The political subdivisions that I work with succumbed many years ago to the "zone it, and they will come" school of economic development. They believed if they provided acres and acres --- really, square miles and square miles -- of commercial zoned land, property values would skyrocket, and commercial development would come knocking at their door. It was a failed policy. With no demand for commercial development, the only result was depressed real estate prices, and what little development that took place was scattered low-end commercial uses such as mini-storage, used car lots, and other marginal businesses that could eke out an existence compared to other places where plans were stronger and better championed, commercial zoned parcels were scarcer, and land prices were higher.
Today those same communities are being enticed by the belief "sewer it, and they will come", thinking that providing sewer service everywhere will draw higher-end businesses. I'm trying to convince them that this may be another failed policy. First, it's inside-out planning; a comp plan should identify the best areas for development areas, and priority given to sewer extension in those areas, rather than rumored or "napkin drawing over lunch" plans of sewer extensions dictating the direction of the plan. Secondly, without the rooftops and demand, commercial land values will remain depressed, and the demand for higher-end uses will remain low; the result will probably be more of the same
I'm looking for case studies, plans, or examples that show "sewer it, and they will come" isn't a sure-fire economic development solution; that sewer won't necessarily guarantee higher-end development where the demand isn't there.