Secret from 036: Utilizing Site Capacity Studies

This month, Rachel Ray, Economic Development Administrator for the City of Dublin, Ohio, shares with the audience about her work with Site Capacity Studies:

We realized it was really important for us to have a clear understanding of what the potential is for some of the infill development sites left in Dublin. Even though we’re a suburb, we’re reaching our build out point and in terms of having space for a new investment to occur, we really want to make sure that we’re making the best use of the land that we still do have available.

As you’re driving around, you’ll periodically see vacant pieces of land and typically there’s probably a reason for it being undeveloped at this point in time. Part of the purpose of the site capacity studies is to look at each of those pieces of property and dig into, well, what’s wrong with it? What’s the problem? Why hasn’t it been developed yet? We started that actually with a city owned land.

Looking at the city’s land itself and looking at where are utilities coming from, what are utility capacities, where is access going to come from all those typical kind of shovel ready site considerations that economic developers are very familiar with. But we also want to do expand that to properties not owned by the city of Dublin. Some of them are obviously privately owned and being marketed by developers, others are just sitting fallow for the foreseeable future. But really, this exercise has been helpful for us to, again, identify as many trouble areas as possible before a project is hot and ready to go.

It’s been helpful to kind of identify again, are there access easement issues that need to be nailed down before a project is ready to go? What stormwater factors need to be addressed? Is there floodplain? If there’s flood plain, is there still enough residual on the land to actually do something with it? I think through the process, the final deliverable is kind of almost a marketing visual that’s the city or even the property owner or a broker can use to help market that site. In fact, we were able to respond to a lead that came through our regional economic development organization last week with a site that looks like it has a lot of tree coverage. It’s got some flood plain, but we were able to demonstrate that no, there’s actually some pretty good developable space here despite all these challenges, if you can kind of have the vision to see what’s possible.

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