Harrison County now has its newest economic revitalization area. Companies investing in property around the Lanesville Interstate 64 interchange could receive tax abatements for starting or growing their business in the area.

The land was designated as an area for economic investment Monday night at the Harrison County Council meeting, following a public hearing.

Property owners in the area and any resident could speak in favor or against the decision.

Darrell Voelker, who is the executive director of the Harrison County Economic Development Corp. and a resident of Franklin Township, where the land is located, was the only speaker. He spoke in favor of the resolution to make the land an ERA.

Voelker said after the meeting the land is roughly 400 acres. The majority of the land is north of I-64, with the northern edge ending at the most northern part of George Hill Road and east to County Line Road plus the Areva pharmaceuticals property.

The land is all property the Harrison County Plan Commission has said it wants developed for business growth in the county, Voelker added.

The council voted 5-1-1 to declare the area an ERA. Councilwoman Jennie Capelle abstained from voting because she owns property in the area.

Councilman Gary Byrne voted against the decision.

"There may be some property owners who don't know this is taking place and may not want their property in this," Byrne said.

Council president Gary Davis said the council followed the requirements by the state.

Councilwoman Holli Castetter asked if the ERA would have any effect on a property owner's assessed value.

Voelker said the resolution does not typically change the value of a piece of property, but, when a business comes in with a new investment, property values can change.

"I don't object," Capelle said. "I support the resolution, and I think that, if anything, it increases the value if you were to potentially sell it to someone."

The county declaration of the economic revitalization area gives property owners the chance to request tax abatements on any new business investment or equipment. An abatement is a reduction of taxes on a property to incentivize a business to expand.

The new ERA is limited to businesses in the fields of manufacturing, distribution and research. Retail, residential and agricultural properties are not eligible.

Voelker said his office will return to the council to ask for a tax abatement for J.C. Moag Co. The glass fabrication company purchased seven acres of land from the HCEDC earlier this year with the plan of constructing a 50,000-square-foot operation building.