Delaware County’s Economic Development Director Bob Lamb wants to make the county shovel-ready for developers.
“We’ve just launched a Site Preparedness Committee,” Lamb said. “This whole group’s goal is to go out to landowners and the development community to find land for commercial use.”
Lamb said the committee is made up of a mixture of partners including the county engineer, the Regional Sanitary Sewer District, the Delaware Area Chamber, Suburban Natural Gas Gas Company and others from the private sector.
Lamb said the committee’s goal to partner with landowners who are ready to sell and help them through the process of positioning land for development.
“We want to work with them to see what zoning they will need on the property,” he said. “Then work with the township to see if we can get the land rezoned.”
Lamb said by using this process the county doesn’t own the land or have to immediately pay for utility development.
“We think this a better approach than making big huge investments in land and trying to drive something afterwards,” he said. “Let’s work with the property owners and help them better position their land.”
Lamb said he thinks it is important to have buy-in from the private sector.
“We do think there is a lot to be said for the private sector having some skin in the game by having made some financial investment and owning the land,” he said. “We want to leverage that partnership.”
Lamb said to be competitive in today’s market the land needs to be ready to be developed. He said the committee looks at what incentives it might take to make a site competitive from the start for developers.
“We’ll look to put incentives into place so the developers know what the incentive package is upfront. What kind of utilities will be needed?”
Lamb said once the upfront work is done the committee can market it to potential commercial and industrial businesses that could have interest in Delaware County.
“The land we put through the process will go onto the Sites Ohio database of JobsOhio,” he said. “They’ll know the full package that individuals can get if they choose to make that investment here.”
Lamb said JobsOhio has a website for shovel-ready properties in Ohio and the committee is starting to submit properties to it.
“I think it’s going to really help us get out there and start making a bigger name and be more proactive in the business attraction side of things,” he said. “Our goal is not to just rely on that, but to go out and do our own marketing campaign as well.”
Lamb said the key is building partnerships not just with landowners, but also with the townships, villages and schools within the county. He said the county’s population will continue to grow which means demand for services is going to increase.
“The (Mid Ohio Regional Planning Commission) projections have us at 350,000 as early as 2035,” he said. “That’s why it’s so important that we’re making the infrastructure investments today.”
D. Anthony Botkin may be reached at 740-413-0902 or on Twitter @dabotkin.