Posted by on Mar 25, 2010 in Blog Article | No Comments

As the saying goes, you can catch more flies with honey than vinegar.  While the type and amount of commercial uses desired vary from community from community, the bottom line is the same: a community cannot thrive without businesses.   Residents enjoy having goods and services available nearby and municipalities benefit from the diversified tax base.  This list of questions can help staff, boards and individuals determine whether they are truly business-friendly. 

1.       Does your community have a clear vision? Does it specify the type, amount and location desired for commercial uses?

If not, it might be time to update your comprehensive plan.  The comprehensive plan is a road map for decision-making.  It accomplishes this by establishing a clear vision, developing guiding principles and identifying areas appropriate for certain types of land uses.

2.       Are your codes and regulations up to date and easy to understand?

If the answer is no, the time is right to review and revise your zoning ordinance and related regulatory documents.  In the recent real estate boom, many communities found themselves amending their ordinance to fast track desirable developments.  This piecemeal approach almost always has unintended consequences that can become difficult for enforcement and may even lead to lawsuits that would have been otherwise avoidable.

The current economic climate is an ideal time to take stock of the state of your community’s codes and regulations in order to ensure that they reflect current goals and objectives. 

3.       Does your sign code balance aesthetics with businesses’ need for identification?

The law clearly allows the regulation of signage by a municipality. 

4.       Is the approval process seen as fair and efficient?

Whether an applicant seeking development review, a business renewing a permit or an inquisitive neighbor, the approval process should be clear and easy to understand for all involved.  Th

5.       Does your community provide any incentives for business relocation or expansion?

Long term stability in the commercial sector requires both business attraction and business retention efforts.  Incentives for both range in scale and cost. 

6.       Do you have an active chamber or business association?

Municipalities don’t have to do it alone!  Your best partner is an active organization who can assist with or lead efforts to attract and retain businesses.

 

Successful business attraction and retention starts with a plan and ends with implementation (although it never really ends, does it?)

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