The Virginia Enterprise Zone program is a partnership between state and local government in which both parties strive to improve economic conditions within targeted areas. The program should complement other local, state and federal economic development activities to create an improved climate for private sector investment, development and expansion within the targeted areas. An enterprise zone is not intended to be a stand-alone program nor a single "intervention" instrument.
Although the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) administers the program, the local government determines the local economic development objectives, incentives, and management and marketing of the zone. The enterprise zone should offer a solid package of local incentives addressing the needs of residents, businesses and local government. Each zone locality must also submit an annual report of zone activity to DHCD.
Local incentives are a critical part of the success of an enterprise zone. It is important for each locality to determine the mix of incentives that will best assist them in overcoming the specific barriers to development within their zone, and that support targeted businesses. The quality, effectiveness, and utilization rather than the overall number of incentives is the best measure of successful local incentives.
For the purpose of program monitoring and evaluation, each locality with an enterprise zone is required to submit annual reports to DHCD by July 15 of each year. These reports include information on major announcements and projects within the local zone, local incentive utilization, job creation, public and private investment levels and up-to-date marketing materials. Beginning with the 2015 annual reports, localities must submit their annual report Form EZ-3-AR through the Centralized Application Management System. Hard-copy or emailed reports using templates from previous reporting periods will not be accepted.
In instances in which a local zone would like to modify the zone boundaries or local incentive package, the locality can submit an Enterprise Zone Amendment Application. These applications can be submitted once every 12 months from the date of the locality’s last zone amendment. Joint zones may amend their zones in one application or independently so long as each locality amends their portion of the zone only once every 12 months from the date of the locality’s last amendment.
Requirements for the amendment procedures are outlined in the Enterprise Zone Amendment Application Form.