Economic Development Update October 2013

The FIGS Have Spoken and the Board Approves

While many folks were basking in the cool air and waters outside Arizona this summer, many of our members were hard at work participating in the follow-up to the Chamber’s landmark Scottsdale Forward 2013 event, held in the spring of last year. One day symposia all too often result in a group attending, feeling charged up, and then heading out to conduct the rest of their lives largely unchanged by what they heard. Work and life get in the way unless there is planned activity to take the wonderful ideas and put them into actionable steps.

Such was the role of our Focus Initiative Groups, or FIGS, comprised of volunteers charged with the development of action steps building from the great energy of Scottsdale Forward. Four groups were formed, chaired by volunteers, and they met through the summer to set a new economic development agenda, rife with energy and a strong, positive sense of the future. They presented their ideas first to the Business Attraction Sub-Committee of EDAC who has coordinated the Scottsdale Forward program, then on to the Chamber’s Economic Development Advisory Council for their feedback, suggestions and prioritization and then on to the Chamber’s Board of Directors who formally adopted the results and approved the priorities recommended from EDAC.The results were impressive, including:

Supporting Local Business in Scottsdale

Chaired by Councilperson Suzanne Klapp, Owner of Fast Frame and Member of Scottsdale City Council

  • Recommendation 1: Identify and execute opportunities to partner with Local First Arizona
  • Recommendation 2: Work with the City’s Communication Department to enhance and develop programming regarding local business
  • Recommendation 3: Encourage Chamber members to support one another through increased business to business relationships; and ways to explore purchasing locally

Making Scottsdale a Center for Entrepreneurship

Chaired by Chris Cole, Realtor, Cole Team, Realty ONE Group

  • Recommendation 1: Encourage the City to expand and improve on existing ChooseScottsdale.com web site for new businesses
  • Recommendation 2: Develop a new business welcome program in collaboration with City of Scottsdale Economic Development department
  • Recommendation 3: Work with Tourism consultant and tourism strategic plan task force to help brand Scottsdale as a social hub and entrepreneur destination
  • Recommendation 4: Allocate City and Chamber resources and funding for a Choose Scottsdale initiative aimed at entrepreneurs in print, radio and social media

Reinvesting in Scottsdale – Redevelopment Issues

Chaired by David Gulino, Land Development Services, LLC

  • Recommendation 1: Chamber to lead effort to review and update city policies related to the use of Special Taxing Districts (as approved by the Legislature) to enhance financing of infrastructure and to ensure continued economic growth
  • Recommendation 2: Revise City Zoning Ordinance Section 1.706-Legal Protest Requirements to facilitate advanced notification of legal protest filings for zoning amendments
  • Recommendation 3: Revise and update the Planned Unit Development (PUD) District – Section 5.500 of the zoning code to allow heights greater than 48 feet, remove restrictions on parcel size eligibility and provide incentives for mixed-use projects
  • Recommendation 4: Create a reference manual to make available to interested parties information on fiber optics infrastructure, location, cost and performance.

Improving Access to and within Scottsdale

Chaired by Matt Wright, Landmark Aviation

  • Recommendation 1: Move forward with the Tier 2, High Capacity Transit Study to follow up on the Tier 1 HCT work previously completed and recommended within the City’s Transportation Master Plan, approved by the City Council in 2008
  • Recommendation 2:  Re-purpose the existing and unoccupied new car dealerships at the intersection of McDowell Road and 64th Street (Galvin Parkway) to create a Scottsdale Rental Car Center, with dedicated high-end shuttle service from Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport serving that center

The Board of Directors, like EDAC before it, found all recommendations worthy of exploration and implementation. As a result, the Board voted to accept the EDACrecommendation that the following six recommendations receive the highest priority as directives for staff and continued committee work:

  • McDowell Road/Galvin Parkway Gateway Visitor and Rental Car Center
  • Update policies on Special Taxing Districts
  • Work to establish local business to business relationships
  • Work with City to advocate for completing Tier 2 HCT study
  • Work with City’s ED office to enhance Choose Scottsdale web site
  • Revise zoning ordinance regarding legal protests

Congratulations and many thanks to Pete Klute, Pam Kelly and the sub-committee who worked so hard to bring this process forward — especially to our chairs and volunteers who showed that the power of great ideas often come as a result of caring people choosing to come together for the benefit of the business community.