CRAs are a specifically-focused financing tool for redevelopment. CRA Boards do not establish policy for the city or county - they develop and administer a master plan to implement redevelopment policies within a specified geographic area.
The State of Florida recognizes them as “special dependent districts” which are only in existence if the underlying local governments authorize them to exist.
Community Redevelopment Areas
Under Florida law (Chapter 163, Part III), local governments are able to designate areas as Community Redevelopment Areas when certain conditions exist. Since all the monies used in financing CRA activities are locally generated, CRAs are not overseen by the state, but redevelopment master plans must be consistent with local government comprehensive plans. Examples of conditions that can support the creation of a Community Redevelopment Area include, but are not limited to:
- Inadequate infrastructure
- Inadequate parking
- Insufficient roadways
- The presence of substandard or inadequate structures
- A shortage of affordable housing
To document that dilapidated conditions and insufficient infrastructure exist in a limited geographic area, the local government must survey the proposed redevelopment area and prepare a Finding of Necessity. If the Finding of Necessity determines that the required conditions exist, the local government may create a Community Redevelopment Area to provide the tools needed to foster and support redevelopment of the targeted area.
There are more than 178 Community Redevelopment Areas in the State of Florida. The designation is used by Florida cities of all sizes, from:
- Beachfront in Ft. Lauderdale
- Church Street in Orlando
- Ybor City in Tampa
West Melbourne-Brevard County Joint Community Redevelopment Agency
The CRA acts officially as a body distinct and separate from the governing body, even when it is the same group of people, as is the case with the West Melbourne-Brevard County Joint Community Redevelopment Agency. The CRA has certain powers that the city or county by itself may not do, such as establish tax increment financing, and leverage local public funds with private dollars to make redevelopment happen.
The CRA term is limited to 30 years per the County’s Delegation of Authority. After that time, all revenues (presumably much increased from the start of the CRA) are retained by both the County and City general millage taxing entities that contributed to the CRA trust fund.