Patterson Unveils Technology Toolkit to Help Communities Lure Knowledge-Based Investment

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WATERFORD, Mich., April 23, 2009 – Oakland County has a new tool to help its communities shed a manufacturing-based focus and plan for the change that technology and the knowledge economy could bring to the area. County Executive L. Brooks Patterson on Thursday unveiled the Technology Planning Toolkit, a guidebook for local communities to use as they determine how local planning and zoning regulations could be modified to accommodate and attract high-tech businesses to their areas.

“This helps take us from the manufacturing-based economy to the knowledge-based economy,” Patterson said Thursday. “This will help communities plan for these emerging companies as part of a comprehensive approach to strengthening the community assets of business, people and place. This is a road map to make sure we’re prepared for the technology shift in the life sciences, alternative energy and other high-tech businesses. This is all part of diversifying our economy.” The Technology Planning Toolkit was commissioned by Oakland County’s Planning & Economic Development Services division and the Department of Information Technology. It was prepared by Carlisle/ Wortman Associates Inc., of Ann Arbor.

The report will help communities review and revise their plans, policies and ordinances to become more attractive as business locations for Emerging Sectors companies and employees.

The Emerging Sectors business attraction and retention strategy is one of the county’s most successful programs. Since its creation five years ago, it has had 112 successes which created more than $1.2 billion in investment, more than 20,000 new jobs and generated more than $30 million in taxes. The 100 page-plus report considers a number of trends and changes that will likely impact community planning including:

• Increasing number of home-based businesses and occupations
• Decreasing demand for conventional office space
• Increasing demand for flexible space that accommodates a variety of uses
• Shifting composition of land use
• Increasing regional collaboration

The complete toolkit is located on the county’s website at www.oakgov.com/peds/initiatives/technologyplanningtoolkit.html.

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