With Windham prepared to officially join the Southern New Hampshire Planning Commission on March 1, the town could soon embrace a program that could increase exposure for properties and attract new businesses to town.
Town planners received a presentation last week from SNHPC officials about a program called ReadySetGo.
The concept, according to SNHPC Chief Planner Jack Munn, is the first of its kind in New England.
Munn said that the program promotes collaboration between potential developers submitting applications and municipalities to market certified town sites ona number of commercial and municipal web pages.
"We call it ReadySetGo because the idea is that these sites and buildings are being marketed because they are available no. 1 but they also have been through the local approval process no. 2," Munn said. "In essence they are ready and set to go if the property owner, the developer can find a business taht wants to use the property."
He added that the program is entirely at the discretion of the town planning boards. He said that a certified site can be any building on a parcel of land greater than an acre in size.
But Munn said other financial benefits can come to the town.
"It will help attract new businesses and companies to come to your community, which in the end will help create jobs and help to grow your tax base in the future," he said.
Munn said the program has been worked on for two years. Meetings have taken place with area developers, real estate attorneys and town planners.
SNHPC Executive Director David Preece said the idea behind the program is for a town to be proactive in its economic development.
"If you know what type of developments you want in your community and you identify sites and locations that you want economic development to occur, that's a much better approach than sitting back and aiting and hoping that development will come your way," Preece said.
Planning Board Vice Chair Ruth-Ellen Post offered a positive response to the program.
"It sounds like potentially a wonderful tool," she said. "You certainly have my attention.
Munn said that the next step for Windham would be a public hearing to decide whether to proceed in the ReadySetGo program.
Planners will discuss options for the program at a future board meeting.
Windham is leaving the Rockingham Planning Commission and will team up in the SNHPC with border towns of Derry and Londonderry, as well as Chester, Auburn, Candia, Hooksett, Raymond, Deerfield, New Boston, Weare, Goffstown and Manchester.