Webinar to explore link between comprehensive planning, economic development

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- How can you make your comprehensive plan better support economic development? That will be the topic of a Web-based seminar kicking off a summer-fall land-use series offered by Penn State Extension.

Presenting the 75-minute webinar, which will take place at noon July 23, will be Todd Poole, with 4Ward Planning.

Municipal and county land-use regulations, plans and policies must accommodate the various needs of people, households and businesses, according to Poole. However, many comprehensive planning efforts, while well-intentioned, often provide cursory treatment to the interests of current and prospective business investment – development, expansion, transportation accessibility and supportive workforce housing policies.

"The consequence of not adequately addressing current and future needs of your community's industries is unrealized jobs and tax revenues -- an opportunity cost," he said.

"Consequently, it is vitally important for land-use policy professionals -- certified planners and planning and zoning board members -- to recognize not only the importance of integrating a sound economic development plan or strategy within the broader comprehensive planning framework, but relevant trends influencing how businesses and industry will utilize land and buildings into the future."

This webinar will provide a general understanding of macro level socio-economic and related business and industry trends likely to influence economic development plans and associated land-use policies over the next 20 years, Poole noted.

"For example, current zoning -- which heretofore has accommodated large-scale office parks -- will need to be re-visited, in light of the influence technology and corporate office culture has had, making the need for large office footprints unnecessary."

Webinars offered in the monthly land-use series, which all start at noon and are recorded for future viewing, include the following:

-- Aug. 20: "Designing Entrepreneur-friendly Communities"

-- Sept.17: How Can Planners Work to Enhance Community Food Systems?

-- Oct. 15: Planning for Healthy Communities: Making the Healthy Choice the Easy Choice 

-- Nov. 19: 2014 Engaging Your Community’s Generations in Planning

The cost of the webinar series is $30 for all five webinars and $60 for all five webinars for those who want to receive certification maintenance credits from the American Planning Association.

For more information, contact Peter Wulfhorst at 570-296-3400 or by email at jptw3@psu.edu, or visit the website to register for the webinars.

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Last Updated July 14, 2014