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Community Redevelopment Areas in Orange County | FAQs

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Q: What is a Community Redevelopment Area (CRA)?
A: A Community Redevelopment Area (CRA) is a special district within defined boundaries created to meet a specific need(s) within those borders (no certain size requirement). When a CRA is formed, monies can be set aside to support improvements such as infrastructure, social service programs, housing initiatives and beautification projects within that district that can lead to economic development. Note: CRAs do not have any specific requirement for a certain size/area.

Q: How many CRAs are there in Orange County?
A: Currently, there are 15 CRAs in Orange County.*

Q: How many CRAs are there in the State of Florida?
A: There are currently more than 220 CRAs in the State of Florida. To obtain a current list, visit
https://dca.deo.myflorida.com/fhcd/sdip/OfficialListdeo/.

Q: What are some examples of conditions that can support the creation of a CRA?
A: Conditions include, but are not limited to, the presence of substandard or inadequate structures, a shortage of affordable housing, inadequate infrastructure, insufficient roadways and inadequate parking.

Q: What are some traditional CRA projects?
A: CRA projects include streetscapes and roadway improvements, building renovations, new building construction, flood control initiatives, water and sewer improvements, parking lots and garages, neighborhood parks, sidewalks and street tree plantings. Projects can also include redevelopment incentives such as grants for such things as building façade improvements, sprinkler system upgrades, signs and structural improvements.

Q: Why are CRAs beneficial?
A: CRAs are beneficial because they are created to address specifically identified needs within a certain area. CRAs create the economic mechanism for local governments to invest in these areas with the intent that the private sector also makes an investment in the area. In other words, the CRA investment is designed to catalyze private sector investment, ultimately making the area more valuable and contributing to the creation or maintenance of jobs.

Q: What can CRA funds be used for?
A: CRA funding can be used for many diverse purposes (e.g. housing, infrastructure, transportation/transit, parking facilities, streetscape, parks/community facilities, economic development programs, social services programs, innovative community policing, land acquisition/demolition and more). Funds must be expended within the designated boundaries of the CRA and must be spent on projects/programs approved for that particular CRA.

Q: How are CRAs funded?
A: The CRA’s redevelopment activities are funded through a formula that uses the incremental increase in the property taxes collected in the district. The initial property taxes that were realized before creation of the CRA continue to be used for general-purpose needs.

Q: How are CRAs designated?
A: Under Florida law (Chapter 163, Part III), local governments are able to designate areas as CRAs when certain conditions exist. Since all the dollars used in funding CRA activities are locally generated, CRAs are not directly overseen by the state. However, redevelopment plans must be consistent with local government comprehensive plans. (Planning agencies for local governments develop this plan every five to seven years.)

Q: What are some concrete examples of how CRAs have improved Orange County?**
A: Examples of Orange County CRA projects include:

  • Building Code and Façade Renovation in Apopka (District 2)
  • Kennedy Boulevard Master Plan in Eatonville (District 2)
  • Maitland Boulevard Off-Ramp and Regional Stormwater Pond in Maitland (District 5)
  • Old Winter Garden Road Median Landscaping in Ocoee (District 1)
  • Parramore Asset Stabilization Fund in Orlando (District 5)
  • West Orange Trail Streetscape in Winter Garden (District 1)
  • John Young Parkway Widening and Interchange with Sand Lake Road and Pedestrian Enhancements along I-Drive (District 6)
  • Denning Drive Mixed-Use Path and Landscaping in Winter Park (District 5)

Q: How long is a typical CRA in place? Does it expire?
A: CRAs are typically created with durations of 30 years, but can have durations up to a maximum of 60 years (depending upon when they were first established and depending on the Florida Statutes). Each CRA is created with a sunset date that can be amended.

I-DRIVE CRA:

Q: What is the benefit of extending the I-Drive CRA?
A: The benefit of extending any CRA is that Orange County Government has a longer period of time in which to capture revenues to implement projects and address needs. Specifically, extending the I-Drive CRA an additional 12 years syncs up with the I-Drive 2040 Strategic Vision. The 2040 Strategic Vision defines an urban area that is very walkable and friendly. A key proposal is to create a robust transit system that supports the number of people who visit or work in the area. Transit systems take time to develop, so extending the I-Drive CRA helps bring this vision to a reality. Orange County is currently updating the redevelopment plan for the area, so extending the CRA will also benefit this plan.

Q: How has the I-Drive CRA benefitted the community at large?
A: To date, the focus has been implementing transportation improvements. There are a number of roadways that have been enhanced, such as John Young Parkway, and this has benefited the broader community (e.g., connectivity residential, not just the tourism sector. Whenever community leaders invest in infrastructure, there are broader economic benefits that allow businesses and residents to thrive. Positive economic impact is created in the entire region because existing jobs are preserved and new ones are created.

Q: What was I-Drive like before the CRA came into existence?
A: When the I-Drive CRA was first created in 1998, I-Drive did not have the proper infrastructure it has today. Traffic congestion and transportation deficiencies plagued the area, and road extensions, transit lanes and pedestrian safety enhancements were sorely needed. CRA funding has been used as part of the overall redevelopment plan for I-Drive that continues to this day.

MORE BACKGROUND ON CRAs:

Q: How does the CRA designation process work?
A: A public meeting begins the designation process, and several steps have to be accomplished before the Community Redevelopment Area becomes a reality:

  1. Adopt the Finding of Necessity. This will formally identify the blight conditions within the targeted area and establish the area boundary.
  2. Develop and adopt the Community Redevelopment Plan (see below). The plan addresses the unique needs of the targeted area and includes the overall goals for redevelopment in the area, as well as identifying specific projects.
  3. Create a Redevelopment Trust Fund. Establishment of the Trust Fund enables the Community Redevelopment Agency (see below) to direct the increase in real property tax revenues back into the targeted area.

Q: How does Orange County Government document that the required condition exists for a CRA?
A: Orange County Government must survey the proposed redevelopment area and prepare a “Finding of Necessity” document. If the Finding of Necessity survey results determine that the required conditions exist, the government can begin the CRA designation process.

Q: What is a Community Redevelopment Agency?
A: The activities and programs offered within a CRA are administered by the Community Redevelopment Agency. A five- to seven-member CRA “Board” created by the local government (city or county) directs the agency. The Board can be comprised of local government officials and or other individuals appointed by the local government. Although one local government may establish multiple CRA districts, there generally may be only one CRA Board. Each CRA must maintain separate trust funds and expend those funds only in that area.

Q: What is a Community Redevelopment Plan?
A:  The Community Redevelopment Agency is responsible for developing and implementing the Community Redevelopment Plan that addresses the specific needs of the targeted area. The plan includes the overall goals for redevelopment in the area, as well as identifying the types of projects planned for the area. The redevelopment plan can and is regularly updated to meet the changing needs within the Community Redevelopment Area; however, the boundaries of the area cannot be changed without starting the process from the beginning.

Q: How can I find out more about CRAs?
A: For further information, please contact Amber Hughes of the Florida Redevelopment Association at ahughes@flcities.com or call 813-777-4783.

* Most CRAs in Orange County are within municipalities the County has partnered with by delegating redevelopment authority to them for implementing redevelopment activities within their jurisdictions. The County contributes to 14 of the 15 CRAs.

** There are many CRAs and CRA projects within Orange County that are overseen by municipalities – e.g. Orlando, Ocoee, Maitland, Winter Garden, Winter Park, Eatonville, etc. The two official “Orange County CRAs” are the I-Drive and OBT CRAs. The other 12 CRAs were developed through the statutory process that allows County’s to delegate their redevelopment authority to cities/municipalities.

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