Commercial Development Strategy
The Council Committee on Economic Sustainability has been working for over a year to draft a Commercial Development Strategy to use in place of the (2008) Economic Development Strategy. We have established some core framework components and a draft work plan. Since the beginning of this process we have looked at a lot of past studies, hosted conversations with elected officials and looked to other communities to better understand how to move our community’s economic vitality forward. We have established our vision of “Taking our place on the map as a world class center for research and development.”
Our missions is to “Support opportunities to put Chapel Hill’s people to work, and create economic prosperity for all, now and in the future" and our target is for “Output of Medical School, Pharmacy School (and research), Applied Sciences and Technology” for businesses that we might work to attract.
The Council Committee also has worked on a few goals to work on in the last six months and significant progress is being made. The first goal, “Consider joint Incentive Policy with Orange County” has seen progress made as staff from the Town and County developed a framework that was shared with both elected boards on June 2nd. The Managers were authorized to proceed with the next level of policy development for this Joint Policy.
The second goal, “Consider rezoning Milhouse Road area for light-industrial/research companies” has been advanced as we have created a draft ordinance presented to the Committee and this zoning type will be coming back to Council for authorization in the coming months. We will enact the zoning and decide where to use it in the short-term future. There are several additional areas that this may be appropriately used and considered in the future.
Other goals that are being discussed and advanced include “Identify co-working and Stage II space for companies” and we have budgeted jointly with Orange County and UNC to fund a Launch expansion, the goal “Parking availability and use in downtown” became an important issue as we looked at the possibility of the redevelopment of the parking lot at 415 West Franklin and we are now looking at options for adding parking.
As a component of the Council’s budget conversation the goal of “Consider other incentives (loans or grants) from the Town to encourage business recruitment, retention and expansion” came up and money set aside to move this forward. as we have created a draft ordinance presented to the Committee and this zoning type will be coming back to Council for authorization in the coming months. We will enact the zoning and decide where to use it in the short-term future. There are several additional areas that this may be appropriately used and consider in the future.
Good things are happening to provide for a stronger economic future for our community and we believe there is much more to come as we journey down this path.