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County, EDC plan database of land with commercial potential

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By Ramsey Scott

The county and the Jeffco Economic Development Corp. are close to completing an agreement to develop a database of potential commercial property. 

As part of the agreement, the county will help create an inventory of commercial properties of more than 10 acres, along with land identified in community plans for potential commercial rezoning. The database would then be used by a real-estate advisory committee in the EDC to help pair businesses looking to expand with potential locations. 

EDC president Kevin McCasky said the database, part of the EDC’s Forward Jeffco project, would be a key tool in promoting the county as a place for businesses to expand. 

“It’s a one-stop shop where all of this information and all of these layers of data can be housed within the economic development group,” McCasky said during a March 11 briefing of the county commissioners. “Folks can come for that point, all across county line, irrespective of jurisdiction, and do an analysis and find opportunity for job-creating properties in the county.”

Along with a database, the county will designate an employee to act as a “one-stop liaison” for developers. The staff member would work with the EDC and potential developers on projects in unincorporated Jeffco. 

“Then, once we get to that stage, we can work to put more of these properties into our marketing tools and have more options and opportunities for businesses that want to come and locate in Jefferson County,” McCasky said. 

County Administrator Ralph Schell said the information needed for the database is already in the county’s possession. 

The plan still has to be approved by the commissioners during a public hearing. 

The current plan is a scaled-back version of a proposal the EDC made in late January. In that version, the county would have provided information on what it would take to get a property ready for development in unincorporated areas as well as municipalities.

Schell at the time said it might be asking too much of a county employee to know the ins and outs of municipalities’ planning and zoning regulations. 

Last year the EDC unsuccessfully proposed that a county worker become a shared employee to act as a liaison between private businesses and Jeffco. The employee would have been trained by the EDC and worked at the EDC’s and the county’s offices while receiving full pay and benefits from Jeffco.

The county is funding the EDC at a level of $300,000 this year.

 

Contact Ramsey Scott at ramsey@evergreenco.com or 303-933-2233, ext. 22, and follow him on Twitter @RamseyColumbine. Check back at www.columbinecourier.com for updates.