The comprehensive plan has been the central feature of planning and growth management in Florida since the enactment of the Local Government Comprehensive Planning and Development Regulation Act (Chapter 163 F.S.) in 1985. Each local government is required to maintain a comprehensive plan that meets state standards with amendments subject to state and regional review. Consistency with the comprehensive plan is the overriding standard for all development regulations and implementing actions of local government.
In 2011, the Community Planning Act significantly amended Chapter 163 F.S. notably to reduce the scope of state review and to reinforce the authority of local governments to plan and manage their growth. The Act explicitly stated that the format of the comprehensive plan was a matter of local discretion and that the comprehensive plan was not intended to be regulatory.
While the opportunities for more local control offered by the Community Planning Act are largely welcomed by local government, realizing the benefits is much easier said than done. Almost without exception, local comprehensive plans are complex and highly regulatory. Efforts to reformat and streamline are both technically demanding and froth with legal and political challenges.
In 2014, Gene Boles, FAICP assisted Hillsborough County in the re-forming of it’s comprehensive plan. The tools and techniques developed to support this project can be applied in any Florida community.
Building your community!
The comprehensive plan is your blueprint for building a livable community that balances economy with environment and quality of life.
A good comprehensive plan is?
- Visionary – A shared vision gives direction for your community’s future.
- Comprehensible – The comprehensive plan informs and empowers your planning and growth management efforts. Understandable organization and clear language are essential
- Implementable – Every policy is achievable through the capacity and resources available to your local government.
- Aligned — Plan policies are aligned with your regulations, programs and capital investment capabilities.
- Non-regulatory — Plan policies mandate and direct regulatory strategies but do not directly regulate.
- Legally defensible – The Plan meets the requirements of the Community Planning Act and with the constitutional and legal foundations that guide planning and growth management
- Concise – Fewer, well chosen words, more effectively convey the message .
How well does your comprehensive plan perform? If your community struggles with the Plan and its implementation, a policy—by—policy review may be enlightening. Ask us about methodologies available for this purpose.
An Implementation-centered Approach
An implementation—centered approach embraces two principles:
- the recognition that comprehensive plans depend on regulations, capital investments and programs for effective implementation and
- each goal, objective, and policy must achievable and implementable within the capacity and resources of your community
Your comprehensive plan can be integrated into a streamlined format and aligned with implementing codes and programs.
Gene Boles, FAICP