Editor's Note: The following is the text from the ECO2 Initiative.
ECO2 INITIATIVE TABLE OF CONTENTS
PREAMBLE PAGE 2
MISSION STATEMENT & ABIDING PRINCIPLES PAGE 3
ECO2 INDUSTRIAL/BUSINESS PARK PROGRAM PAGE 4
INDUSTRIAL/BUSINESS PARK PROGRAM GOALS PAGE 5
INDUSTRIAL/BUSINESS PARK PROGRAM CRITERIA PAGE 6
ECO2 OPEN SPACE PROGRAM PAGE 7
OPEN SPACE PROGRAM GOALS PAGE 8
OPEN SPACE PROGRAM CRITERIA PAGE 9
JOINT OPEN SPACE/INDUSTRIAL PARK PROJECT PAGE 10
ECO2 IMPLEMENTATION PLAN PAGE 11
ECO2 FINANCE PLAN PAGE 13
GLOSSARY PAGE 15
April 9, 2002
Brought together by the Chamber of Commerce in the spring of 2000, ECO2 is a diverse group of Douglas County citizens representing economic development, open space advocacy and local government concerns. After extensive study, ECO2 has come to the following conclusions:
Open space enhances quality of life and contributes to a sense of place, history, and community for Douglas County and the cities of Baldwin City, Eudora, Lawrence, and Lecompton.
An environment that offers outdoor recreation and a sense of space and place is an important location factor to more and more businesses.
Access to suitable land, infrastructure and facilities is a leading factor in the ability of Douglas County communities to attract new basic employers and facilitate basic business expansion and startups.
Industrial/business job creation is not currently keeping pace with the population growth
* The increasing Douglas County population requires accelerated job creation and business investment to guarantee the tax base necessary to maintain the level of services and opportunities that exist today for every citizen in the county.
* If we fail to provide a strong industrial/business tax base to absorb a significant amount of the financial burden, Douglas County citizens can expect even higher and higher taxes to support the level of services we now enjoy.
* Incentives are crucial to attracting, assisting, and retaining basic employers due to high local and
state property taxes, high land costs, high costs connected with building infrastructure, and
increasing costs of development and operation to maintain compliance with codes and
* The ECO2 initiative is intended to enhance and not replace any existing (or current) open space or industrial/business development programs.
ECO2 MISSION STATEMENT AND ABIDING PRINCIPLES
Recognizing that economic health and quality of life go hand in hand, the mission of ECO2 is to secure an equal amount of funding for the purpose of preservation, access, and management of open space and for land, facilities and other supports necessary to expand job opportunities in Douglas County.
The ECO2 initiative is built upon three abiding principles:
1. participation of landowners will be wholly voluntary; there will be no taking of private property;
2. to the extent possible and in order to maximally leverage available funds, this initiative will emphasize partnership with developers, land trusts, and other parties positioned to advance the joint goals of economic development and open space preservation; and
3. the dual goals of economic development and open space preservation are inextricably linked and shall not be broken apart and pursued separately with regard to the ECO2 initiative.
ECO2 was convened by the Chamber of Commerce in May 2000 to develop consensus on future economic development and open space land needs in Douglas County. The media and public have been welcome to attend and observe all general meetings since December of 2000. The information-gathering process has resulted in two significant products beyond this initiative: a Workforce/Skill Assessment Survey, and extensive countywide GIS mapping. Most importantly, however, has been the commitment of members of ECO2 to the process and the dialogue that has resulted.
Consistent with the ECO2 mission statement, the following proposal has been prepared by members of ECO2. It consists of four parts:
1. The Industrial/Business Park Program;
2. The Open Space Program;
3. The Implementation Plan; and
4. The Finance Plan.
ECO2 INDUSTRIAL/BUSINESS PARK PROGRAM
The ECO2 Industrial/Business Park Program recognizes that:
Lack of suitable land, infrastructure and facilities is a leading impediment to attracting new and expanding industry and a strong corporate headquarters presence to Douglas County.
Because market forces, in and of themselves, have not provided and are not likely to provide land, infrastructure and resources in sufficient quantities to support the County's growing economic needs, public-private economic development partnerships must be vigorously pursued.
Growth of the Douglas County population requires accelerated job creation and an investment in industry sufficient to guarantee a satisfactory level of employment opportunities for every Douglas County citizen.
To maintain the quality and level of services and opportunities currently available to citizens of Douglas County, the tax base must expand proportionate to our cost of public services.
The creation of additional basic jobs that originate goods and services to be exported outside Douglas County will generate new revenue that significantly contributes to the tax base.
INDUSTRIAL/BUSINESS PARK DEFINITION
For the purpose of the ECO2 project, Industrial and Business Parks shall be defined as land, infrastructure and facilities, to attract jobs in:
The Industrial/Business Park definition shall not include residential or retail development.
INDUSTRIAL/BUSINESS PARK PROGRAM GOALS
The Industrial/Business Park Program goals are to:
Provide additional land and sufficient infrastructure and facilities to create new jobs over the life of the project that keep pace with the growing population by facilitating basis industry/business expansions and startups and attracting new basic industry/business employers.
Develop the tax base necessary to maintain the level of services and opportunities that exist today for every citizen in the county.
Make available additional land and sufficient infrastructure and facilities to create new jobs over the life of the project to keep pace with the growing population.
Increase employment opportunities for professional and other white-collar occupations in order to capitalize on existing skills of the Douglas County workforce and to recapture a significant portion of outbound commuters.
Develop jobs in life sciences, information technology, aviation/aerospace, and production/distribution/assembly to provide employment opportunities for all residents of Douglas County.
Encourage the expansion of existing local businesses.
Support development of start-up ventures that arise from local Research & Development and entrepreneurs.
Attract outside businesses that would bring new property, facilities, and equipment onto Douglas County tax rolls.
Mechanisms and use of funds for achieving the program goals may include:
Procuring land or land options for future industrial and business park development
Creating public/private partnerships to develop business parks
Providing funds for construction of speculative buildings
Financing long-term holding costs or relocation costs
* Marketing efforts
INDUSTRIAL/BUSINESS PARK PROGRAM CRITERIA
A comprehensive, countywide Industrial/Business Park Program that is consistent with the vision of ECO2 and which will benefit the citizens of Baldwin City, Eudora, Lawrence, Lecompton and the unincorporated areas of Douglas County will be developed and adopted by the ECO2 Board, after public review and input.
To achieve the Industrial/Business Park Programs goals, ECO2 strongly recommends:
Using city and county GIS maps and individual city and county land use plans to identify and locate appropriate sites for business/industrial park use for each of the participating cities.
Locating business/industrial parks by transportation routes, rail access and be connected to public services.
Encouraging private development wherever possible.
Forming public-private partnerships when necessary to provide resources for infrastructure, speculative buildings, low interest rate loans, acquisition of property, and marketing.
Encouraging new industrial/business developments to locate their projects in such a way as to enhance, not compromise, the environmental assets of the County.
ECO2 OPEN SPACE PROGRAM
The ECO2 Open Space Program recognizes that open space enhances quality of life and contributes to a sense of place, history, and community, and the health and economic well being of all Douglas County residents, including those who reside in the cities of Baldwin City, Eudora, Lawrence, and Lecompton.
OPEN SPACE DEFINITION
Open space is that part of the countryside, which has not been developed and which is desirable for preservation in its natural state for ecological, historical, or recreational purposes, or in its cultivated state to preserve agricultural, forest, or urban greenbelt areas.
LANDOWNER PARTICIPATION WILL BE VOLUNTARY ONLY. No land will be secured without the willing consent of the landowner. Landowners willing to participate will have the option of selling, donating, or placing their land in a conservation easement program.
Examples of open space recommended for inclusion are:
Land suited for recreational hiking and biking trails along naturally occurring river and forested corridors that interconnect Lawrence, Lecompton, Eudora, and Baldwin
contiguous on existing levy trails along the Kansas River
connecting new and existing trails to Clinton Reservoir, Douglas County State Lake, and Lone Star Lake
Land which has remained substantially unchanged since 1800 including
adjacent to streams, rivers, and lakes
A limited amount of agricultural land containing the most exceptional and substantially productive soils of Douglas County
Vistas (unique, natural vistas such as Wells Overlook)
Significant historic sites (example: Black Jack Park)
Land adjacent to or integrated with trails, schools, residential areas, business parks, or areas of designated open space
Land containing rare or endangered plant and animal species
OPEN SPACE PROGRAM GOALS
The Open Space Program goals are to:
work cooperatively and in conjunction with growth and land use plans of Baldwin City, Eudora, Lecompton, Lawrence, and Douglas County
inform and educate the public on the benefits of open space
seek to secure and preserve acreage for undeveloped open space and through an organized, publicly supported Open Space Program
ensure availability of land countywide for recreational trails and for preservation of virgin prairie, exceptional agricultural land, significant historic sites, and incomparable vistas
Mechanisms and use of funds for achieving these goals are:
Using easements as a primary means of preserving open space. Purchasing easements from willing landowners offers the most benefit for each dollar invested as the land remains private property, stays on tax rolls, and reduces property management costs as the land continues to be maintained by the property owner.
Acquiring land in those instances where public ownership is warranted and the landowner is willing to sell.
Creating partnerships with, but not limited to, the Kansas Land Trust, City of Baldwin City, City of Eudora, City of Lawrence, City of Lecompton, Douglas County, area universities, the Kansas Department of Transportation, area utility companies, local school districts, neighboring counties, other governmental agencies, and private companies when land easements are appropriate.
Establishing partnerships for coordinating and maintaining land held by the Open Space Program.
OPEN SPACE PROGRAM CRITERIA
A comprehensive, countywide Open Space Plan that is consistent with the vision of ECO2 and which will benefit the citizens of Baldwin City, Eudora, Lawrence, Lecompton and the unincorporated areas of Douglas County will be developed and adopted by the Board, after public review and input.
The Open Space Plan will be developed in conjunction with land-use plans and regulations, Urban Growth Areas and individual city park plans. Scoring and ranking criteria used to prioritize potential land and easement purchases will be developed. Potential projects must rank high in the priority system in order to be considered for inclusion.
Criteria shall include, but is not limited to:
Voluntary landowner participation .
Land adjacent to or integrated with business and recreational parks, trails, schools, residential areas, or areas of designated open space.
Land containing rare or endangered plant and animal species.
Land with matching funds for inclusion in the Program.
Land with institutional support for management, maintenance, or other services.
Land providing greater recreational opportunities for the citizens of Baldwin City, Eudora, Lawrence, or Lecompton.
Willingness of local governments and other agencies to partner with ECO2 in funding for securing open space and developing infrastructure such as trail surfaces, parking lots, restroom facilities, etc.
Land identified within the Open Space Program that is threatened by development pressure.
A Joint Open Space-Industrial/Business Park Space Project: A Priority Project:
Collaboration between community members interested in economic development and those
interested in open space is one of our founding ECO2 principles. A unique opportunity exists to
have a priority project that provides open space benefits in conjunction with the development of
a new industrial/business park. Collaborative opportunities demonstrate that ECO2 will benefit both the local economy and ecology. Collaborative projects share the objective of wanting the industrial park space to provide amenities to the public beyond the jobs that will be created. Trails for hiking and biking can be established from the city to the new industrial/business park space. Also, adjoining or nearby open space can be incorporated directly or by trail into the industrial/business park design. Industrial/business park infrastructure, such as the drainage ways or utility corridors, may be useful for both developing infrastructure and providing recreation corridors. Significant savings can also result when the mutual objectives are shared. We intend to demonstrate to the public that both industrial/business park and open space needs will be addressed in Douglas County
ECO2 IMPLEMENTATION PLAN
ECO2 BOARD: To ensure consensus, the Board shall consist of eight (8) members who will ultimately be responsible for implementing the ECO2 goals of Industrial/Business Park Development and Open Space Preservation. Four of the Board positions represent economic development and four positions represent open space preservation. Three Board members will be drawn from economic development advocacy organizations, three Board members will be drawn from open space advocacy organizations and two Board members will be drawn from farm advocacy organizations. An affirmative vote of no less than six (6) of the eight (8) Board members will be required to approve project funding or take other Board related actions. ECO2 Board positions will be voluntary only, not paid.
ECO2 Board responsibilities will include:
Preparing, approving and implementing the annual operating budget.
Managing acquired funding and real assets in a manner that is consistent with the mission statement and community good.
Establishing strategies for Industrial/Business Park development and Open Space preservation and access, which are integrated and consistent with Horizon 2020 and other community planning processes.
Soliciting, receiving and considering outside proposals or develop internal proposals for Industrial/Business Park development and Open Space preservation in accordance with established strategies.
Developing by-laws and operating procedures as needed to successfully perform ECO2 Board duties.
Submitting an annual financial report and an update of the successes of ECO2 initiative to the Douglas County Commission and the participating governmental entities.
Hiring administrative staff.
Entering into contract agreements pursuant to the goals of ECO2.
Periodically reviewing the list of advocacy organizations.
Serving as members of the Open Space Committee or the Industrial/Business Park Committee.
Operating in compliance with the Kansas Open Meetings, Open Records and other applicable laws.
Initial Board members would be appointed for 2,3,4, and 5 years terms. Thereafter, each term will be for four years. No individual may serve more than two terms on the Board. After three years and due public input, if all participants of the Interlocal Agreement(s) determine the goals are not being met, the ECO2 Board will be disbanded and the sales tax rescinded.
INDUSTRIAL/BUSINESS PARK AND OPEN SPACE COMMITTEES: In order to complete the detailed elements of the work, two committees will be formed: an Industrial/Business Park Committee, and an Open Space Committee. Four ECO2 Board members representing economic development will serve on the Industrial/Business Park Committee and four ECO2 Board members representing Open Space Preservation will serve on the Open Space Committee; additional members may be added to either committee with a simple majority vote of the full ECO2 Board. Committees shall function on a majority rules basis.
Committee responsibilities shall be to:
Establish a strategy for Industrial/Business Park development and a strategy for Open Space preservation.
Ensure that these strategies compliment Horizon 2020, the Douglas County Economic Development Plan and other local planning efforts.
Recommend an annual budget that supports the strategies and work of the Committees.
Implement strategies approved by the Board.
Yet to be determined
ROLE OF INTERLOCAL GOVERNMENT AGREEMENT PARTICIPANTS:
Yet to be determined
DIVISION OF RESOURCES: All public funding received by the ECO2 Board will be evenly divided for the purposes of Industrial/Business Park development and Open Space Preservation. To allow some year-to-year flexibility in pursuits, allocations must achieve parity between Industrial/Business Park development and Open Space preservation by the tenth (10) year of the project.
The ECO2 Board and Committees are encouraged to seek grants, donation and other sources of ancillary funding. Proceeds from the sale of assets and ancillary funds acquired in addition to public funds are to be reinvested in the program that generated the asset. If grant money is received as a result of a joint Industrial/Business Park and Open Space venture, the money will apply to the combined effort in the manner set out in the grant.
ECO2 FINANCE PLAN
To finance this initiative, ECO2 proposes a quarter-cent sales tax, which would sunset in ten years.
If all four cities within Douglas County opted to participate in this countywide sales tax, an estimated total of $22.6 million would be generated over ten years, at an annual average of $2.26 million.
For years in which a quarter-cent sales tax revenues exceed $2 million, ECO2 proposes that those revenues be distributed as follows:
$1 million for Industrial/Business Park Program.
$1 million for Open Space Program.
Revenues over $2 million would be returned to the governmental entities that participate, in proportion to their contribution.
For years in which a quarter-cent sales tax revenues fails to reach $2 million, ECO2 proposes that those revenues be distributed as follows:
50% for Industrial/Business Park Program; and
50% for Open Space Program
The process for securing this funding will include:
1. legislative action to accommodate the quarter-cent sales tax increase;
2. agreement from the county and city governments to participate in the initiative; and
3. a countywide public vote in support of the sales tax increase.
FUNDING USES: Available funds may be use for:
initial Industrial/Business Park and Open Space plan development;
staffing and/or contracting for services required to implement plans;
acquisition of land and easements, development of infrastructure and facilities, and maintenance of inventoried properties; and marketing ECO2 assets.
After three years and due public input, if all participants of the Interlocal Agreement(s) determine the goals are not being met, the ECO2 Board will be disbanded and the sales tax rescinded.
GLOSSARY OF TERMS: (to be provided at a later date)
Substantially productive soils
Exceptional agriculture land