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December 10, 2013

Norman works to establish a friendly commercial enterprise climate

NORMAN — Norman city leaders have been working with stakeholders and the Norman Chamber of Commerce on several initiatives to improve the business climate in the city.

On Monday, City Manager Steve Lewis and Development Coordinator Terry Floyd presented an update on those initiatives to the Chamber board at its monthly luncheon.

In the last three years, the city has formed a Business and Community Affairs subcommittee of the city council, funded and hired a development coordinator (Floyd), funded and put out a search for a retail marketing coordinator, formed an economic development authority and appointed an economic development advisory board.

Lewis said the Business and Community Affairs Committee was formed to look at business and community concerns.

“I think this is our first effort to look at business from this position,” he said.

Floyd and Lewis said input from the Chamber and other local organizations in the development community were vital to developing the improved business climate in the city and for targeting these particular initiatives.

Lewis and Floyd said the city has received positive feedback on the initiatives it has implemented so far. Efforts to find a retail marketing coordinator will continue.

“It was an open recruitment,” Lewis said. “We completed some interviews for the position, but at this stage, we’re continuing that recruitment.”

The city also has worked on streamlining development by extending the legitimacy of preliminary plats to five years and adding an administrative approval process that would simplify development in appropriate cases.

Final plats will now be reviewed and approved solely by the city council, rather than going through the lengthy process of returning to the planning commission.

In addition, pre-development meetings and planning commission consideration can be submitted in the same application window. All of these measures allow for a tightened time frame without skimping on city code and other important quality assurances.

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