5.0 ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
programs are directed at the attraction or retention of basic
employment in the County. Economic
development programs also address related priorities including
enhancement of per capita wages and salaries and diversification
of the areas employment base.
- In El Paso County,
the Colorado Springs Economic Development Corporation
(EDC), is an independent non-profit organization which evolved
from the Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce and is primarily
responsible for identifying and approaching prospective employers.
It is largely funded by private donations and grants channeled
through the City of Colorado Springs.
- El Paso County
and the City of Colorado Springs also maintain separate economic
development divisions that work in cooperation with the EDC as
well as independently. Among other things, the respective divisions
are responsible for those programs and activities which require
governmental participation or action.
- Some of the programs
and activities sponsored through the Countys Office
of Economic Development and Public Finance include the following:
- State Enterprise
of tax credits
- Industrial revenue
- Small business
of other grants
- HUD small business
- Most of the County
programs are transparent to incorporated versus unincorporated
boundaries. The County has an adopted plan for Enterprise Zone
Administration which also includes some discussion
of other areas of economic
- Issue 5.1 Encourage
- One of the key
challenges associated with economic
development is that it tends to be a moving target. For example,
while upwards of 50,000 net jobs were added in the County between
1992 and 1996, there was very little net job creation in the
prior five year period. Although the employment future of the
County may be difficult to forecast, it will almost certainly
involve continued cycles and remain relatively dependent on the
military as its core employment sector.
- El Paso County
has now grown to a point that the concept of economic
development is being called into question, at least during
high points in the economic cycle. Although new jobs create economic
opportunity and generally enhance property values, associated
increases in population and industrial/commercial type businesses
place stress on existing services and infrastructure systems.
- New jobs also have
varying impacts on the economy, infrastructure, and the natural
environment. While a certain number of lower paying basic jobs
fill a necessary niche in the local economy, the benefits are
generally offset by the fact that lower paying jobs tend to create
a decrease in net public revenues. Somewhat higher paying employers
which are exempt from some or all property taxes may also not
fully offset their public costs. If a major new employer locates
in an area with adequate transportation, water, sewer and road
capacity, its infrastructure demands will be much lower than
if that same employer located in an area with reduced capacity.
- Most County residents
would say that they want to live in a place with a vibrant community,
a vigorous economy and a healthy environment, yet it is the bottom
line that influences political decisions. Job creation becomes
paramount, even if this practice is at the expense of community
character and environmental conditions. However, community vitality
and environmental conditions do not necessarily have to be mutually
exclusive of a vigorous economy. Over the long run, a healthy
society is supported by both a strong economy and a sound environment,
which in turn, contribute to community vitality.
- Each sub-area of
the unincorporated County presents its own set of unique economic development challenges
and opportunities. These relate generally to a myriad of factors
including natural systems, availability of services and existing
development. For example, while the tourist economy is a significant
aspect of planning for the Ute Pass
area, agriculture is most important to many residents of eastern
El Paso County.
- Goal 5.1
a land use environment which encourages quality
economic development that is compatible with surrounding
- Policy 5.1.1
- Encourage economic
development that enhances a sense of community, provides
vigor to the economy and considers the environment while contributing
to the overall health of the County.
- Policy 5.1.2
- Encourage communities
to identify economic goals that are compatible with the vitality
of their communities through the small area planning process.
- Policy 5.1.3
- Encourage economic
development strategies tailored to the unique conditions
of particular subareas of the County.
- Policy 5.1.4
- Allow for the maintenance
of a sufficient inventory of available sites for employment uses
throughout the County.
- Policy 5.1.5
- Promote quality
and diverse economic development
that is consistent with adopted plans, emphasizing both the creation
and retention of jobs that meet the needs of citizens of the
County at all skill levels.
- Policy 5.1.6
- Promote economic
development alternatives, such as locating in industrial
parks, which place the lowest strain on available infrastructure.
- Policy 5.1.7
- Support land use
policies that allow legitimate employment opportunities for individuals
to work out of their homes especially in areas which are not
conducive to large scale non-residential development and/or would
otherwise require long commuting times.
- Policy 5.1.8
- Encourage the retention
and development of existing military installations by protecting
their operational integrity and promoting compatible adjoining
- Policy 5.1.9
- Encourage appropriate
economic development in
rural areas of the County as a means of providing local employment
opportunities, increasing community tax base, and reducing long
- Policy 5.1.10
- Accommodate the
improvement and development of all educational institutions as
a means of maintaining a highly educated work force to compete
for high quality economic development.
- Policy 5.1.11
- Encourage the retention
of agricultural land based businesses by protecting their operational
integrity and promoting compatible adjoining land uses.
- Policy 5.1.12
- Discourage or prevent
land uses which threaten the long-term operating viability of
critical infrastructure, such as the airport and industrial areas
which must grow to accommodate new primary jobs for the Countys