In the current economic climate, the rate of home sales still lower than they have been in years and construction slowing in both residential and commercial construction, localities are trying to find ways to encourage developers to their city or county in areas that have experienced a slow down in their development. Let’s be honest, growth equals a tax base and dollars to cities, towns and counties.
One approach has been to introduce a Development Facilitator or Business Liaison to bridge the gap between planning and economic development and to help guide developers through all phases of construction. This person in some cases works out of the plan review office for commercial construction and residential subdivisions and works with the developer and applicants prior to their formal site plan submission all the way to grand opening. This person also helps the developer and applicant to understand and move through the approval process smoothly and providing assistance to overcome any hurdles along the way.
Another locality is suspending some of their fees at this time to help entice developers and make it easier financially for builders to continue to build in their locality.
A third option is instituting a “fast track” or priority review process for projects that meet the criteria; which may include a preliminary meeting and review.
It takes time, but the new processes seems to be working as more developers and applicants become aware of these new services available to them.
These and many other options are an investment by the locality in their own future and will be well worth the investment over time.
Milisa Story, MPA