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OV Town Council votes to expand boundaries of its Economic Expansion Zone

At its March 21, 2018 meeting, the Oro Valley Town Council voted to expand the boundaries of the Town’s Economic Expansion Zone (EEZ), to include other business and technology park areas such as Innovation Park, Foothills Business Park, and all other technology-park-zoned land within Town limits. It only applies to planned and permitted land uses and excludes any residential development.

March 28, 2018

The new code amendment, which conforms with the voter-ratified Your Voice, Our Future General Plan, will have a long-term, positive fiscal impact for the community, as attraction of employment-related development supports economic sustainability.

As the Town of Oro Valley continues to approach buildout (currently at approximately 85%), the expansion of the EEZ will help maximize the potential of remaining lands planned for technology related employment opportunities. EEZ was previously limited to only a portion of those areas so expansion provides the same competitive market advantage to all property owners with business and technology park zoning.

This expansion also aligns with what Oro Valley residents indicated was a top priority for creating a “complete community.” As part of the Town’s public outreach process for the 2016 General Plan Update, expanded employment opportunities was one of the highest-ranking requests from residents. 

“Improving the Town’s ability to attract employers is key in the hyper competitive business attraction market,” said Oro Valley’s Planning and Zoning Administrator Bayer Vella. “When shopping for a new community for its operations, high quality tech employers often demand an ability to construct a new and custom facility within 9 to 15 months from making a commitment. Special care is needed to meet this challenge while upholding the Town’s design standards.”

Sun Corridor, Inc. is the region's regional economic development authority. President and CEO Joe Snell also weighed in on the importance of a simplified development process: “Over the past three years, we have seen commercial and industrial inventory shrink by three percentage points. As existing space becomes less available, companies will gravitate to build-to-suit options, and developers will start to construct speculative space in anticipation of the new demand. It is of utmost importance that communities within our region simplify and make more certain the development process. Roadblocks and complications in the process will turn prospective companies away and make our region less competitive.”

BACKGROUND
The Economic Expansion Zone (EEZ) was adopted in 2012 with the purpose of encouraging economic development in Innovation Park (near Oracle Road and Tangerine Road) by reducing public meeting and hearing time required to establish new or expand existing businesses within the EEZ. This action was balanced by maintaining the use of Town design standards and the ability to appeal staff decisions to/by Town Council. In the past, an open house style meeting has been hosted for projects utilizing the EEZ.

Since 2012 there have been several projects developed under the EEZ, including: Securaplane Technologies, Tucson Orthopedic Institute, Expansion of Ventana Medical Systems Inc., a member of the Roche Group, and All Seasons Senior Care.