Pursuant to Section 163.3191, F.S., “each local government shall adopt an evaluation and appraisal report (EAR) once every seven years assessing the progress in implementing the local government’s comprehensive plan.” The purpose of evaluating the Comprehensive Plan is to assess the City’s progress in implementing the comprehensive plan since the last EAR, which was completed in 1996 followed by EAR-based Comprehensive Plan amendments in 1999 and 2000. In addition, the report evaluates how successful the City has been in addressing identified major land use planning issues through implementation of its Comprehensive Plan. Based on this evaluation, the report suggests how the plan should be revised to better address community objectives, changing conditions and trends affecting the community, and changes in state requirements.
The due date for adopting the City’s EAR is March of 2007. The EAR is the first step in updating the Comprehensive Plan and is intended to accomplish several important purposes:
- Identify major issues which are specific concerns related to the current and future growth and development of the City;
- Review past actions of the City in implementing the plan since the last EAR;
- Assess the degree to which plan objectives have been achieved;
- Assess both successes and shortcomings of the plan;
- Identify ways the plan should be changed by responding to changing conditions and trends, the need for new data, and changes in state requirements and regional plans;
- Evaluate the plan with regard to new statutory requirements for public schools, a regional water supply plan, coastal high-hazard areas, transportation concurrency management, and financial feasibility of providing infrastructure to maintain adopted level of service standards; and
- Ensure effective intergovernmental coordination.
The City identified four (4) major planning issues through a public participation process involving residents and interested parties, adjacent local governments, state and regional agencies, City Commissioners and staff.
The four major planning issues identified and presented to DCA in the Letter of Understanding dated July 20, 2006, are as follows and are in no particular order:
Address the need for attainable/workforce housing:
- As high housing costs have diminished the supply of attainable/workforce housing, there is a desire for the City to evaluate and assess current Comprehensive plan policies, programs, and regulatory framework to address the need for and promote attainable/workforce housing.
Provide additional green space:
- As the City approaches build-out, there is the need to evaluate the Comprehensive plan policies to determine if they are adequate in guiding the amount and location of green spaces. Assess opportunities for green space linkages and enhancements.
Encourage economic development:
- To plan for the City’s future economic vitality, there is the need to evaluate the City’s Comprehensive Plan policies, programs and regulatory framework used to guide existing and future economic development efforts.
Address the transportation system to meet the City’s existing and future needs:
- As the City continues to grow and foster economic development and redevelopment, there is a need to undertake a comprehensive evaluation of the City’s transportation system to ensure that it is adequate to meet the City’s existing and future needs.
Format of the EAR:
The EAR consists of four (4) chapters and is organized as follows:
Chapter 1 – Introduction
Chapter 2 – Community-wide Assessment
Chapter 3 – Major Planning Issues
Chapter 4 – Assessment of Plan Elements and Recommendations Appendices
In accordance with Section 163.3191(2), Florida Statutes, this EAR contains information addressing the following topics:
- Population growth and changes in land area [F.S. 163.3191(2)(a)].
- The extent of vacant and develop-able land [F.S. 163.3191(2)(b)].
- The financial feasibility of providing needed infrastructure to achieve and maintain adopted level of service standards and sustain concurrency through capital improvements, as well as the ability to address infrastructure backlogs and meet the demands of growth of public services and facilities [F.S. 163.3191(2)(c)].
- The location of existing development in relation to the location of development as anticipated in the plan [F.S. 163.3191(2)(d)].
- The identification of major issues and, where pertinent, the potential social, economic, and environmental impacts of these issues [F.S. 163.3191(2)(e)].
- Relevant changes in growth management laws (the state comprehensive plan, the appropriate strategic regional policy plan, chapter 163, part II, F.S., and chapter 9J- 5, F.A.C. [F.S. 163.3191(2)(f)].
- An assessment of whether plan objectives within each element, as they relate to major issues, have been achieved, and whether unforeseen and unanticipated changes in circumstances have resulted in problems and opportunities with respect to major issues in each element [F.S. 163.3191(2)(g)].
- A brief assessment of successes and shortcomings related to each element [F.S. 163.3191(2)(h)].
- Any actions or corrective measures, including whether plan amendments are anticipated to address the major issues identified and analyzed in the report. Such identification shall include, as appropriate, new population projections, new revised planning time-frames, a revised future conditions map or map series, an updated capital improvements element, and any new and revised goals, objectives and policies for major issues identified within each element [F.S. 163.3191(2)(i)].
- A summary of the public participation program and activities undertaken by the local government in preparing the report [F.S. 163.3191(2)(j)].
- An assessment, where relevant, of the success or failure of coordinating future land uses and residential development with the capacity of existing and planned schools; establishing with the school board appropriate population projections; and coordinating the planning and siting of new schools [F.S. 163.3191(2)(k)].
- An assessment with respect to the water management district’s regional water supply plan, including whether the potable water element should be revised to include a work plan, covering at least a 10-year period, for building water supply facilities for which the local government is responsible and identifying alternative water supply projects including conservation and reuse, that are needed to serve existing and projected development [F.S. 163.3191(2)(l)].
- An evaluation of whether any past reduction in land use density within the coastal high-hazard area impairs the property rights of current residents when redevelopment occurs. The local government must identify strategies to address redevelopment and the rights of affected residents balanced against public safety considerations [F.S. 163.3191(2)(m)].
- The extent to which a concurrency exception area designated pursuant to s. 163.3180(5), has achieved the purpose for which it was created and otherwise complies with the provisions of s. 163.3180. [F.S. 163.3191(2)(o)].
- An assessment of the extent to which changes are needed to develop a common methodology for measuring impacts on transportation facilities for the purpose of implementing its concurrency management system in coordination with the municipalities and county. [F.S. 163.3191(2)(p)].
Following the Department of Community Affairs (DCA) finding that the EAR is sufficient, staff will adopt amendments to the Comprehensive Plan based on the EAR, within the required 18 month period. Revisions to the Zoning Code (land development regulations) will take place within 12 months following the adoption of the EAR-based Comprehensive Plan amendments.
The Comprehensive Plan should act as a living and practical document guiding development, and enhancing and protecting the quality of life for the City residents. The analysis and subsequent recommendations put forth in detail in the EAR are intended to reflect the City’s desire to amend its Comprehensive Plan to achieve this goal.