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Town of Groton Teams Up with CERC to Achieve Airport Zone Designation

Legislation providing a mechanism to create Airport Development Zones was adopted by the state in 2011 in order to spur economic development around Connecticut’s five general aviation airports. Groton-New London Airport is one of these general aviation locations and the Town of Groton requested CERC’s assistance to establish an Airport Development Zone (ADZ) around the area.

ADZ designation permits businesses constructing, acquiring, renovating or leasing facilities within the zone (two miles from the airport property line) to qualify for certain tax incentives if the property is used for miscellaneous airport-related uses or for manufacturing, manufacturing-related research and development, servicing or rebuilding industrial machinery and equipment, warehousing or distribution.

The ADZ incentives for newly constructed, renovated or expanded facilities are based on the property value of the improvement and equal an 80% of value property tax exemption for five years. Acquired property qualifies for the same exemption of 80% of the assessed value of the acquired property, for five years. In addition, if a business qualifies for one of these exemptions, it also qualifies for an 80% five-year tax exemption on the assessed value of the equipment or machinery it installs in the facility. Finally, businesses that qualify for these property tax exemptions also qualify for a 10-year business tax credit on the portion of their business operating in the new facility.

Beginning in the summer of 2016, CERC worked with the Town of Groton to prepare an ADZ application, including scope maps, descriptions and analyses of how the proposed ADZ fit within the economic development landscape of the region and the state. In addition, the application addressed how the expected benefits compared to the projected costs of the zone, under various build out scenarios. DECD assisted CERC and the Town by clarifying the geographic scope of the zone and the components to be projected. The application set forth how the proposed ADZ met all required conditions for approval.

In early 2017, the ADZ designation was granted. In the coming months, the Town of Groton plans to showcase the outstanding tax-advantaged economic development opportunities now available around Groton-New London Airport.

“Working with CERC on the Airport Development Zone application was truly a positive experience. They supported our effort from start to completion like an extension of our own staffing. When we initiate a project, our standards require fulfillment of project goals regardless of unexpected challenges.  Groton learned that CERC also measures itself through performance including carrying an effort across the finish line. It was our partnership with CERC that allowed the ADZ program to be fully developed and to ultimately gain state approval.”

Paige R. Bronk, AICP
Economic and Community Development Manager
Town of Groton

CERC and Town of Groton continue to seek ways to partner to increase local economic development activity.