DATES TO REMEMBER:
Joint City/County Public Hearing: Thursday, April 19, 6pm, City Commission Chambers
City Workshop: Wednesday, April 25, 2pm, City Commission Chambers
County Workshop: Tuesday, May 8, 2pm, County Commission Chambers
Joint City/County Workshop: Wednesday, May 9, 2pm, County Commission Chambers (second joint workshop if needed scheduled for May 21.)
Joint City/County Transmittal Hearing: Thursday, May 24, 6pm, City Commission Chambers
The official list of Comp Plan amendments is http://www.state.fl.us/citytlh/planning/cmplan/cplnamd/2001-2.html
HOW IT USUALLY WORKS: The Joint Public Hearing is good to get crowds of people in support or opposition to issues -- lets the politicians see how many voters are for or against. But it does not necessarily mean they will vote based on who shows up at the hearing.
Get your comments (e-mails, letters, phone calls) in BEFORE each commission's workshop. This is where they really vote. At the joint workshop they pool their votes and work out any differences. At the Transmittal Hearing (though it is a public hearing) they "memorialize" the vote they took at the last workshop. There are occasionally exceptions to this scenario but in general it holds true. So the place to change minds and "move mountains" is BEFORE the workshops. If you want to e-mail commissioners, go to the CURG web page www.curg.org and click on Government Contacts. This link will allow you to e-mail ALL county commissioners or all city commissioners in one click.
This site has been operated by Florida Rock as a heavy industrial site since 1976 and has been a nonconforming use. Nonconforming status limits its ability to expand or rebuild pending disaster.
STAFF OPINION: Deny. Much of the parcel is in the 100-year flood plain or
wetlands and over half of site has significant or severe grades. RP is to
the east and Central Urban surrounds it. Industrial land use conflicts with
the intent of central urban uses and does not meet the criteria needed to
add land to heavy industrial. Heavy industrial would require extensive
buffering around it. Heavy indust. is not consistent with central city
initiatives and would hamper Blueprint 2000 initiatives for greenway
development and commercial orientation to greenway. The St. Marks Trail
currently ends at Kissimmee St. but plans are in place to extend it north
and then west of Lake Bradford Rd. A trailhead is proposed in this area for
the junction of the St. Marks trail and Gopher, Frog, Alligator trails. In
addition, extensive stormwater improvements for the central drainage ditch.
BP2000 recommends land use principles that would augment these improvements
and act as catalyst for revitalization.
LPA OPINION: Deny
(I concur with staff's analysis. I do not know if there is organized support for this amendment.)
(NOTE: M-3 through M-8 are housekeeping map amendments to change various
land uses to Recreation/Open space for properties that have been acquired
for parks or stormwater facilities. They are briefly recapped below):
The objective is to promote development where we want and need it most -- the Southern Strategy Area -- with exemptions for concurrency requirements within a ten year window. Currently, concurrency requirements state that road improvements must be in the pipeline within three years. The need for this exemption is to capture economic opportunities for the SSA that might be lost if we wait until the road improvements on Capital Circle (sales tax extension $$) are completed or within the three year window. It would likely take ten years to complete the roads. It does not give carte blanche access to build anywhere in the SSA and be exempt from concurrency. In addition to proper zoning, etc., the affected roads must fall within the 10 year window of planned improvements. If concurrency kicks in for roads outside of the ones on the list, the developer still must mitigate for them. It also requires local government to make sure their Capital Improvements Plan is updated for transportation improvements within this ten year window and to remove any that are not.
In the past, our transportation dollars have been pegged to moving targets.
Just because a road was on the list was no guarantee that it was ever going
to be improved. With the sales tax extension and the adoption of the BP2000
project list and all of the safeguards against changing that list, it is as
likely as anything can be that Capital Circle will be improved within this
ten year window. So it makes since to alleviate the three year requirement
that currently applies. In addition, because so many roads in the
north/northeast corridor are negatively impacted by concurrency, this
offers a relief valve to the south and should stimulate development there
-- planned and thoughtful development.
(I agree we need this relief to direct development where we need it the most.)
The South City area (census tract 10.01) has the highest level of poverty (over 50%) in Leon County. And the balance of census tract 4 would make data gathering simpler. The addition of these two and establishing a common boundary for the SSA is consistent with the original intent of identifying the area in the first place.
The troubling part of the additions to the SSA lie with the Southwood and Airport properties. The reason for including them were because of the concurrency concerns identified in amendment 10 above. And the benefit of allowing these two properties to participate in the concurrency relief offered the rest of the SSA makes sense. However, the SSA is much more than about concurrency relief and here is the rub. The comp plan states in policies that incentives will be adopted to promote economic development in the SSA. Blueprint 2000 identifies specific recommendations for a host of incentives to both promote economic development as well as an economic diversity of housing stock. The incentives would apply to both new and existing businesses and homeowners. The incentives are meant to alleviate a social need and aid in redevelopment efforts along with the heavy infusion of infrastructure dollars through Blueprint 2000 projects. Governments abilities to offer these incentives are limited and should go to those most in need and where infill and redevelopment is most likely to benefit. Southwood and the Airport properties do not fit this bill. While it is apparent that any development that occurs on Southwood or the Airport properties would have collateral benefits to the adjacent areas in the SSA, incentives should not be extended to them. For this reason, these two properties should be excluded from the SSA expansion (my opinion). However, we should find a way to allow participation in the concurrency relief.
In addition, there are concerns about the environmental impact of expanding
the Airport site within close proximity to the Bradford Chain of Lakes. The
impact on the lakes was the major reason the EECC recommended altering the
alignment of Capital Circle to outside of the immediate Lake Bradford
basin. Though there are still developable sites that would have little
impact on Lake Bradford within the airport property, they are faced with
concurrency problems. And concurrency relief would allow this limited
development to occur. However, extending this from the airport proper to
the north side of Orange Ave. could have a very negative impact on the
(Allowing the limited Southwood site and the Airport site to participate in concurrency amendments would be beneficial and address more short term needs than could be addressed by the Business Park identified in BP2000. However, these two properties should NOT be included in an expansion of the SSA with all of the redevelopment and infill incentives intended to be conferred upon the SSA. The city should recall its original rationale in leaving out the Southeast Sector Plan (which includes the Southwood property) when the SSA boundary was originally adopted. At that time, these areas were viewed as new development that should not qualify for additional help for development or revitalization. In addition, the Airport site should be reviewed carefully for environmental impacts before granting further expansion.)
Amendments 13-16 were proposed by Commissioner Proctor. While there are some problems with some of the amendments as originally proposed, staff has sent some last minute revisions that came in as I was finishing up the analyses which speak to the intent of the amendments but eliminating the more troublesome parts of them. These are included at the end of each amendment.
He proposes this added policy in the Land Use Element: "It is the intent of local government to protect lake water quality in the SSA from further degradation and restore and maintain Class III surface water quality standards in the SSA lakes. Through the sector planning effort, local government will initiate a watershed study to document water quality throughout the SSA, identify pollution and flooding problems, and formulate a plan for addressing these issues."
While this is an admirable effort, there are already abundant policies and objectives in the comp plan addressing these exact standards for all area lakes and water bodies, not just the SSA. The problem has never been the lack of intent in the comp plan but rather the lack of funding to accomplish these lofty objectives. And the lack of allocation of resources and prioritization by local government to implement the objectives and policies. This is no different. Do we need another policy which we fail to implement effectively? It does no good to adopt policies such as these if commissioners are unwilling to raise stormwater fees or allocate sufficient general revenue dollars to pay for them.
When the SSA was adopted it was adopted because of "economic" reasons. However, that does not mean that it would not be a good idea to incorporate something into the SSA language that states that while these objectives are meant to promote economic development in the area, it should not come at the expense of the environment (why limit it to water?).
The Conservation Element of the comp plan contains numerous policies addressing water quality concerns such as: requiring the natural function of wetlands be protected, development adjacent to wetlands be limited and development in altered and unaltered floodplains be restricted. (Don't laugh, it really is in there -- not that having the policies in the CP has helped in the past.) Another policy requires additional restrictions in lake basins that have been identified through scientific studies to be degraded. (The Lake Bradford chain of lakes, within the SSA, already has special development zones in recognition of its outstanding features and sensitivity.) Another policy requires on-going surface water quality monitoring. Another one requires on-going studies and management plans be developed for continued functioning of the lakes with minimum impact. The Stormwater Management element requires a coordinated watershed approach to stormwater management. Another policy requires wetlands, floodplains and floodways be acquired and maintained in their natural state. Another requires for erosion control and management of sediments, and on and on.
The problem is not that there are no policies to address our problems but rather that government has not prioritized these policies, nor allocated sufficient resources to address them, nor provided enforcement of what regulations currently exist. As you can see from the policies listed above, BP2000 is key to implementing many of them. For the first time, significant fiscal resources (sales tax) have been allocated to accomplish some of these objectives and policies. Blueprint shows through specific projects how these policies can be implemented. But it is still up to local govt. to implement those "program" elements of Blueprint and the comp plan, i.e., the comprehensive water resources plan, the sector plans, etc. which this proposed new policy speaks to. These planning elements take dollars to implement and should be included in the upcoming budgets. (Isn't it ironic that while Proctor wishes to have a watershed study done within the sector plan, it is the county who has refused to join the city in allocating additional dollars for a staff position for sector planning!)
As the staff report states: "This is not a matter of placing more policy
language in the Comprehensive Plan, but one of budgeting enough staff and
money for implementation."
STAFF: Deny as proposed
LPA: continued to 4/17
(Obviously the solution is one of appropriate allocation of resources and enforcement of existing regulations, not additional comp plan policy language.)
(Though this language does not really do anything more than restate what we are already doing, it does make the point I noted above to add language to the SSA section stating that development would not come at the expense of the environment. Though the problem is still allocating sufficient dollars, not writing more policies, this amendment would be improved if adopted as amended.)
This policy could inhibit our ability to build regional retrofit ponds to correct problems which already exist. We currently have water quality and flooding problems in the SSA and CC, as well as throughout the urban area that developed before regulations were enacted. Much of the water originates within these boundaries but some comes outside the boundaries. The boundaries of the SSA and CC are drawn on maps to reflect census tracts, roadways, neighborhoods, commercial districts, etc. and portray specific economic profiles, NOT watershed boundaries. All of these "artificial" lines bisect watershed basins within the greater Munson basin. To effectively solve stormwater problems you must look at the entire watershed, not a boundary drawn to interpret other community goals. If this policy is adopted, it could theoretically require us to pump stormwater to other areas rather than take advantage of the natural flow of water and site facilities where they would do the most good.
One of the recommendations in Blueprint 2000 is to seek opportunities within public infrastructure projects to combine uses and provide multiple benefits. Such as, when road improvements are planned and stormwater facilities are built to accommodate the road, to enlarge the facility to retrofit an adjacent area that has no current stormwater treatment. This policy would prevent that in the SSA/CC because it would also serve as treatment for a road and would not necessarily accommodate new commercial or residential development but retrofit.
According to county public works, this policy would have prevented the Lake Henrietta retrofit project as well as retrofit work on the East Drainage Ditch (an area of flooding in the SSA). In addition, this project could prevent the Cascades Park/St. Augustine Branch greenway and stormwater retrofit project adopted by voters as a sales tax project. These projects were intended to be built as community enhancements, not eyesores.
I believe the intent of what Commissioner Proctor is trying to do is to say
that there should be some benefit to the SSA or CC areas if retrofit
facilities are located there for water that comes from other areas. Again,
the difficulty here comes from the fact that the SSA and CC do not follow
watershed boundary lines. But retrofit facilities in the SSA/CC should be
built in such a way to benefit the area. (Like the concept of building
these as community parks.) The language could be amended that gets the
intent without hindering the ability to finally address retrofit projects.
After all, retrofit for stormwater and water quality was an essential part
of the sales tax package!
STAFF: Deny as proposed
LPA: continued until 4/17
(I concur with staff's opinion for the reasons cited above unless the policy is amended.)
Local government is usually the only ones who build regional stormwater facilities. The only other entity who occasionally does is DOT. Public Works is concerned that if DOT knows local govt. must maintain the facility, they would be less willing to alter designs to reflect community standards, etc. Staff currently uses "maintenance" as leverage to get DOT to go above and beyond what is required.
Again, the biggest problem with maintenance is that govt. does not adequately fund its current stormwater maintenance responsibilities. We can add all kinds of language in the comp plan to do this but unless dollars are allocated nothing will change. Design, construction, monitoring, and maintenance are already addressed in policies in the Stormwater Management element of the comp plan and in the EMO and EMA. This amendment is similar to #13 in that we already have the language we need to accomplish what we want. It is really a matter of implementation and allocation of revenues!
Staff recommends further study to measure the fiscal impacts such a policy
change might require. City and county public works are opposed as well.
STAFF: Deny as proposed
LPA: continued until 4/17
(This amended language seems to address some of the concerns I raised above about providing a benefit to the SSA/CC for regional, retrofit facilities.)
Commissioner Proctor has always resented that Bradfordville has policies
that only apply to it in the Comp Plan. He forgets that we have this
throughout the Comp Plan: the Southern Strategy Area, the Southeast Sector
Plan, Central City. To do it for Bradfordville in recognition of the
immense growth pressures in the area is totally consistent with what we
have done in other areas. These other areas also have policies and
objectives that only apply to them. We do not turn around and delete the
policies when we adopt implementing language through land development
regulations or govt. policies. That would be like saying that when we adopt
incentives for the SSA or finish the SSA sector plan, we should go back and
eliminate those policies from the comp plan. To sunset this goal would of
course make all of the lawsuits go away -- or bring about more if
resolution has not been reached by then. It could be argued that such
action would indicate an effort to get around a court order which could be
construed as contempt.
Stella has already kept us all well informed about the background into this amendment so I will not go into great detail. Suffice it to say that the original date for these SDZs was supposed to be 1993. It was subsequently amended to 2000. But still not done. The county staff is ready to roll on this and has said they could be ready to implement by the summer. Planning is concerned about date crunch and lawsuits and so has recommended that it be changed to 2003, thereby giving plenty of time to implement. Folks, there has already been plenty of time. If the date is changed to 2003, we will be sitting here in 2003 arguing against further delays. Change the date to 2001 and get it done!
I have sent a letter to this effect on behalf of CURG but your voices at
the public hearing would be a big boost.
STAFF: Approve (2003 date)
LPA: Approve but amend date to 2002.
This is pretty much a housekeeping amendment to keep the Comp Plan
consistent with recently adopted studies and plans.
LPA: continued to 4/17
This is also a housekeeping amendment.