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Break Down Obstacles For Developers Who Eye Rockland County As A Viable Location For Their Projects
By Paul Adler, Esq.
Every community in the Hudson Valley worth its salt is in fierce competition to attract new businesses, corporate expansions, retentions and relocations because of the jobs and the tax revenues that come with them.
In my opinion any town or village that gets significant commercial sites “shovel ready” will be heads and shoulders above those that are content to grind development to a halt by a slow of death of studies, reports, meetings, hearings, findings coupled with arbitrary dicta that makes smart growth and development nearly impossible. Municipal NIMBYISM!
Corporate America will not come to towns and villages that make it difficult to develop and invest in the area. The NYS-based property tax system is crushing residential taxpayers making it impossible for young families to start here, and for senior families on fixed incomes to stay here.
Without a viable and sustainable commercial tax base, the combination of municipal salaries, pensions, government waste, duplication of services and a largely residential homestead tax base, the future is bleak for growth and viability.
Let’s discuss the concept of shovel ready. Shovel ready sites are ready for development. All the zoning, planning, title work, surveys, soil and environmental studies and public infrastructure engineering completed and transportation access before the site is offered for sale. Clearly, not every eventuality can be foreseen; but the whole idea of everything else being studied and approved allows for quick work to deliberate those planning points not covered under shovel ready.
The idea that a municipality is making it easier for commercial development interested in locating in your community is the real economic development incentive, not corporate tax breaks.
Think about a well thought out shovel ready development vetted by the town or village you live in that can promise a quick entitlement process versus having to subsidize the developer with onerous property tax breaks that break the backs of our school children.
The concept of payments in lieu of taxes, also known as PILOTS, could be revisited and downwardly adjusted. Instead of having the zoning and planning process take years in many cases and make it difficult to proceed forward, a pre-vetted shovel ready site could be approved, built, employing folks, and paying commercial real property taxes instead.
Businesses appreciate the transparency in these site selections, letting them move quickly through the development and construction phases to get their businesses established and productive quickly. Cost is always a major factor, and shovel ready sites reduce up-front development investments, making these sites especially attractive.
Owners and communities are embracing shovel ready certification because it helps differentiate them in a crowded marketplace. Completing the up-front assessments and regulatory requirements positions them as progressive and ready for business, just what potential buyers are looking for.
Communities need to be well positioned for smart growth. Not all sites are created equal, not all communities are created equal in the development world. Shovel ready planning equals opportunity; it helps to level the playing field.
When time is money, the ability to fast-track projects is critical. Let’s set the course for the next generation of development in our county and become an engine of economic growth by forward planning and community commitment.
Paul Adler is Chief Strategy Officer of Rand Commercial. firstname.lastname@example.org