"Planning is bringing the future into the present so that you can do something about it now."
- Alan Lakein, writer
As with the Planning Commission's resolution last week to streamline the planning process to boost economic opportunities, decisions made today continue to impact on our quality of life now and for future generations. In this, the last 2011 issue of The Weekly Planner, we will close out the series on Planning to Reach Our Economic Potential with a look at the final of the Planning Commission's three recent economic development studies with the Economic Development Area Analysis. This report reviews various local and regional studies and analyses recently completed, including the Locational Assessment & Recommended Strategic Plan for Economic Growth by the Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corporation; A Regional Business Plan for Economic Development in the Tampa Bay Region from the Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council and the Tampa Bay Partnership; the Hillsborough County Economic Stimulus Task Force Report; and Battelle's Growing the Biosciences in Hillsborough County: Hillsborough County's Position and National Trends.
"...One does not plan and then try to make circumstances fit those plans. One tries to make plans fit the circumstances."
- General George Patton (1947)
The plan of attack, if you will, is to target industries with the strongest potential to positively impact and expedite our region's economic development opportunities. Boosting incentives temporarily in key locations with the planning, zoning, utilities, and roads already in place will encourage migration of high-paying career opportunities in five target industries:
Each of these target industries has varying size, infrastructure, technological needs and building types - office, lab, data center and light manufacturing, etc. Location and accessibility for employees, clients and goods movement are key factors when a business starts up or chooses to relocate. Where can we place these target industries to facilitate their opening for business in Hillsborough County? The report defined an optimal Economic Development Area (EDA) by carefully considering:
- Availability of buildings & sites
- Proximity to key institutions
- Clustering - the presence of similar uses
- Limited incompatible uses, such as heavy industry near residential
- Ease of access & commuting
- Supportive plans & regulations (Future Land Use & Zoning)
- Availability of urban services
- Absence of natural constraints
"For every use there is an ideal site.
For every site there is an ideal use." - John Ormsbee Simonds
The study suggests strategies to motivate target industries to do business in Hillsborough County by focusing on nine Economic Development Areas:
- Downtown Tampa
- University of South Florida
- I-75 / Fletcher
- I-4 / I-75
- I-75 / Crosstown / US 301
- Veteran's Highway / Anderson Road
- US 301 / Harney Road North
- US 301 / Harney Road South
"It is not the strongest of the species that survive, not the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change."
- Charles Darwin, scientist
So, how do we evolve and turn these EDAs into magnets for economic growth? As planners, we will assess the current conditions looking at each as a small planning area and see that future land uses are geared towards mixed uses to promote economic development. The two EDAs on US 301 / Harney Road may be viably considered for inclusion in the Urban Service Area. Appropriate incentives need to be developed, and the regulatory approval processes need to be accelerated. By consciously focusing our public realm improvements and capital investments in these areas, they can be used to our greatest advantage to draw in new business. We will continue to work with our local and regional planning partners on regional 'branding' and capacity building through a coordinated common vision.
"The real voyage of discovery and change does not consist in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes."
- Marcel Proust
The country continues to struggle with economic recovery, as do we here in our region. Now more than ever, it's imperative we look at ourselves through new eyes. Repackaging ourselves is a team effort that is beginning to pay off. It's time for our target industries to set their sights on our sites. The ability of our region to attract and retain diverse industries will be due to a perceived vision balancing careers and quality of life. Everything from streamlining our planning process and clearly 'branding' our vision to having desirable sites shovel-ready will speak volumes to our target industries that Hillsborough County is open and ready for business!
"Whatever we do with whatever we have, we leave behind us a legacy for those who follow."
- Stephen Covey