County expands revitalization area

     In an effort to speed the process for tax abatement requests in Whitley County, the county council approved Wednesday making any eligible land in the county an economic revitalization area.
     “Other counties in the region have taken a similar step,” said Alan Tió, president of the Whitley County Economic Development Corporation.
    The entire county is not an ERA, just land that already meets the zoning requirements for development, including general business, light industrial, intense industrial and agriculture business, which does not include land used only for farming.
     The move allows anyone eligible for a tax abatement and located within one of the predesignated zoning areas to be able to apply for a tax abatement without the need to first request the land be made an ERA.
     Although Whitley County’s ERA designation is somewhat targeted to certain areas, some counties have gone a step further and made the entire county an ERA.
     According to Indiana law, an ERA is an area within a city, town or county that is “undesirable for, or impossible of, normal development and occupancy because of lack of development, cessation of growth, deterioration of improvements … substandard buildings, or other factors which have impaired values or prevented a normal development of property.”