In a five page Letter of Understanding sent less than 30 days ago from Teresa Bishop, AICP, Director of Growth Management Services for St. Johns County, which was sent to Mr. Mike McDaniel, Chief of the Florida Office of Comprehensive Planning, Division of Community Planning, Department of Community Affairs; Bishop outlined the 12 major issues identified for the 2007 Evaluation and Appraisal Report.
The issues are:
1. Development in the Coastal High Hazard Area (CHHA)
2. Rural Land Conversion to Urban Uses
3. Protection of the Natural Environment
4. Protection of the Saint Johns River
5. Redevelopment Efforts including Affordable/Workforce Housing and Improved Housing
6. Historic Preservation
7. Transportation/Mass Transit
8. Economic Business Development
9. Agricultural Business Development
10. Financial Feasibility
11. Water, Sewer, Drainage Infrastructure
A quick timeline of the actions taken in development of the major issues:
â€¢ July 18, 2007 – Scoping Meeting that included representatives from state and regional review agencies, municipalities within the County, adjacent local governments, environmental groups, elected and appointed officials and concerned citizens.
â€¢ August and September 2007 – Four public workshops held throughout the County, one within each Planning District to solicit input from St. Johns County citizens, specifically in their local areas.
â€¢ September 20, 2007 – Public meeting and presentation with the Planning Zoning Agency to receive input from the Agency and citizens.
â€¢ October 16, 2007 â€“ Public meeting with the Board of County Commissioners to consider the major issues and submittal to DCA.
â€¢ November/December 2007 â€“ Discussions with the County Administrator.
â€¢ February and March 2008 â€“ Planning and Zoning Agency and Commission public hearings.
â€¢ July 2007 â€“ February 2008 – Public input accepted verbally and through letters.
â€¢ April 1, 2008 â€“ Public meeting and presentation with the Planning Zoning Agency to receive input from the Agency and citizens on revised letter.
â€¢ April 29, 2008 – Public meeting and presentation with the Board of County Commission to receive input from the Commissioners and citizens on the revised letter.
According to Bishop’s letter, the County intends to assess all policies and goals and objectives as they relate to the major issues, and will include the necessary data and analysis indicating the progress made towards the achievement of those objectives in producing the EAR.
Bishop stated that the county also intends to include the necessary population projections to forecast the infrastructure needs for the countyâ€™s next planning horizon.
The emphasized statement should be of concern to us all and I hope everyone involved will pay close attention to the potential social, economic, and environmental impacts of the positions adopted in this evaluation; particularly as it relates to the Future Land Use Map.