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Delivering Community Benefits through Economic Development

Delivering Community Benefits through Economic Development

On November 18, 2015, Seattle Council Member Mike O’Brien along with Jahmese Myres, Planning Commissioner, City of Oakland and Campaign Director, EBASE, and Ben Beach, Legal Director, Partnership for Working Families provided policy best practices, a selection of pitfalls to avoid and the latest success stories on how to deliver community benefits such as stable jobs, local hire and affordable housing through economic development.

Local elected and appointed officials can:

  1. Create a monitoring commission in which community representatives are appointed by the local government. As land use regulators, they can help start negotiations prior to development approvals. It is important to recognize that monitoring commissions can be subject to a strict set of parameters legally binding the local government.
  2. Avoid a traditional land use approach, which doesn’t usually allow for community input. Instead, encourage community-based agreementsin which the public can negotiate with developers on projects.

Policies should include input, oversight and enforcement from community members who are most affected by the development.

The Five Best Strategies for Local Governments

  1. Demand strong community benefits terms in government agreements with developers
  2. Encourage Private Community Based Agreements (CBAs) between public groups and developers
  3. Enact ordinances and policies that help establish a baseline of community benefits for future projects
  4. Incorporate community benefits in land use planning and policies
  5. Encourage a convening of key stakeholders to reach a consensus on community benefits principles for future projects

Content Overview

The webinar featured case studies from Seattle, WA and Oakland, CA. In Seattle, the purpose of the CBA was to create local jobs, so the local government tried to base them in zip codes that had high unemployment. Experts helped community representatives develop their demands, and local officials received education on the issue so the City Council would be better able to choose the most appropriate and efficient policy path to support. Oakland created a hybrid structure agreement between a city developer and corporation to codify policies when they turned an army base into a logistics center with jobs in construction and warehousing. This agreement also created other requirements including: local hire, disadvantage hire, living wages, and limitations on use of temporary workers as well as community oversight and enforcement. Community groups entered into a cooperation agreement with the city guaranteeing that they would support the project in exchange for assurances about the delivery of community benefits. Collaboration between local officials and community organizations were a key feature of all these successful CBA agreements.


A Guide for Local Appointed and Elected Officials on Delivering Community Benefits through Economic Development

Paving the Path to Opportunity: Oakland Revival Example

Seattle Ordinance: Example for Community Benefits

Webinar Recording

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