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147th General Assembly
Senate Bill # 191

Primary Sponsor: Henry Additional Sponsor(s):    Sen. Bushweller & Sen. Marshall & Rep. Keeley & Rep. Bolden & Rep. Scott
CoSponsors: Sens. Blevins, Ennis, McDowell, Sokola, Townsend; Reps. Bennett, Potter, Ramone, Spiegelman, Paradee, D. Short, D.E. Williams, Wilson
Introduced on : 04/03/2014
Synopsis of Orginal Bill:
(without Amendments)
Healthy and vibrant downtowns are critical components of Delaware’s economic well-being and quality of life. The Downtown Development Districts Act is intended to leverage state resources to spur private investment in commercial business districts and surrounding neighborhoods; to improve the commercial vitality of our downtowns; and to increase the number of residents from all walks of life in downtowns and surrounding neighborhoods.
This Act establishes “Downtown Development Districts,” a small number of areas in our cities, towns, and unincorporated areas that will qualify for development incentives and other state benefits. Municipalities must apply for District designation. In the case of unincorporated areas, counties must apply. Applications will be evaluated by the Cabinet Committee on State Planning Issues, which will make recommendations to the Governor. Following the initial round of applications, the Governor must designate at least 1 but no more than 3 Districts. Designation of the first 3 Districts must include 1 District in each county. Under the Act, no more than 15 Districts may be designated at any one time.
As part of the application process, municipalities or counties must offer local incentives. The factors to be considered by the Committee when evaluating applications include, among others, (1) the municipality’s or unincorporated area’s need for District designation; (2) the quality of the District Plan; and (3) the quality of the local incentives offered. The Office of State Planning Coordination will prepare applications, establish criteria to determine what areas qualify as DDDs, and provide assistance to municipalities and counties during the application process.
Under the Act, investors (both non-profit and for-profit) who make qualified real estate improvements in a District would be entitled to receive Downtown Development District (DDD) Grants of up to 20 percent of their “hard costs” such as exterior, interior, and structural improvements. The incentive is modeled after a similar program in Virginia, which has been extremely successful in leveraging significant amounts of private capital in under-served areas. Investors would need to invest at least $25,000 in a building or facility to qualify, and the 20 percent incentive would only qualify with respect to investments above $25,000. For example, an investor making $45,000 worth of qualifying investments in a District would be entitled to a DDD Grant of up to $4,000 (i.e., 20% of $20,000). The Act gives DSHA the authority to cap the amount of Grants and to establish further conditions and limitations.
In addition, because Delaware’s Historic Preservation Tax Credit Program has proven to be a powerful tool both in preserving important historic structures and revitalizing neighborhoods, the Act also provides that 30% of the state’s yearly allocation of HPTCs will be reserved for projects in Downtown Development Districts. If by April 1 of each year any such credits are not allocated to projects in DDDs, such credits will be made available to any eligible project statewide.

Current Status: Signed   On   06/05/2014
Volume Chapter79:240
Date Governor acted:06/05/2014
Full text of Legislation:
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Full text of Legislation:
(in MS Word format)
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Fiscal Notes/Fee Impact:F/N (Complete)
Committee Reports:
Senate Committee report 04/30/14 F=0 M=6 U=0----->Committee Report
House Committee Report 05/14/14 F=7 M=1 U=0---->Committee Report
Voting Reports:
Senate vote: () Passed 5/7/2014 4:51:08 PM------->Voting Record
House vote: () Passed 5/15/2014 5:21:22 PM------->Voting Record
Fiscal Notes:
Actions History:
Jun 05, 2014 - Signed by Governor
May 15, 2014 - Passed by House of Representatives. Votes: Passed 39 YES 0 NO 0 NOT VOTING 2 ABSENT 0 VACANT
May 15, 2014 - Necessary rules are suspended in House
May 14, 2014 - Reported Out of Committee (HOUSING & COMMUNITY AFFAIRS) in House with 7 Favorable, 1 On Its Merits
May 08, 2014 - Introduced and Assigned to Housing & Community Affairs Committee in House
May 07, 2014 - Passed by Senate. Votes: Passed 21 YES 0 NO 0 NOT VOTING 0 ABSENT 0 VACANT
Apr 30, 2014 - Reported Out of Committee (COMMUNITY/COUNTY AFFAIRS) in Senate with 6 On Its Merits
Apr 03, 2014 - Assigned to Community/County Affairs Committee in Senate
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