What Is a Community Development Committee?

B. Miller

A community development committee is a type of planning board that often exists as part of an elected town council or other elected municipal leadership group. Members to the committee might be elected, or they might be volunteers who participate on the committee as one aspect of their other duties. In general, a community development committee is focused on issues of economic development as well as urban development and housing. They may also discuss community policy, as well as revitalization projects to improve the community and make it a productive, safe, and economically viable place to live.

A community development committee might discuss community revitalization projects like installing new street lights for safety purposes.
A community development committee might discuss community revitalization projects like installing new street lights for safety purposes.

One of the most common jobs of a community development committee is reviewing proposed projects related to housing development in the community. The committee might review the plans and compare them to local zoning ordinances in an attempt to determine the permits that need to be obtained, any effect on the local taxes, and the overall community impacts of the project. Communities do not want to undertake projects that will be too expensive, or which might be detrimental to the community as a whole; the development committee helps to ensure this won't happen. In some cases, the development committee also discusses the logistics of a project, such as the businesses or contractors that will be hired, as long as there are not any conflicts of interest.

A community development committee may be made up of local business owners networking together to improve the area's economy.
A community development committee may be made up of local business owners networking together to improve the area's economy.

For property that is owned by the city, the community development committee might also make recommendations for its sale. To an extent, regulating the business environment of the city or municipality might be part of their tasks, as can be ensuring that businesses and manufacturers stay within zoning regulations. For instance, the community development committee might refuse to allow the installation of a manufacturing plant or waste processing facility next to a school, based on zoning and planning laws for the town.

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Community revitalization is also an important part of the work of many community development committees. The committee might discuss ways to increase tourism or community involvement in the area, support local businesses, or support work that needs to be done to make the area a safer place to live. For instance, the installation of street lights, replacement of dangerous sidewalks, or painting or remodeling the fronts of businesses on main streets are all examples of community revitalization. This may involve grant applications, reviewing of proposals, or other work that requires input from a number of different people. As a result, these committees generally meet at least once a month if not more often.

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