Better question

In Douglas Adams’ book The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, an enormous supercomputer was asked to answer the ultimate question of life, the universe, and everything. After many years the answer is calculated to be 42. After protests that this was not a useful answer, the computer responds with something like “If you want a better answer, ask a better question.” 

Several years ago the BOCC asked Planning to answer the question of economic and employment opportunities of the I-4 Corridor. After much expensive study, the answer given was Comprehensive Plan Amendment 10-14. This is based partially upon the mistaken belief that “Little land remained for higher wage employment uses (along the I-75 corridor).” 

1. The public protests that the Plan:

  • does not address the needs of good-paying jobs elsewhere in the county where people live;
  • does not address incentives for existing commercial property outside the I-4 Corridor;
  • does not consider in-fill to increase density within the Urban Services Boundary;
  • does not consider the renovation of inner-city commercial sites and
  • the Green-Tech Expansion Area (GEA) portion of this plan needlessly expands the Urban Services Boundary

2. Developers protest that unless taxpayers pay the infrastructure costs that there is little incentive for building within the Green-Tech Expansion Area. 

A better question for Planning might have been: “Where in all of Hillsborough County are there commercial sites that lend themselves most readily to the effective attraction of business enterprise leading to the most immediate creation of good-paying jobs, and what programs and incentives might the County of Hillsborough implement to help support that effort?”

<IMHO> Fred Jacobsen


3 Responses to “Better question”

  1. And the people on the economic development task force also say that the new mobility fees (development fees based on transportation impacts) will stifle development and jobs. So if we are to believe these experts, we should develop industrial/office in the rural area and the taxpayer should fund the infrastructure and we shouldn’t charge the developer for building anything, anywhere, at any time.

    Yeah, that makes a lot of sense…I’d like to buy another bridge that goes to Brooklyn!!!

    • George, I appreciate your comment. From what I can tell, mobility fees will mostly make new residential development in the rural areas too expensive for average houses. The existing Urban Service Boundary near rural areas already contains sufficient commercial zoning that if utilized should reduce the need for commuting for nearby residents. Where it makes sense, first put jobs were the people are, and then people will move to where the jobs are. At least I hope so. Then maybe we won’t have to build so many bridges.

  2. Marcella O'Steen Says:

    Exactly right, Fred. The “study” this plan was based upon was just window dressing. Certain Commissioners already knew what they wanted to happen and ordered this jive “study” to back it up. Of course, the Planning Commission has just laid down and obeyed on this…they got their orders and followed them. To hell with the rural areas in Seffner and Mango. To hell with the Urban Service Boundary. To hell with good planning. To hell with other areas of the county (South County) that ALREADY HAVE massive amounts of shovel ready and NEW (empty) buildings standing ready. To hell with all — let’s just push the development out in the country — all the way from Tampa city limits to Plant City! yeah…that’s the plan.

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