The Collier County Board of County Commissioners created Innovation Zones in 2010 to promote economic development and diversify the local economy by encouraging the construction of corporate headquarters, manufacturing plants, and to improve neighborhoods. The three zones are similar to Community Redevelopment Areas, which turn around blighted communities.
The intent is to provide incentives to boost economic growth and create higher-paying jobs outside Collier County's three top industries, hospitality, agriculture and construction/real estate. Commissioners set up the Ave Maria Innovation Zone in 2015 and funds were made available in 2017. Here's the ordinance.
In July 2018, commissioners approved the Interchange Activity Center No. 9 Innovation Zone, several hundred vacant and undeveloped acres in East Naples, around the commercial and industrial areas near the Interstate 75 and Collier Boulevard intersection. Funds will be available in 2020. Here's the ordinance.
In November 2018, commissioners approved a third Innovation Zone, the Golden Gate City Economic Development Zone, which covers the entire City of Golden Gate. Funding will be available in 2020 and the priority will be the redevelopment and renewal of the commercial district along Golden Gate Parkway. Here's the ordinance.
A seven-member Golden Gate City Economic Development Zone Advisory Board also will be set up, with members who will be representative of the zone's residential, business and commercial interests. The board also will include non-residential members who don't live within the zone and, if that district's commissioner approves, the member also could live outside the county. The Advisory Board's function is to assist the Board of County Commissioners in carrying out the purpose of the zone, including (but not limited to) advising and assisting commissioners in establishing, reviewing and enhancing policies and programs to attract businesses or industries to the zone, reviewing and making recommendations on Trust Fund applications, and any other matters assigned by the county commission.
Innovation Zone Maps
How Innovation Zones and Funding Work
Under the Innovation Zone program, county commissioners create a zone, set a base tax year and any tax increases collected in that zone are deposited into that zone's Innovation Trust Fund. Up to $1 million yearly can be deposited into each zone's Trust Fund. Revenue from increased property values in each zone's geographic boundaries help pay for projects in that zone.
To qualify for the incentives, developers must get their projects approved before building. Developers can use the funds in any lawful manner, including infrastructure required to serve new target businesses or the expansion of an existing target business; payment of county impact fees to be paid by the new target business, or the expansion of an existing target business; and payment of building permit fees or other county fees related to the construction of structures that serve the target business.
All trust fund payments must be pre-approved by county commissioners and all expenses must be fully documented in a manner acceptable to county officials.
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Page updated on Dec. 6, 2019