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Thread: New code needs economic impact analysis

  1. #1

    New code needs economic impact analysis

    Y'all gave me some great information on my Agenda 21 question! I hope y'all can keep it coming!

    My county is has submitted a draft Unified Development Code for public review. A number of opponents are pushing for us to hire a consultant to do an economic impact analysis of the new regulations that are included. The results of this study would show the expected costs for the developer, as well as the benefits to the community.

    Have any of you done such an analysis? What are your suggestions on how to proceed? Can you provide me with links to similar studies?

    Thanks for all your help!

  2. #2
    Cyburbian
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    I've worked with economic impact analysis -- either by that name or the many others --, for decades and have found it to be highly subjective and a classic case of if you crunch the numbers long enough in the direction you want to they will tell you wanted to hear in the first place. Economic impact analysis has been and is still voodoo science at best.

    I can guarantee you that if the developers want you to do an economic impact analysis on your code that it will come out saying what they want it to. You would be much better served by sitting down with the opponents, listening carefully to their concerns and trying to hammer out an alternative that is mutual beneficial.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian ColoGI's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by smccutchan1 View post
    I've worked with economic impact analysis -- either by that name or the many others --, for decades and have found it to be highly subjective and a classic case of if you crunch the numbers long enough in the direction you want to they will tell you wanted to hear in the first place. Economic impact analysis has been and is still voodoo science at best.

    I can guarantee you that if the developers want you to do an economic impact analysis on your code that it will come out saying what they want it to. You would be much better served by sitting down with the opponents, listening carefully to their concerns and trying to hammer out an alternative that is mutual beneficial.
    I fully, completely agree, save for the sitting down with the opponents part.

    I suspect these ideologues...erm...good patriotic folk don't know much about much, and the energy expenditure will be prohibitive to get them up to speed. Just a thought.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian transguy's avatar
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    I think I remember seeing a story a few years back that a town in Alaska had done a similar study. I'm thinking maybe it was Anchorage. Maybe someone from Alaska will chime in or it might be worth it to try and contact someone there. If I remember correctly (and that is certainly not a given), the study helped to support the changes and get them passed. Again, my recollection of the details could be off.

    Okay, found a link. Maybe this will help as a starting point.
    http://www.muni.org/Departments/OCPD...itle21EIA.aspx

    Again, I haven't gone through this information, so I'm not sure about the results or similarities of what you're looking to do.
    Much work remains to be done before we can announce our total failure to make any progress.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian Tarf's avatar
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    Not sure if it's helpful, but the County of San Diego recently did some sort of an economic analysis to determine the impact of designating rural areas for rural uses (rather than more intense uses). They did the study in response to land owners complaining about reduced property values, and they used the study to demonstrate that in most cases there was no major impact on property values.

    I don't have a link, but you can probably find information about it on the County of San Diego's General Plan Update page.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian Tobinn's avatar
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    In my limited experience with economic studies (very limited) and demographic studies (less limited - related as it's still number crunching) it seems to me that the basic route in these endeavors is to gather the data, crunch the numbers, present the findings to whoever wants the numbers in the first place who then tells you what answers they really wanted in the first place and then you go back and recrunch the numbers working backwards from the desired answers. Then everyone is happy - the math works, the answers work. After about a year, the whole thing is scrapped as no one can remember how we got from here to there besides the fact that there are so many objections and exceptions granted that the whole thing becomes moot.

    On the bright side - it is highly unlikely that, regardless of what you do to create these economic studies or what you do with them, nations will crumble, riots will ensue, people will die horrible deaths and zombies will walk the earth looking for braaaaaaiiiiinnnnnnnsssss.
    At times like this, you have to ask yourself, "WWJDD?"
    (What Would Jimmy Durante Do?)

  7. #7
    Cyburbian ColoGI's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Tobinn View post
    Then everyone is happy - the math works, the answers work. After about a year, the whole thing is scrapped as no one can remember how we got from here to there besides the fact that there are so many objections and exceptions granted that the whole thing becomes moot.
    .
    Exactly. Simply hire a firm that will write what you want and call it good.

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