Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Update to Comprehensive Plan Vital to Future of Island


Photos by Steve Stefanides | City Campus.


Every 10 years, communities and counties throughout the State of Florida are required to update what is known as their Comprehensive Plan. Simply put, it involves what a community’s goals and aspirations are in terms of how a community is developed. The result of that is what is known as the Comprehensive Plan.  

That plan or road map will present a vision for the future, which will include long term goals and objectives for a wide range of activities that will affect local government and how a community is seen moving forward. Because the makeup and needs of a community may change over time, it makes the need for a regular review of that document all that more important to providing a landscape that reflects the up to date essentials of that community. 

Marco Island is undergoing such a reflection itself and what the community needs and requirements are in 2020 and the next 10 years. The city began that self-examination of itself last year when the council paid an outside consultant to come and help council, staff and the public to develop a “Strategic Plan” for the community moving forward during the next 25 years. 

Alexis Crespo of Waldrop Engineering came before the Planning Board and updated them on the initiation of the project to update the city’s Comprehensive Plan in June. Her desire was to inform the board and the general public that the team which will be undertaking this task was moving forward and wanted a clear and transparent process to ensure the public will be able to give input on those discussions as they move forward. 

City Hall.

She explained that the team would consist of Dr. Margaret Banyan of Florida Gulf Coast University. Dr. Banyan has extensive experience in this area and in municipal planning. She will be taking the lead role in the project. 

In addition, Dan Trescott of Trescott Planning Solutions will be joining the team and has a wide background in Coastal Planning. 

Ms. Crespo, of Waldrop Engineering, is the third member of the team and is bringing her experience in the planning field and is a certified planner.  

As this process continues, elements of the Strategic Plan will become an integral portion of the development of that document. Once that plan is done and adopted by the City Council, it will then be submitted to the State of Florida for certification. 

As that is completed, the city will adopt amendments to its Code of Ordinances which will govern development going forward. This will help to provide for the landscape of the island as seen by the provisions of the Comprehensive Plan and the Strategic Plan. 

A key element in the development of all this, lies in the community involvement regarding the input that FGCU Team gets, according to Mary Holden, Senior Planner within the Growth Management Department. She stated, “The public’s involvement in this process is key to the success that we will have. Shortly, we will be reaching out to the public for their input and discussion on these various aspects as to how they want the city to look. Right now, the consultants out of FGCU are putting together the mechanics of how that will be done. We envision a very robust exchange of ideas that will layout the foundation for moving forward.” 

Already, the staff has given the FGCU Team a list of community members for some basic input. 

  • Adrian Connor – a fulltime resident and father who owns a small business 
  • Dianna Dohm, Ex. Dir., Marco Island Area Chamber of Commerce – Chamber of Commerce representative 
  • Ruth McCann, MICA 
  • Shari Fairchild, CAMI (Condo Managers) 
  • Tricia Dorn, Key Account Exec., LCEL – a representative from the respective utility providers 
  • Allyson Richards, Aging and Disability 
  • Alan Musico, Resident and multimodal transportation. 
  • Hyla Crane, Exe. Dir. Marco Island Center for the Arts  arts and cultural representative 
  • Keith Laakkone, Program Admin. FDEP, Office of Resilience and Coastal Protection, Rookery Bay – Environmental agency representative 

The consulting team has completed their work under Phase 1 of the project. The appointment of those Steering Committee Members has given them the background and basic information necessary to develop some baseline research and evaluate some of the issues that will need to be reviewed as part of Phase 1 and Phase 2 of the project. 

As part of that, they have held Zoom meetings with each of the Steering Committee members for that data gathering and also one on one meetings with both the planning board and council members. 

They will shortly be moving on drafting content for an online survey for the community in an effort to acquire their input for that survey and its questions. From there, the chore of developing that input into a comprehensive vision will take place.  

Electronic town halls are also in the works which will provide educational overviews of the process and more input for the consultant team. 

Stayed tuned to the Coastal Breeze News for more information regarding this and other important civic and cultural news for the Greater Marco Island Area. You can do so by visiting our webpage at www.coastalbreezenews.com, or on our Facebook page.


 

One response to “Update to Comprehensive Plan Vital to Future of Island”

  1. Susan says:

    Is Marco building any hidden electric flood walls? They are part of the sidewalk until they are raised for large storms to keep the flooding lower.

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