This week we had the privilege of having Kathy Reaume, St Clair County Airport Director, join us for our monthly Economic Development Committee meeting. Kathy was able to provide us with an update of not only what was happening at the airport but also with the Air Industrial Park.
Air Industrial Park
The Air Industrial Park has three types of properties within the park: Leased Parcels, Restrict Air Related Parcels, and For Sale Parcels. Only one existing building in the Air Industrial Park has no active business.
Kathy provided the committee with three maps. The first is a map of the lease parcels. These parcels are currently being leased at $0.11 per square foot. The complication for developers is getting construction funding for leased parcels. Bank, generally, are not financing projects placed on leased lands.
Federal Land Release Aviation properties are restricted on what can be placed on the parcels. Generally they must be aviation related businesses. There is an active taxi way for these parcels. Currently there are 10 parcels in this section of the air industrial park. Four parcels have businesses on the them. There are potential purchasers for two additional parcels, and one existing business researching the possibility of expanding. The parcels can be seen in the map below in blue.
The final section is Federal Land Release Property that has been given approval by the FAA for non-aviation. These properties are available for sale. There are 25 parcels in the section below in yellow. Currently only one of these one acre parcel is occupied. There county has begun to actively market these parcels.
There are height limitations in the park because of the incoming aircraft. Those restrictions become less restrictive with parcels to the east, but only by a couple of additional feet in height.
The airport has also seen increased traffic in the airport, including larger flights. The hanger originally used to house Emergency Management Equipment is now able to house aircraft, as the EM equipment has been relocated.
Downtown Development Authority
We discussed the area of a proposed Downtown Development Authority. It would include the Wadhams and Lapeer intersection area and Lapeer Road to the east all the way to Range. The DDA would capture the increased tax dollars that would go outside of the area without the DDA in place.
If property values were to increase 2% per year for the next 10 years, the DDA would capture over $100,000 in taxes that would have gone outside of the area. That money could then be used for improvements in the area that potentially could include sidewalks, lighting, facade improvements, etc. The table below shows the impact if the Township were to support the DDA with a $2,000 yearly contribution.
New development in the area would have a big impact as well. The next table shows two $250,000 investments in the area. The difference between the effects with and without the investment is nearly $30,000 in additional revenue.
Next steps for the DDA would be Planning Commission support and business community support from businesses in the area. Business support is critical as a board would be created to make determinations=s and recommendations on use of the tax dollars captured. The board would be made up primarily of the business community in the area.
Development in Kimball Township is regulated by the Master Plan and Ordinance 142 also known as the Zoning Ordinance. Since the ordinance is written in standard ordinance format it can be difficult to read. To simplify the process of development a guidebook is being created. The guidebook will be created using all the regulations of the ordinance but will simplify it for both developers and those in the office that may need to answer questions.
The goal would be to get developers better direction. It would reduce the number of times they need to coming to the planning commission and reduce the additional efforts of the commission who periodically see developers multiple times. Discussion was held at our meeting regarding pre-application reviews. This is offered currently, and we should do more to promote this facet of the procedure. The quicker we can get people through the process, the more likely they are to share good comments about Kimball Township and also the more likely they are to embark on additional development project.
Sidewalks Along Lapeer
Supervisor Usakowski has been some discussion with SEMCOG about possible grant dollars for adding sidewalks on Lapeer Road between Wadhams and Allen. Currently each business stands on its own without any inter-connectivity. Visitors to the KOA, have no ability to stroll the area on foot. Adding some infrastructure would enhance the area, and improve business for all those along this area.
One item discussed with SEMCOG was the Safe Routes to School program. Although, Landmark Academy serves near the area, the Safe Routes to Schools program may not be the correct fit. However, SEMCOG administers another transportation related program call Transportation Alternatives Program. We will be following up with SEMCOG to discuss this program and the application process.