The ongoing debate over the Enhanced Enterprise Zone in Columbia prompted a change today. The proposed blight zone for Columbia is now a little bit smaller. The Enhanced Enterprise Zone Advisory Board unanimously voted in favor of eliminating six portions of the original blight zone.
The former plan included designating nearly 60 percent of Columbia as a blight zone. That zone could then qualify as an Enhanced Enterprise Zone, where businesses would be eligible for tax abatements. Today, the board eliminated areas like those near Stephens College, Boone Hospital and East Campus, which are mostly residential. The plan is designed to promote growth and employment in Columbia, but Amir Ziv was an opponent at the meeting.
“They want a TIF area and now with this EEZ, and I don’t think we need it," said Ziv, "I think Columbia can hold its own to bring people here because it’s a great town.”
The EEZ board also made a unanimous recommendation to City Council that the council pass an ordinance restricting the use of eminent domain in blighted areas. Opponents have stressed concern about eminent domain, and board members say they hope this recommendation will calm some residents’ fears.