EXECUTIVE SUMMARY





Discussion:  Economic Development Policy




General discussion regarding the County’s approach to economic and business development




Tucker, Foley




AGENDA DATE:                     

July 7, 2004


ACTION:                                  INFORMATION:   X 



     ACTION:                               INFORMATION:










On a number of occasions over the past several years, the Board has discussed the County’s role in economic and business development.  This has included consideration of membership in the Charlottesville Regional Chamber of Commerce and the Thomas Jefferson Partnership for Economic Development.  In addition, the Board also considered and adopted the Regional Economic Development Policy of the Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission (TJPDC) and adopted a resolution of intent to amend the Comprehensive Plan regarding the County’s Economic Development Policy.  As a result of this discussion, the Board recently requested that the topic of economic development be placed on the agenda for general discussion. 


The following information, as well as the attachments, is provided as background regarding the County’s current and proposed policies:


Albemarle County Economic Development Policy (Attachment 1):


Maintain a strong and sustainable economy:

-          benefiting County citizens and existing businesses and providing diversified economic opportunities

-          supportive of the County’s Growth Management Policy and consistent with the other Comprehensive Plan goals

-          taking into consideration regional economic development efforts


1.       Base economic development policy on planning efforts that support and enhance the strengths of the County

2.       Plan for land and infrastructure to accommodate future business and industrial growth

3.       Recognize the County’s place in the regional economy

4.       Consider fiscal impact as one indicator of positive economic development, along with environmental impact and standard of living impact

5.       Provide local business development opportunities

6.       Provide work force development opportunities


Regional Economic Development Policy of the Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission (TJPDC) (Attachment 2):

The stated goals of the regional plan are: (1) to create wealth within the region, (2) to increase the ability of local government to provide services for citizens, and (3) to make living in this region more affordable for its residents.  To achieve these goals, the plan makes the following recommendations and includes strategies to achieve them:

1.       Support Existing Businesses

2.       Preserve the Area’s Unique Characteristics

3.       Attract High Technology Business

4.       Support Profitable Agriculture

5.       Redevelop and Revitalize Existing Sites

6.       Attract Tourists

7.       Support Workforce Development for Jobs of the Future

8.       Develop/Strengthen Mechanisms for State of and Region Cooperation


Other Policy

In addition the above policies, the recently adopted Neighborhood Model contemplates the existence of vibrant downtown areas as an essential core component of successful urban areas.  Beyond the general language in the Neighborhood Model, the Crozet Master Plan recommends that the County take a more “proactive stance where local business development is encouraged and guided” and that the County “create small-business incentives within the Development Areas.  Finally, one of the five Master Plan Implementation Strategies adopted by the Board as a part of the Strategic Plan is to, “Promote community and business development activities and partnerships that support master plan initiatives within each development area”.




Goal 2.1:  Protect and/or preserve the County’s rural character.

Goal 2.2:  Protect and/or preserve the County’s natural resources.

Goal 3.3:  Develop and implement policies that address the County’s growth and urbanization while continuing to enhance the factors that contribute to the quality of life in the County. 




Because an update of the Economic Development Policy will begin this fall, staff believes discussion by the Board regarding emerging issues and current thinking on economic development would be helpful as the process of updating the policy moves forward.  In particular, general discussion in the following areas would be helpful:


Current Economic Development Policies

Several of the objectives contained in the two adopted economic development policies suggest that a more active approach is desired.  In particular, the current County policy states that the County will “provide local business development opportunities”.  The regional plan indicates that we will “attract high technology business”.  These objectives seem to contemplate a more active role than the County has previously taken but would complement the County’s support for agri-business, agriculture and silviculture.


Urban Development

Discussion of the County’s role in actively promoting business development in newly created “downtown” areas resulting from master planning and in other urban areas would be helpful.  While the primary objective of the County’s policies related to urban development is rural preservation and not the attraction of new jobs, creating economically viable downtown areas may require new approaches that include the attraction of business.  This approach would represent a new direction for the County, but may be necessary to support the objective of creating viable downtowns that ultimately protect rural areas from development.  Should the County take a more active role in attracting business to downtown areas?


Consideration of the Board’s broader policy objectives would be helpful in ultimately determining what specific strategies and actions are appropriate.  In addition, based on the Board’s broader policy discussion, staff will be better able to identify measurable outcomes (Attachment #3) that can be monitored to determine if the County is meeting its overall goal of “maintaining a strong and sustainable economy”. 




This item was scheduled for discussion by the Board on potential new approaches or strategies related to economic development.  Based on the Board previous action to adopt a resolution of intent to amend the Comprehensive Plan, this input will be provided to the Planning Commission for consideration in their review.


View Attachment 1

View Attachment 2

View Attachment 3

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