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a development, not the least of which include NIMBY (not in my Preparation for successful freight backyard) concerns. However, such opposition is less likely to develop facility development begins traction if the community has already established a transparent with an understanding on the process and a sense of trust, during which the public has become part of the community and local aware of the benefits and tradeoffs of freight facility development. government of community vision and goals, and the logical steps Companies view a community's or region's willingness to provide that need to be taken to move a clear path through the public review, permitting, and regulatory the community in that direction. processes as an amenity or incentive. By providing the company with While clearly not all communities a reliable and transparent picture of what obligations the company have written visions, even an needs to meet, which permits it needs to obtain, and a clear time unwritten vision makes itself clear frame for when these hurdles may be met, the company can more in the ways that the community clearly define when the facility will be able to enter the supply chain plans, or fails to do so, for its own and generate returns on investment. development. Laying the groundwork Laying the groundwork for industrial and/or freight facility development may consist of any or all of the following: ;; Prior development of community vision, goals, and comprehensive plan. ;; Education and inclusion of community stakeholders. ;; Initial third-party feasibility study on the appropriateness of the community for a freight facility. ;; Amenable transportation network. ;; Clearly defined economic development strategy. ;; Clear and consistent zoning regulations and permitting requirements. ;; Public utility capacity. ;; Identification of private sector developers with interest and capability to construct freight facilities and infrastructure. ;; An amenable tax environment. ;; Public sector incentives. Freight Facility Location Selection: A Guide for Public Officials 19
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A comprehensive plan... can be Preparation for successful freight facility development begins with an an indication that the community understanding on the part of the community and local government has taken responsible charge of community vision and goals and the logical steps that need to be of its own direction... A good taken to move the community toward that development. A vision is comprehensive plan will not just words on paper, but clear understanding, developed in a also have been developed collaborative process, of how the community sees itself in the future. collaboratively so that a broad This can relate to all types of characteristics, including quality of life, range of stakeholders will have economic viability, sustainability, and infrastructure. While clearly not had meaningful input to the all communities have written visions, even an unwritten (or no) vision process. makes itself clear in the ways that the community plans, or fails to do so, for its own development. A comprehensive plan, whether at the local, regional, or state level, can be an indication that the community has taken responsible charge of its own direction. Clearly, there are good comprehensive plans and not-so-good comprehensive plans. If well prepared, a comprehensive plan will define community goals for development, as well as the specific transportation, land use, and open space requirements and projects to bring about its goals. A good comprehensive plan will Case Study Land use regulation is a useful tool to guide freight facility development. Virginia Inland Port, located in Front Royal, VA (approximately 70 miles west of Washington, D.C.), began operations in 1989 and is generally recognized as America's first successful inland port. The port can also serve as a "lesson learned" opportunity, as current knowledge would suggest that if the port were to be developed today, the layout would be different to allow more strategic development of parcels. Also, land requirements might be expanded to 1,000 acres with greater emphasis on smart growth for supporting freight facilities. Strategic smart growth would entail planning to incorporate zoning and land use for supporting facilities [third-party logistics (3PL), distribution centers], and would buffer residential development from freight activity. Since Virginia Inland Port's actual development was sporadic, contiguous development didn't allow for efficient development of the growth and operations existing today. For example, a golf course development across from the facility hinders further industrial development and reflects the importance of planning considerations for future inland port developments. 20 Freight Facility Location Selection: A Guide for Public Officials
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also have been developed collaboratively so that a broad range of stakeholders will have had meaningful input to the process. When a community is actively seeking or speaking with a potential freight facility or industrial developer, the greatest opportunity for success will come from extensive collaboration and communication at that stage. Planners, local elected officials, economic development agencies, regulatory agencies, transportation planners, and others need to be brought into the process so that they can express their concerns and have those concerns addressed. The same goes for the general public, most specifically those living, working, or commuting in proximity to the proposed facility. In order for the comprehensive plan and vision to be implemented, a community must have sound land use regulations in place, including zoning regulations, building codes, transportation facility guidelines, and others. Those regulations impact how a company can implement its plans for a particular site and can also give some indication as to how compliance will impact the project development timeline. Knowledge that a community is already familiar with a facility type and has a process in place can be seen as a "location positive." For example, a community that already houses a bulk terminal will be familiar with the impacts that these might have upon the community and will have a clear process in place for permitting additional facilities using bulk freight. Other communities that do not have this experience might exhibit confusion and delay in responding to the company's permit applications if they do not have an understanding of a company's business needs. However, even a community without prior experience can ensure that it is well prepared for whatever type of development it desires. Fire codes, land use regulations, traffic regulations, zoning, and hours of operation regulations can all significantly impact the feasibility of a freight facility location. The interpretation of codes and regulations by officials such as fire marshals can have a decisive effect on the ability of a facility to function as planned. Ideally, a community positioning itself for freight uses will have developed land use, transportation, and zoning plans that explicitly permit and Freight Facility Location Selection: A Guide for Public Officials 21