Adding depth to the regions’ ready-to-go site inventory is and will continue to be critical for Berks County’s ability to grow its commercial and industrial base.  The lack of appropriate and desirable sits ready for development will result in missed economic growth opportunities for Berks County.  Pamela Shupp stated in the Berks County economic outlook at the beginning of 2016 to look for a coordinated and strategic effort from the Berks County community to ensure that the inventory pipeline for the future is secure. We are one step closer!

First Steps Taken

The first step in this coordinated effort has been to identfy potential sites for development. The Berks County Planning Commission has been working dilitgently to develop a web-based mapping tool that allows users to search for sites that could be potentially developed. The map shows Site Development Mapping Toolroads, water features and zoning information, public water and sewer service and easements.

The map uses an algorithm that ranks available properties based on factors such as proximity to highways and interchanges, environmental concerns and access to major utilities.

“The whole idea was to try and identify additional areas within the county that would be available for economic development,” said Shannon Rossman, the planning commission’s executive director.

Not all the available sites are perfect, Rossman said, but she hopes the map will be the tool that identifies what needs to be done with all those sites to make them more attractive and ready for development.

“They all need something,” she said. “Are they a site that could be developed within the next year, or a site that could be developed within the next five or 10 years?”

Rossman believes the map is unlike any other available at the county level in Pennsylvania. Her department got the idea from a county in North Carolina.”I don’t know of any other county that is doing this this way,” she said. “We’re pretty excited. It’s something that we’ve been trying to do for the past couple years. “The map will continually be tweaked and improved and new information will be added as it becomes available.

The tool will continue to be updated regularly as information becomes available.

Continue reading this article by Brad Rhen on the Reading

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