Enterprise zones approved

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By Christopher Brooke, Reporter

HILLSVILLE — An idea to add economic development tools to two Interstate 77 exits in Carroll County did not get stalled by the wayside, as elected officials announced that the state has added the two interchanges to the county's enterprise zones.

Supervisors' Chairman Wes Hurst quietly celebrated while making the announcement of the approval at Monday's county board meeting. The expansion of an enterprise zone covering areas in Hillsville and Carroll's industrial park at Exit 14 has been extended to highly developable land at Exit 8 in Fancy Gap and Exit 19's Wildwood business park.

Changes to the state Department of Housing and Community Development allow noncontiguous areas to be taken into an enterprise zone.

"We are happy to have the enterprise zone award," Hurst said at Monday's meeting.

"The big thing on that is to include three of the four exits in the county…"

The enterprise zone approval is important economic development tool, and it will provide for incentives for commercial and industrial growth.

Carroll supervisors officially applied for the enterprise zone changes back in November.

Hurst thanked staff members Kathy Surratt and Emily Phillips and business developer Bernie Deck for their hard work in getting the enterprise zone approvals.

Maps created in-house showing the properties in question added to the success of the expansion proposal, County Administrator Gary Larrowe added. That's a skill recently added by the county staff, creating a savings by not having to contract that work out.

"I was also exceptionally pleased that these enterprise zone amendments were made without question, and based upon the professionalism of how they were put together and the logic behind them…" he said.

The expansion would allow a large swath of land in Fancy Gap — from Chances Creek and Pottery Drive to the Blue Ridge Parkway area, and an even larger swath from Coulson Church and Airport roads to the large, graded, ready-for-development tract called Wildwood at Exit 19 — to be added to the more than 2,000 acres in the enterprise zone in and around Hillsville.

That means Fancy Gap and Wildwood are now covered when it comes to economic development opportunities, and it was done without changing the enterprise zone in Hillsville, Larrowe said.

"That was a very positive thing for the community," he said. "You have to take those opportunities whenever you can."

Enterprise zones offer state and local incentives to qualifying businesses.

Those business incentives include breaks on building permit and zoning fees, a decreasing "rebate" on machinery and tools taxes and real estate taxes over five years, public water and sewer rate credits and a grant of $250 for each full-time job created by a new or expanding business locating within the zones.