Friday, January 31, 2014

Invite to Feb. 21st Seminar: "Mixed-Use Development that Sells"

Here's a chance to hear from the Sarasota team that developed Citrus Square, an award-winning downtown residential and commercial community. 
‘Mixed-Use Development That Sells’Luncheon and Seminar  -- Feb 21, 2014 

A walkable, downtown, infill development –Citrus Square features beautiful condominium living above ground-level shops and restaurants, outdoor cafes, green spaces and an open plaza. Artfully incorporated green , energy efficient features with careful, knowledge-based site design and alternative stormwater management enhance this desirable living experience.  Fronted by a tree-lined street with wide sidewalks, curbside parking and two transit stops, Citrus Square offers residents and patrons the healthy ease of an active, connected , multimodal lifestyle.

WHERE: Pinchers Crab Shack at The Marina at Edison Ford
(formerly Royal Palm Yacht Club)
2360 W. First Street
Fort Myers, FL 33901

COST: FREE - lunch included

WHEN:  Friday, February 21
12 noon—2:30 p.m.

Space is limited; must  RSVP by February 17th:

AICP CM Credits are in the works for this presentation

Why we need good comprehensive plans

 This week's national "Better! Cities and Towns" newsletter contained a timely article about comprehensive plans written by Bill Spikowski, FAICP, of Spikowski Planning Associates in Fort Myers (a BikeWalkLee supporter organization).  As Lee County is nearing the end of the Horizon 2035 Comp Plan amendments process, this article reminds us of the importance of a good comp plan and its implementation.

Easy steps can be taken to provide more vision and effectiveness for a municipal road map to the future.

Bill Spikowski, Better! Cities and Towns
 Note: This article is in the January-February print issue of BCT.

Most cities and towns have a comprehensive plan, an earnest document intended to guide elected and appointed officials as they make decisions about the future. Some comprehensive plans are quickly forgotten; others are followed literally when land is being rezoned and infrastructure expansion are being considered.

How can you tell if a comprehensive plan has become stale, meaningless, or even harmful? Watch for these tell-tale signs:

  • When the vision described in the plan sounds like it was written thirty years ago – or the plan is vision-free.
  • When the comprehensive plan has to be retrofitted to allow walkable neighborhoods or “complete streets.”
  • When rezoning applications routinely require amendments to the comprehensive plan.
  • When the city engineer insists he must widen a road to meet the plan’s level-of-service standards, despite adopted complete-streets policies.
  • When the future land-use map in the plan looks like a zoning map, breaking the community into single-use monocultures.
  • When the plan is no longer being implemented.

It doesn’t have to stay that way! A tool with such authority and potential is a great opportunity for a community to identify and respond to current challenges and opportunities.

Comprehensive plans are so-named because they address the local government’s entire area and cover a variety of topics including transportation, utilities, housing, and the environment. These plans, known as general plans in many states, usually contain a future land-use map and related goals and policies that can be a strong positive force in redirecting ingrained habits about how a community should grow (or not grow, as circumstances dictate).

Communities across the country take advantage of the comprehensive planning process to set a new course for their future. The best comprehensive plans define and protect natural features and farmland, are explicit about the nature of the future street network, and have future land-use maps that establish the desired character of existing and future urban areas.

The examples highlighted here just graze the surface of what has been happening recently in comprehensive planning.

  • Somerville, MA
  • Nashville, TN
  • Raleigh, NC
  • El Paso, TX  
Effective comprehensive plans identify the specific steps to be taken after the plan is adopted to implement the plan. These can include better methods of selecting capital improvements, new annexation policies, and zoning-code overhauls.

Without thorough implementation, a comprehensive plan’s true potential has been wasted.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

New Horizon 2035 Lee Plan Feb./March schedule for completing revised elements review

The final phase of the Comp Plan (Horizon 2035) update process is scheduled to be completed in February and March, when the remaining revised elements are reviewed  The update process moves the County forward towards the goal of revising Lee County's growth management plans to bring the vision of a Livable Lee to reality.  The schedule for what revised elements will be reviewed by the committees in the next two months is provided below.
Over the past two years, the county staff and its committees have been working through the elements of the Comp Plan Horizon 2035 update, following the vision adopted in the County's 2011 Evaluation and Appraisal Report (EAR).  This new vision of Lee County in 2035 - an economically and environmentally desirable place to live, work and visit - was crafted through an extensive community planning effort that included over 40 public workshops. The Comp Plan update process is revising Lee County’s growth management plans to bring that vision of a Livable Lee to reality. 
In June, the Local Planning Agency (LPA) completed its first round review of all the Comp Plan elements, and the Community Sustainability Advisory Committee (CSAC) completed its review in May. The Horizon Council also reviewed the plan with staff over the past four months.  Over the past four months, county planning staff also conducted 43 public workshops to discuss the key changes in the Comp Plan that are being proposed.  Finally, the County's online Town Hall tool (New Horizon 2035) provided another opportunity for citizens to comment and provide their input.

Over the summer, the staff started the process of revising the elements to address these comments.  
Final committee review of elements
 At the September 23rd LPA meeting, and the Oct. 16th CSAC meeting the first three revised Comp Plan amendment elements were reviewed:

The next three elements were reviewed at the Oct. 28th LPA meeting and the Nov. 20th CSAC meeting:
1.  Intergovernmental Coordination
2.  Economic
3.  Housing

The next two elements were reviewed at the November 20th CSAC meeting and the Dec. 4th LPA meeting:
1.  Capital Improvement Element
2.  Conservation and Coastal Management Element 

In January, the committees (CSAC on 1/15/14 and LPA on 1/27) will review the following elements:
  1. Community Facilities and Services
In February, the committees (CSAC on 2/20 and LPA on 2/24) will review the following elements:  [Note that the CSAC working group will review these elements in a meeting on Feb. 17th and present their recommendations to the full CSAC on 2/20.  The Complete Streets working group will jointly review the Transportation element with the CSAC New Horizon working group.]
  1. Community Safety and Well-being
  2. Communities
  3.  Transportation 
In March, the committees (CSAC on 3/19 and LPA on 3/24) will review the following elements: [Note: it is anticipated that the Transportation element discussion will continue into the March meeting.]
  1. Future Land Use
  2. Maps
  3. Glossary
  4. Tables
There is an opportunity for public comment on these elements at every CSAC and LPA meeting, and the public is encouraged to participate.

 BikeWalkLee focus:
Integration of land use and transportation planning is key to complete streets and complete communities, so these two elements will continue to be a major focus of BikeWalkLee's attention. These revised elements are scheduled for review in February and March.

 For background on BikeWalkLee's views, click below:
·        BWL comments to county Local Planning Agency on land use elements (4/5/13)
·        BikeWalkLee overview comments on 10/26/12 Draft Transportation Element (11/25/12)

Monday, January 27, 2014

Upcoming biking/running/walking events

 Check our blog every Monday morning for upcoming running/walking/biking events.

2014 Tour de Cape run

·        Saturday, Feb. 1: Strides for Education 5K walk/run, Edison State College, Fort Myers. 8 a.m. (
·        Saturday, Feb. 8: Commit 2B Fit 5K walk/run, Lakes Regional Park, Fort Myers. 9 a.m. (
·        Saturday, Feb. 8: Run for the Rose Garden, Cape Coral Rotary Club. Rotary Park, Cape Coral. 7:45 a.m. (
·        Saturday, Feb. 15: Edison Fest 5K, downtown Fort Myers.  ( or
·        Saturday Feb. 22: Swamp Stomp 5K. (
·        Sunday, March 2: Hooters Half Marathon, Fort Myers. 7 a.m. (
·        Saturday, March 29: Scope for Hope 5K, Hammond Stadium, Fort Myers. (
2014 Tour de Cape bike ride

Cycling & other events:
·        Saturday, Feb. 8: Fallen Heroes Rides, Trek Bicycle, Estero. 10-, 28- 42- and 62-mile options (
·        Saturday, Feb. 15: Ride for Hope, Bonita Springs. 10- 25- and 50-mile options (
·        Sunday, March 16: Royal Palm Classic, organized by the Caloosa Riders. Details at
·        Saturday, March 29: Walk, Wheel, & Wobble for Ataxia, Florida Gulf Coast University. 10-, 30- and 62-mile rides, 5K run (
·        Sunday, April 13: Immokalee Ride for Literacy, 15-, 30- and 62-mile rides (