We’re on a roll! The recent award announcements by the California Chapters of the APA have given Strategic Economics cause for celebration. The Inland Empire Section gave a Best Practices award to the Economic Development and Land Use Strategy for College Heights in the City of Upland. Teaming with PlaceWorks (formerly The Planning Center/DC+E) and Fehr & Peers, Strategic Economics created an economic development strategy which moves beyond the realm of “business attraction, retention and expansion” to consider the City’s economic health from a variety of perspectives, including land use, fiscal sustainability, and quality of employment opportunities. The strategy includes a detailed inventory of implementation tools and policies tailored to reflect local workforce, economic conditions and building stock in the study area, and a summary of external resources available to local businesses, with a focus on tools for small business and the manufacturing industry.
In addition, the APA California-Northern Section gave an Award of Excellence in the Best Practices category to the 21 Elements/Grand Nexus Study. Strategic Economics and Vernazza Wolfe Associates, Inc. are preparing the “Grand Nexus Study,” a multi-jurisdictional affordable housing nexus and impact fee feasibility study. The Grand Nexus Study, which will be completed in December, is being conducted in conjunction with “21 Elements,” a collaborative project managed by the San Mateo County Department of Housing and Baird + Driskell Community Planning that aims to encourage and assist with the production and certification of high quality Housing Elements in San Mateo County. Project partners in 21 Elements and in the Grand Nexus Study include the California Department of Housing and Community Development, the San Mateo County Department of Public Health, Enterprise Community Partners, Inc., and all twenty-one jurisdictions in San Mateo County.
The Bergamot Area Plan was recognized by the Los Angeles Section of the APA California Chapter with the Outstanding Planning Achievement Award for a Small Jurisdiction for 2014. For this project, Strategic Economics, teaming with PlaceWorks, conducted a detailed market study and financial feasibility analysis to assist the City of Santa Monica and the consultant team identify land uses and building types that were both economically feasible and consistent with the goals of local business owners, residents and other stakeholders. Strategic Economics also worked with City staff to develop a funding and financing strategy to guide the implementation of the area plan.