Gov. Ivey signs Senate Bill 168 into law, expands ability of local CDAs

By DONALD MOTTERN | Staff Writer PELHAM – Pelham city officials were present alongside State Sen. April Weaver and State Rep. Kenneth Paschal on Tuesday, April 30, when Gov. Kay Ivey signed Senate Bill 168, an action that has restructured the guiding laws affecting commercial development authorities in Alabama.

The city of Pelham, and its commercial development authority (CDA) both described the signing as a “significant milestone” and cited SB 168 as making pivotal changes that now grant CDAs the ability to more easily encourage development and spur economic revitalization efforts in their respective communities.

SB 168 was sponsored by both Weaver and Paschal and was further supported by a number of individuals and organizations. The city of Pelham described its own CDA as having “led the charge” with its proactive approach toward the bill and surrounding discussion.

The bill, now law, amends the wording that governs CDAs within Section 11-54-171 of the Code of Alabama 1975 by revising the legal definition of what constitutes a “Project.”

The previous definition of “Project” excluded single commercial enterprises and therefore heavily limited a CDA’s ability to aid such businesses through their revitalization and economic redevelopment efforts. Those limitations have left some cities with reduced capabilities in addressing vacancy issues and rehabilitating underutilized properties.

Past law also prevented CDAs who had acquired vacant properties, such as closed restaurants, from then selling those properties to new single-owned businesses or for single-tenant use.

Cities like Pelham and its CDA have claimed that such restrictions have resulted in a stifled economy and a diminished economic potential overall.

Following the bill’s passage, the law is now expanded to include those single commercial enterprises and now allows retail, restaurants, professional offices and other ventures to become involved in CDA driven ventures that can aid in job creation, workforce development and financial investment.

“With the amended definition, Pelham’s CDA is now poised to pursue a broader range of projects that align with our community’s needs and aspirations,” said Tim German, vice chairman of Pelham’s CDA. “We are not just ready, but eager, to leverage this newfound flexibility to drive our economic development agenda forward and create a more prosperous future for Pelham.”

Following Ivey’s signing of the bill, the city of Pelham delivered an official thanks to the governor, as well as to Weaver and Paschal for their work in ensuring the bill’s passage.

“This amendment is a game-changer for Pelham and cities across Alabama,” said Michael Simon, Pelham’s economic development director. “It unlocks new opportunities to breathe life into vacant and dilapidated properties, fostering vibrant commercial spaces and stimulating economic vitality.”

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