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Friday, August 31, 2012

Governor Scott opts out of Recreational Trails Program but commits to full funding for Safe Routes to Schools and Recreational Trails

FDOT just released this press release announcing Governor Scott's decision to opt out of the Recreational Trails Program (RTP), but FDOT is committing to full funding for both Safe Routes to Schools and Recreational Trails.  To date, no other Governor in the country has chosen to opt out of the RTP, which was allowed in the MAP-21 transportation legislation.  Thanks to everyone who wrote the Governor in support of fully funding these programs.  Stay tuned for further information about what all of this means!





Friday, August 31, 2012

                         John O’Brien, (850) 414-4573;   
                           John.O’Brien@dot.state.fl.us
FDOT Commits to Full Funding of
Safe Routes to Schools and Recreational Trails
Florida will use flexibility available in the federal MAP-21
legislation to balance transportation needs

Tallahassee – The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) will continue to fully fund Safe Routes to Schools and recreational trails in Florida thanks to the flexibility included in the new federal Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21) legislation.

Despite funding cuts in the Transportation Alternatives section of the bill, FDOT will commit to funding these two programs at prior year levels. The flexibility in MAP-21 allows the Department to address one of its top priorities: making Florida a safer state for bicyclists and pedestrians.

“We are redoubling our efforts to improve safety for bicyclists and pedestrians in Florida,” said FDOT Secretary Ananth Prasad. “That’s why we are fully funding these important programs.”

In an effort to ensure Florida can maximize the use of its federal funds for projects that are ready to go and to ensure flexibility, Florida Governor Rick Scott today sent a letter to U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood to opt out of a funding provision in the MAP-21 legislation.

“This action should in no way be viewed as an indication that Florida does not support recreational trails,” said Secretary Prasad. “Florida offers a year-around opportunity for our residents and visitors to enjoy our great state as cyclists and pedestrians. We want to make their experiences as safe and enjoyable as possible.”

The Office of Greenways & Trails within the Florida Department of Environmental Protection provides statewide leadership and coordination in the establishment, expansion and promotion of the Florida Greenways and Trails System (FGTS). More than $24 million in grants have been awarded for Florida recreational trails in the past. FGTS will continue to administer the program using transportation funding.
A new category of federal transportation funding called Transportation Alternatives was created in MAP-21. Eligible uses for these funds include bicycling, pedestrian facilities and recreational trails which were previously funded by separate programs. While Florida’s total funding for Transportation Alternatives will be less than the combination of funding for the prior separately funded programs, FDOT will use the funding flexibility in MAP-21 to fully fund Safe Routes to Schools and recreational trails.

Details of the MAP-21 legislation and what it means for Florida will be explained in a two-part Webinar being conducted by the Florida Department of Transportation on September 5, 2012.  For more information, please go to MAP-21-FL.com.
Consistent, Predictable, Repeatable


Click here for the letter from Governor Scott to Secretary LaHood.

Click here to read article in 9/1 Florida Current

Click here to read 9/2 Orlando article.
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Lee County's online Horizon 2035 "Town Hall" adds three more topics for public comment

In an earlier blog post, we announced the new online "Town Hall" public forum launched by Lee County Administration, and the opportunity for public input to the Horizon 2035 Lee Plan amendments.  The County is adding elements for comment as they become available.  Last week they posted three more for comment--economy, community safety; and conservation & coastal management. It's up to YOU to become part of this exciting interactive community conversation!


Horizon 2035 "Town Hall":

A new vision of Lee County in 2035 – an economically and environmentally desirable place to live, work and visit – was crafted from public suggestions made at 12 workshops. Now, it’s time to revise Lee County’s growth management plans to bring that vision of a Livable Lee to reality. The most important changes to the Lee Plan are highlighted here. Will they get us to our vision? Here’s your chance for a final “thumbs up” – or a last-minute tweak of the elements as we present them over the next few months. 

Click here to sign-up to participate in this conversation.

  • Invest in Lee:  Economy

    Invest in Lee: Economy

    WHY SHOULD YOU CARE?
    If you care about jobs, you should care about this element. The recent economic downturn spotlights the importance of a strong local economy. It also draws attention to the county’s role in job creation and fiscal stability. The county supports policies to stimulate historically important job centers, such as tourism and construction.
    WHAT ARE THE CHANGES?
    The Economic Element now emphasizes economic diversification through business retention, expansion of existing business, and recruitment of targeted employers. In addition to supporting Lee’s traditional job base, this element also recognizes that more needs to be done to stimulate a diverse economy and to create more high-wage jobs, especially for the young. The economic strategy includes building partnerships and promoting innovation, fiscal responsibility and transparency in government.



  • Live Strong & Long: Community Safety & Wellbeing

    Live Strong & Long: Community Safety & Wellbeing

    WHY SHOULD YOU CARE?
    Because if you don’t have your health – you have nothing. This element is about keeping people safe and healthy in Lee County. As the county grows, greater demands are placed on hospitals, police, fire and EMS. Planning strategies should ensure that these demands are met today, tomorrow and in the future. A growing and aging population has an impact on the County’s preparedness for and response to natural disasters and public health emergencies. People living sedentary and unhealthy lifestyles create additional challenges to public health as well.
    WHAT ARE THE CHANGES?
    This new element also includes a new goal – Healthy Lifestyles. Objectives for this new goal address urban design, recreational opportunities, and alternative transportation. In addition, this element includes a new objective under the Environmental Hazards goal to address wildfire safety through fire safety education. This element includes ideas to promote healthier lifestyles through better urban design, increased recreational opportunities, and transportation options, including walking and bicycling.



  • Surf & Turf: Conservation & Coastal Management

    Surf & Turf: Conservation & Coastal Management

    WHY SHOULD YOU CARE?
    If you care about the natural environment, wildlife, clean water, the housing market or our tourism-based economy, you should care about the management of conservation and coastal areas. They provide groundwater recharge for clean water, protection from floods and storms, and habitat for our native wildlife. Environmental and coastal features are critical for the county’s economy and are important recreational, cultural and educational resources. They make Florida unique – bringing us tourists, families purchasing vacation or second homes, and entrepreneurs bringing their businesses to an attractive, clean and natural environment.
    WHAT ARE THE CHANGES?
    The Conservation and Coastal Management Element now clearly separates the environmental conservation and coastal management sections of the chapter. It addresses how coastal and conservation areas contribute to the sustainability of Lee County, and it emphasizes how environmental resources support our economic needs.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

New national report on complete streets highlights Lee County policy

Last week, the National Complete Streets Coalition issued a new report and companion workbook which highlights successful Complete Streets policies from across the United States. The report highlights the top scoring policies by jurisdiction type and Lee County is listed as one of the top 5 county policies in the country and its implementation plan was highlighted as a model.  Kudos to the Lee County Complete Streets team!  Below is the note posted by NCSC with the release of the reports.


cs-2011-policy-analysis-coverCommunities across the United States adopted 146 Complete Streets policies in 2011, and over 350 policies are now in place across the country. A new report looks at some of the best of these policies, and a new resource can help community leaders bring these practices to their town or city.

The National Complete Streets Coalition’s 2011 Policy Analysis analyzes the over 350 Complete Streets policies that have been approved by communities across the country. These policies are working to make streets safer, more livable and more welcoming for everyone, and the 2011 Policy Analysis surveys the most successful and robust.

“It’s great to see such a surge in Complete Streets policy adoption over the past year,” said National Complete Streets Coalition Director Roger Millar. “But this growth is also reflective of changing times and attitudes about transportation.”

Local policies of particular note are highlighted throughout the report, providing a comprehensive examination of best policy practices across the country. Complete Streets policies in New Jersey, Louisiana, California, Minnesota, and Connecticut are among the report’s most successful examples.
cs-policy-workbookAccompanying the new report is the latest edition of the Complete Streets Local Policy Workbook. This introductory guide serves as a starting point for transportation experts and interested local leaders to begin mapping out their own Complete Streets policies.

Download the reports:
Complete Streets 2011 Policy Analysis
Complete Streets Local Policy Workbook

Monday, August 20, 2012

Lee County Commission Candidates in November general election & their views on BikeWalkLee issues



  In July, prior to the primary election, we posted responses from all BoCC candidates  to BikeWalkLee's questionnaire.  Now that the primary is over, here are the responses to our questionnaire from the candidates that will be on the November ballot.
The local 2012 election for county commissioners (BoCC) is important for the future direction of Lee County and its commitment to complete streets and a balanced multi-modal transportation system.  This year, four of the five county commissioner seats are up for election.  For each seat, there are at least two candidates in the general election.
On June 18th, BikeWalkLee sent a questionnaire to all 12 candidates, and, to date, we've received responses from nine candidates.  It is important to BikeWalkLee to elect county commissioners who support our values and vision.  This election will determine whether the policy framework put in place over the past three years to make our streets safer and more accessible to all users will continue and result in changes on the ground for Lee County residents.
What did we hear from the candidates?  First, we'd like to thank the candidates who responded to our questionnaire with thorough and thoughtful responses. 
 
We asked five questions:-- implementation of complete streets, the Comprehensive Plan amendments and integration of land use and transportation, cost-saving changes to road projects, transit, and support for replacing road impact fees with a mobility fee plan.

We have compiled into one document the responses from the candidates who are on the November ballot, organized by the five districts.  Note: We have not received any responses from candidates in District 5. Click here to read all the responses.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Lee MPO Board moves forward to develop Bicycle Pedestrian Safety Action Plan



 At the August 17th Lee MPO Board meeting, the Board unanimously approved the scope of services for the Bicycle Pedestrian Safety Action Plan. The scope had been developed by MPO staff and the Bicycle and Pedestrian Coordinating Committee, and also recommended by the TAC and CAC committees.  This Action Plan is being done to help reduce bicycle and pedestrian injury and fatality crashes through a wide range of recommended activities that will be identified as part of this project.

     At Friday's meeting, Steve Chupack, representing BikeWalkLee, spoke in support of the development of this plan.

      As Steve Chupack stated, one of the reasons that BikeWalkLee is committed to complete streets for Lee County is because we know that complete streets are safer streets.  We have a problem here in Florida-- the most dangerous state in the country for both pedestrians and cyclists; and Lee County's numbers are no better than the state average, meaning it's all too dangerous here for walkers and cyclists. Improving the safety of our roadways for all users is important to providing transportation choices for our citizens.
·          
      BikeWalklee believes that the efforts to improve safety in our community will require the involvement of a broad array of stakeholders and tools.  We need better data so that factual analysis can drive the search for solutions.  We need more education of all road users about the rules of the road and their responsibilities.  We need better enforcement of the laws protecting pedestrians and cyclists.  And we need improvements in roadway designs to help create solutions.  

·         The MPO's bike/ped master plan adopted in May 2011 called for the establishment of a bike/ped safety program and the development of this Action Plan is the first step in this process.
·        
      BikeWalkLee looks forward to participating in the development of this Action Plan and working to ensure the implementation of the Plan when it's adopted in the Fall of 2013.  We need to make safety improvements a top priority in our funding processes, and keep our eyes on the goal of this effort --to greatly reduce the incidence of pedestrian and cyclist fatalities and serious injuries in our community.
·        
      At Friday's MPO meeting, BikeWalklee's representative urged all the jurisdictions and agencies that have a role in bike/ped safety to actively participate in the development of this important Action Plan.

Review of New Horizon 2035 Lee Plan elements continues



 BikeWalkLee has been participating in this year-long process of updating the Lee Plan to ensure that the complete streets/sustainability focus in the EAR is carried through in the actual Comp Plan amendments.
 
Background:  Horizon 2035 is a comprehensive review and update of the Lee Plan through the year 2035. The Evaluation and Appraisal Report (EAR) adopted by the Commissioners in early 2011 resulted in a sustainable vision for growth and development. The County is now using this vision as the basis to update the Lee Plan’s goals, objectives and policies. Over the past year, the staff has been presenting draft Comp Plan language for each of the elements in the Plan.

The next two elements will be presented to the LPA on Monday, August 27th at 8:30 a.m. in the Board Chambers in downtown Fort Myers.  Click here for links to the materials:

1.  Character and Form:  This new element, as recommended in the EAR,  sets a planning framework for how the county will be designed.  It creates the context for the development of urban, suburban, and rural communities, and directs the planning and development of the county's mixed-use places.

2.  Housing:  This updated element provides policy guidance regarding the provision of safe and sanitary housing at affordable costs.  The element addresses issues of housing availability, farmworker housing, substandard housing affordability, and persons who have special housing needs and neighborhoods.

The public is encouraged to attend the LPA meetings and there is an opportunity for public comment at the meetings.   Both of these elements will be reviewed at the September 19th (6 p.m.) meeting of the County's Community Sustainability Advisory Committee.





 As announced earlier, Lee County has a new way for the public to participate in the development of the Lee Plan updates--the new “Lee County Town Hall” virtual public forum at www.leecountytownhall.com. This interactive website invites residents to share opinions and ideas on proposed county projects.
 

Explore Lee County Town Hall at your convenience.  The registration process is free and easy to share your own ideas and support those you like.

Click here to sign-up to participate in this conversation.




Press Release: FLORIDA ORGANIZATIONS UNITE BEHIND TRANSPORTATION VISION


On August 10th, BikeWalkLee was one of several Florida advocacy organizations that sent a letter to FDOT about MAP-21 implementation. (Click here for letter to FDOT).  On August 17th, the following press release was issued from Tallahassee, which includes a quote from BikeWalkLee.

August 17, 2012 Press Release 


FLORIDA ORGANIZATIONS UNITE BEHIND TRANSPORTATION VISION
Broad coalition says state must support funding for safer, more balanced system

TALLAHASSEE, FLA - Florida’s leading active transportation advocates are united in calling for a more balanced transportation system—including increased investment in walking, bicycling and trail facilities—to meet the urgent needs of Florida’s communities.

The new federal transportation bill recently enacted by Congress, MAP-21, provides less guaranteed funding for biking and walking and gives states the ability to "opt out" of some programs. However, states also have the flexibility to maximize funds available for bicycle and pedestrian projects under the new Transportation Alternatives program, as well as using the larger core transportation and safety funds to increase the safety and convenience of biking and walking.

Florida’s top transportation advocates are calling on the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) to continue funding for bike/ped programs. They are also urging FDOT to integrate alternative transportation options into its implementation of the new federal law. "Bicyclists, pedestrians and motor vehicles are all equal legal road users in the state of Florida, so as planners, engineers and advocates we have an obligation to provide for safe and effective access to our roads for all modes of transportation,” says Tim Bustos with the Florida Bicycle Association.

But with the recent passage of MAP-21, there is much less dedicated funding for bicycle and pedestrian projects, and the state has much more authority to use these limited funds for other purposes—even though Florida has been rated as the most dangerous state in the country to walk or ride a bike. “We are hoping this new effort on the part of Florida's major walking and biking organizations to work with the Florida Department of Transportation will help ensure funding is spent where it's needed—making Florida safer for all road users,” says Bustos.

This display of unity among the state’s leading advocacy organizations demonstrates the enormous support for active transportation—human-powered mobility—and for more transportation choices for individuals. These statewide and regional organizations represent millions of Floridians who walk, bike and use trails each year.

“Trails are transportation facilities that pull double duty as economic engines and recreational facilities for improved community health,” says Ken Bryan, Florida state director for Rails-to-Trails Conservancy. “In Orange County, the East Central Regional Planning Council found that three trails contributed $42.6 million dollars to the local economy and supported 516 jobs.”

FDOT has made a stated commitment to address Florida's ranking as the most dangerous state in America for pedestrians and cyclists. MAP-21 offers transportation officials an opportunity to act on this commitment by making the safety of pedestrians and cyclists a transportation priority.

"Lee County has shown strong support for complete streets and increased investments in bike/ped facilities during the past three years,” says Darla Letourneau of BikeWalkLee. “We hope that FDOT will adopt the recommendations proposed by the coalition of advocacy organizations, including BikeWalkLee, so that local officials and agencies will have the funding they need to continue moving forward on providing a more balanced multi-modal transportation system for the citizens of Lee County. It is also important that FDOT establish a truly performance-based system that ensures that Florida's transportation dollars are achieving the intended results of making our roadways safe and accessible for all users.”
_
 This coalition is made up of 10 of the state’s leading transportation and environmental organizations coming together as one voice for MAP-21 federal legislation implementation to ensure a safer Florida with more transportation choices. The coalition includes: Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, Florida Bicycle Association, Green Mobility Network, BikeWalkLee, Naples Pathways Coalition, South Florida Audubon Society, Smart Growth Partnership, Florida Greenways and Trails Foundation, South West Florida Bicycle United Dealers, and Friends of the River of Grass Greenway.


Tuesday, August 14, 2012

City of Sanibel's new Bike Safety Video

         Kudos to the City of Sanibel and its Police Department for producing and distributing this "bike safety" video which promotes bicycle safety on the island's shared use path system and roadways.  Thanks to Sanibel for its efforts to promote safety!
Full Color City Logo
"Bike Safety" Available for Viewing

Bike Safety


Today, the City of Sanibel released "Bike Safety," an educational video that promotes bicycle safety practices on the Island's Shared Use Path system and roadways. Residents and visitors can now view "Bike Safety" on www.mysanibel.com, the City's YouTube channel and the City's Facebook page. This video educates viewers while in the comfort of their own homes or anywhere they are connected to the Internet.  

Monday, August 13, 2012

Dan Moser's letter to editor re: teen struck by hit-and-run


A student heading to her bus stop is struck by a hit-and-run driver who left the roadway to do so, and the school district’s response is to say there must be more efforts made to educate students about bus stop safety.

It goes without saying that all vulnerable road users should be aware of and practice safe behavior, especially in low-light conditions, but the school district fell right into the “blame the victim” mentality that encourages us to continue driving our weapons (i.e. motor vehicles) with the mindset that “those pesky pedestrians and bicyclists should know to stay out of our way.”


In this case, just as in the killing of Tracey Kleinpell by “sleepy” driver Theresa Shirley on the shoulder of the Sanibel Causeway, that mentality apparently applies even when off the roadway.

There are plenty of educational resources available to the school district and individuals that are free or of minimal expense. These include Florida Traffic and Bicycle Safety Education Program, which trains teachers and community volunteers to educate pedestrians and bicyclists, Lee Memorial Health System’s Young Driver Program, and the Sheriff’s Office Teen Driver Challenge. Unfortunately, each of these resources is underutilized, both by the general public and school district.

Dan Moser, Fort Myers

Friday, August 10, 2012

Florida advocacy groups send letter to FDOT on MAP-21 implementation recommendations


 On August 10th, BikeWalkLee joined forces with nine other statewide and local advocacy organizations throughout Florida to write a joint letter with recommendations to FDOT for implementation of MAP-21.  Click here to read the full letter.



 



 

 


August 10th, 2012


 
MEMORANDUM

TO:
Secretary Ananth Prasad, Florida Dept. of Transportation

FROM:
Florida Bicycle Association - Tim Bustos, Tim@floridabicyle.org
 Green Mobility Network - John Hopkins, John@greenmobilitynetwork.org
Rails-to-Trails Conservancy - Ken Bryan, Ken@railstotrails.org
BikeWalkLee - Darla Letourneau, dletourneau@bikewalklee.org
Naples Pathways Coalition - Michelle Avola Reese, Michelle.Avola@gmail.com
South Florida Audubon Society - Doug Young, dyoung@southfloridaaudubon.org
Smart Growth Partnership – Marianne Whitfield, mariannewinfield@aol.com
Florida Greenways and Trails Foundation – W. Dale Allen, wm.dale.allen@gmail.com
South West Florida Bicycle United Dealers – Alan Snel, alansnel@yahoo.com
Friends of the River of Grass Greenway - Maureen Bonness, maureenb@evergladesROGG.org

RE:  Proposal to Florida Department of Transportation:
MAP-21 Implementation Recommendations


We the undersigned organizations request that the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) implement the MAP-21 legislation in a way that fully funds, staffs, and implements the new Transportation Alternatives program as well as continues the Safe Routes to Schools (SRTS) and Recreational Trails (Rec Trails) programs.  All of these programs should maximize Florida's investments in safe and accessible streets in all transportation projects and work towards better connecting our communities with alternative transportation systems.  With Florida's ranking as the most dangerous state in the nation for pedestrians and cyclists, and FDOT's stated commitment to addressing this problem, MAP-21 offers FDOT an opportunity to demonstrate its commitment by making the safety of pedestrians and cyclists its #1 transportation priority. 

It is hoped that by coming together as a common voice, and communicating our joint vision for this new federal legislation, it will demonstrate unity amongst many of the state’s leading advocacy organizations that support walking, bicycling, trails and alternative transportation and, as such, have impact and be considered useful.

Recommendations for MAP-21 implementation: 
We respectfully request that FDOT include the following elements in its implementation of the federal transportation bill:

1.  No transfer of ANY funds away from Transportation Alternatives (TA) – and continue a focus on walking, bicycling and trail facilities;

2.  Fund the Recreational Trails program at the previous funding level and not opt-out;

3.  Maintain the Safe Routes to School program at the previous funding level along with coordinators and bicycle-pedestrian program managers;

4.  Promptly award Transportation Alternatives grants with relevant stakeholders participating;

5.  Preserve spending authority to allow for 100% obligation and expenditure of these program funds;

6.  Honor the commitment to all previously awarded SRTS, TE and Rec Trails program projects.  Preserve TE reserves from SAFETEA-LU to provide funding where the specific project has not been identified in the 2012-2017 STIP.  For these funds, adopt a list of eligible projects which matches the SAFETEA-LU Transportation Enhancements project eligibility criteria, minus categories that were specifically eliminated in MAP-21 such as transportation museums;

7.  Adopt a complete streets program to ensure that the needs of all users are taken into account on all transportation projects and programs;

8.  Implement the new performance measurement provisions to fully integrate alternative transportation into the state's goals and measures;

9.  Use the strengthened and outcome-based safety program in MAP-21 to make reducing Florida's bike/ped fatality rates its #1 priority and revamp Florida's Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP) towards achieving that outcome.

10.  Use Surface Transportation Funds to cover any potential shortfalls in the 5-year State Transportation Improvement (STIP) and supplement TA funds with flexible funds, such as the Surface Transportation Program (STP), to both honor existing projects in the pipeline previously approved under Transportation Enhancements (TE), SRTS and Rec Trails programs and move these activities forward under MAP-21.  Restore available funds to current levels.

Updated schedule and process for review of New Horizon 2035 Lee Plan elements


BikeWalkLee has been participating in this year-long process of updating the Lee Plan to ensure that the complete streets/sustainability focus in the EAR is carried through in the actual Comp Plan amendments.  This summer we have been advocating for the schedule to be revised to provide more time for analysis and review of the draft elements  by the committees and the public, and for an online interactive way for the public to participate in the process.  This week County staff presented its new schedule and unveiled a new online public participation tool.

Background:  Horizon 2035 is a comprehensive review and update of the Lee Plan through the year 2035. The Evaluation and Appraisal Report (EAR) adopted by the Commissioners in early 2011 resulted in a sustainable vision for growth and development. The County is now using this vision as the basis to update the Lee Plan’s goals, objectives and policies. Over the past year, the staff has been presenting draft Comp Plan language for each of the 15 elements in the Plan.
Check the Horizon 2035 webpage for the latest papers and schedule.  

Revised Schedule and Process:
At Tuesday's County Board meeting, staff presented the timeline and milestones going forward:

Schedule for Review of Remaining Elements by Committees:
(Note: draft elements become available to the public 10 days prior to the LPA committee review.  Check the County's Horizon 2035 webpage for documents.)

  • Communities Element--reviewed by LPA in July & will be reviewed by CSAC at Aug. 15th meeting
  • Community Facilities Element--reviewed by LPA in July  & will be reviewed by CSAC at Aug. 15th meeting
  • Housing Element--to be reviewed by LPA at Aug. 27th meeting & CSAC at Sept. 19th meeting.
  • Character & Form Element--LPA on Aug. 27th & CSAC on Sept. 19th
  • Transportation Element--LPA on Sept. 24th & CSAC on Oct. 17th
  • Land Use Element--LPA on Oct. 29th & CSAC on Nov. 21st
  • Glossary Element--LPA on Nov. 26 & CSAC on Dec. 19th
  • Administration Element--LPA on Nov. 26th CSAC on Dec. 19th
  • Review complete revised Lee Plan--LPA in Dec. and CSAC in Jan.
 Want to Attend Committee Meetings? 
  • The LPA meets on Monday mornings at 8:30 a.m. in the County Board chambers. 
  • The CSAC meetings on Wednesday evenings at 6:00 p.m. in the conference room of Admin Building (2115 Second Streets, Fort Myers). 
At both committees there is an opportunity for public comments and the public is encouraged to participate.

Public Workshops:
At Tuesday's BoCC meeting, staff announced plans for a series of public workshops, which will present the draft elements for public input.
·         There will be a workshop for each community panel.
·         There will be a full day open house/workshop with all the maps for the development community to discuss with staff one-on-one their questions and concerns about the maps.
·          The input from these public workshops will be incorporated into the revised elements before the 2nd round and final review of each element goes to the LPA and the CSAC.
As soon as the schedule is available for these workshops, we will let you know.


New online Horizon 2035 Town Hall Public Forum:
As outlined in our earlier blog, the public has an exciting new way to participate in the conversation.  Currently, the first 5 of the 15 elements are posted for input.  As the remaining elements are completed, they will be posted, so check back periodically for the latest.  Please click this link to learn more and to sign-up today to begin participating in this online forum.  Input from this forum will be reflected in the 2nd draft of the elements before they go back to the LPA and CSAC for a final review.

  BoCC Process:        
·         A half day BoCC workshop is planned for January 2013, after LPA and CSAC final review (which incorporates edits from 1st review, input from public workshops, and any changes in 2nd round review).
·         There will be a 3-day Comp Plan transmittal hearing at the BoCC sometime in the Spring, then the plan will go to the state for 60 day review & then adoption.

 Report by Darla Letourneau