3.0 Future Land Use
3.1 Strategic Economic Development Plan
The “North Mecklenburg County Economic Development Strategy” and the “Town of Cornelius and Huntersville and the Lake Norman Region Strategic Economic Development Plan” have provided the foundation for economic development activity in Huntersville since 2003. Since these plans focus on regional economic development, they do not address the specific economic development needs of Huntersville (e.g. type of development and uses Huntersville official’s would like to target). Therefore, the creation of a strategic economic development plan for Huntersville would allow the Town to better address its unique economic development needs and would also assist the Lake Norman Regional Economic Development Corporation in focusing on business recruitment and expansion appropriate for Huntersville.
A major component to any successful economic development program is the availability of suitable land. Previous studies have stressed the need to protect sites with characteristics suitable for business recruitment (significant acreage, easy access to major roads, relatively flat, etc.). Accordingly, Huntersville has rezoned several areas (encompassing over 1,000 acres) to Corporate Business (CB) for that purpose (see Map ED-1). However, the Town needs to continually assess opportunities for additional land, in response to changes in economic conditions.
3.2 Utilities & Infrastructure
A well developed infrastructure and utility system is foundational to a thriving local economy. The provision of adequate infrastructure is essential to a sound economic development program for Huntersville. It is important to note that some utilities are currently not available to all of the rezoned areas noted on Map ED-1. Therefore, it is important that Huntersville work closely with Charlotte-Mecklenburg Utilities Department (CMUD) to time planned utility extensions with economic development projects within these areas.
3.3 Retention & Expansion of Existing Business
Promoting the retention and expansion of businesses currently located in Huntersville is a key to job growth. The LNREDC has a program to meet with existing businesses in order to determine what their needs are and what can be done to assist with their continued success and the expansion of their operations. In turn, the LNREDC informs agencies (i.e. town, county, NCDOT, etc.) about those needs and works proactively to address them where feasible.
To successfully compete against other locations in recruiting businesses, incentives can be an effective tool to assist in attracting new business and in retaining existing ones. Incentives can take many forms including tax rebates, streamlined permitting, job training, and infrastructure installation.
While quality of life is an important consideration for new businesses considering relocation, incentives can certainly play a role in this decision making process and should be carefully weighed in regard to the benefits that may result to the Town.
3.4 Workforce Development
The availability of a well trained work force is one of the most important considerations for businesses looking to relocate or expand. Huntersville is fortunate to have a Central Piedmont Community College (CPCC) campus within its jurisdiction. CPCC has a long history of providing training for industry, which will serve the community well in the future. Continued cooperation among the public, private and educational institutions will be essential to ensure that Huntersville maintains its reputation as a prime location for skilled workers.
3.5 Culture, Hospitality & Tourism
The tourism and hospitality industry is an important component of the local economy. Economic activity generated by visitors to Huntersville not only supports local business owners, but also enhances the local tax base. In addition, a vibrant local hospitality and tourism economy serves to improve the Town’s reputation regionally, nationally and internationally as a good place to live and do business.