Sunday, December 11, 2011
More position papers for review in New Horizon 2035 Lee Plan update process
As reported in an earlier blog post, 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 the spring 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.
Before drafting goals and policies, the County is presenting a series of issue papers to the Local Planning Agency (LPA) and the Sustainability Committee for input. There are now 4 more issue papers out for review, which will be discussed at the December 16th LPA meeting, held at 8:30 a.m. in the Board Chambers in downtown Fort Myers.
The four new papers are:
A. Economic Market Assumptions
Highlights: market research has shifted its emphasis to conducting analysis based on each of the five existing generational populations to better predict attitudes, needs and wants of the consumer.
The paper presents the research and asks the following questions as they apply to Lee County:
If Baby Boomers are indeed planning on aging in place, does the recent housing slump mean we may already have enough suburban type housing and land use in Lee County? Has too much already been permitted but not yet constructed? How do we as a County respond to Generation X’s need for a variety of housing choices while ensuring that the environment and environmentally‐sensitive lands are preserved and protected? And lastly, with Generation Y’s preference for urban living, can we identify appropriate locations and transition existing land use characteristics to a more mixed‐use setting.
B. Interchanges Framework
Highlights: I‐75 acts as a barrier; it restricts east‐west vehicular, transit, bicycle and pedestrian travel. There are a total of twelve existing and two planned road crossings. The interchange areas act as a gateway or funnel of east‐west travel in Lee County. The paper considers several recommended changes to the land use categories to reduce these barriers.
C. Mixed-Use Strategies
Highlights: The paper reviews the history of Lee County’s efforts to achieve mixed-use and asks the question: If the County has been supporting and promoting mixed use developments in their planning efforts for 30 years, why hasn’t the County seen more progress in the creation of mixed use places?
The opportunities for the County to transition from its current suburban development pattern to a true urban form in the proposed planning horizon of 2035 are limited. A two tiered approach appears to be the best solution. First, identify the location of two to four true urban areas where the County, along with affected property owners, targets true urbanism by providing the necessary infrastructure and services. Second, is the development of a permissive/flexible tool within specified future land use designation that provides an expanded opportunity for the development of mixed use areas?
This approach accepts the reality that large areas of the county will not transform into urban development while still allowing and encouraging mixed‐use development to take place.
D. Lehigh Acres
Highlights: The paper focuses on the issue of what should be done to address the specific concerns of the Lehigh Acres Planning Community throughout the Lee Plan. Following this, how can the Lee Plan be modified to address community needs?
Bike WalkLee is participating in this year-long process to ensure that the complete streets/sustainability focus in the EAR is carried through in the actual Comp Plan amendments. We encourage you to participate in this process.