When Orange County created its Economic Development Districts in the early 1990’s, the purpose was to designate non-residential zones that would serve “for the next fifty years.” The districts were created along interstate highways to benefit from obvious transportation advantages. Orange County, with its support for quality education and environmental awareness, provides a great place for employers and employees to live and work. However, nearly twenty years later, virtually no activity has occurred in the Economic Development Districts.

Therefore, the Board of Commissioners has recently begun to modify policies to better support business growth – both new and existing – in the county. We have adopted a Unified Development Ordinance (UDO) and are in the process of amending regulations to make Orange County more competitive. We’ve revised Land Use designations. We’ve zoned property for business use and we’ve provided incentives to support expansion of an existing business.

The primary reason for the lack of activity, however, has been the lack of necessary infrastructure – water and sewer – that companies require for any site to make the first cut as a viable location. Investment now in water and sewer lines in the Economic Development Districts will make us competitive in the global business market, and will pay dividends in new taxable property, new sales tax revenue, and most importantly, in new opportunities to work and shop in Orange County.

We have the will, and with the approval by the voters of the ¼-cent local sales tax, we will have the means. Please come out to vote on November 8, and please vote “FOR” the ¼-cent tax.

Steve F. Yuhasz
Vice-Chair, Orange County Board of Commissioners