Sunday, January 7, 2007

Mayor vs Developers?

In the January 4, 2007 edition of ThisWeek - Hilliard is an article titled "Mayor's focus is 'managed growth'". Mayor Don Schonhardt reported that the City of Hilliard saw 70% of new development in 2006 coming from commercial property, and 30% from residential. The Mayor claims that this is the result of his explicit management of development policy, and that he intends to manage to this weighting going forward.

We'll see. I hope so. We need this kind of development split to keep our schools affordable.

He and Development Director David Meeks have done a good job recruiting new business into Hilliard. We've taken some hits over the past years, and needed to replace those losses. Dana Corporation shut down its manufacturing operating on Cemetery Rd, Gates-McDonald moved its operation from Mill Run to downtown Columbus, and CompuServe suffered through the death of Worldcom. The new developments of the past few years will hopefully replace those, and then some.

What I'm not so sure of is whether the 30% residential component of this growth was limited more by the Mayor's actions, or by the collapse of housing demand. Two of the local powerhouse homebuilders, M/I Homes and Dominion, reporting significant downturns in 2006. It would be easy to capitalize on this situation by taking credit for the outcome. One is tempted to ask what the Mayor's position would have been had housing demand stayed red hot. I suspect there would be houses on the Grener property already, for example.

To some extent, it is less important whether or not this 70% commercial vs 30% residential development split was deliberate than it is whether the Mayor will indeed manage to these numbers going forward. All we can do is watch the percentages, and see if they keep coming out 70/30.

But we have to watch!

No comments:

Post a Comment