City Council approves shrunken enterprise zone

The Baltimore City Council on Monday approved a new map for the city's enterprise zone that significantly realigns and diminishes its footprint, from 22,000 acres to 14,000 acres.

The zone is designed to support investment in and improvement of impoverished sections by offering tax breaks to businesses in the areas.

The state reimburses the city for half the lost tax revenue.

The new map, created by the Baltimore Development Corp., eliminated residential areas but also cut out some business zones that have seen a change in fortune over the last decade, including Harbor East and Harbor Point.

The map's impact on businesses no longer in the enterprise zone will depend in part on rules governing a transition period. However, many companies are concerned, Councilman Carl Stokes said.

The changes to the map present "some very strong challenges financially" for businesses in areas removed from the zone, Stokes said.

The resolution to support the BDC's map was approved unanimously by the council. Councilman Robert Curran passed on voting.

Stokes said the council's approval of the BDC's map was needed for the state to approve the renewal of the zone, but he complained that the BDC did not give the council enough time to thoroughly review the map and suggest amendments.

The BDC submitted its application and revised map to the state last month, Stokes said, just days after providing the council with the map.