enterprise zone expansion
Zone would include former Perryville Outlets property
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.
“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.
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.