Comprehensive Plan 2030
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Second public meeting planned for February 27
A workshop to continue the update process of the city’s Comprehensive Plan will be held on Wednesday, February 27 from 5:00pm-7:30pm in The Alcazar Room at City Hall. The public is invited.
St. Augustine adopted its current Comprehensive Plan in 1997 which was approved in 1999 and is now undergoing a review process which lays the groundwork for a full update of the plan for 2015-2025. This review process is to create an Evaluation and Appraisal Report, commonly referred to as an EAR, began last month in a public meeting held on January 29. The workshop will be conducted by the Northeast Florida Regional Planning Council.
In 1985, the Florida Legislature created the Local Government Comprehensive Planning and Land Development Regulation Act, also known as Florida's Growth Management Act, which requires counties and municipalities to adopt Local Government Comprehensive Plans to guide future growth and development. Once a local government drafts and adopts a plan, including holding numerous public hearings, the plan is reviewed by the state’s Department of Community Affairs and either approved or sent back for revisions.
Even though St. Augustine is a stable community with little population growth, it still faces challenges from an aging infrastructure system and the rapid growth of St. Johns County. As the city continues to evolve, it has to amend its comprehensive plan to address its future needs. The EAR process will provide the opportunity to identify and analyze major issues for the community that is related to the comprehensive plan and to propose actions to address them.
Future meetings will be announced and the public is invited to present its input. For more information, contact the city’s Planning and Building Department at 904.825.1065. Also, links to helpful resources are provided below.
Quick Q&A on the EAR
Q: What is the Evaluation and Appraisal Report?
A: The Evaluation and Appraisal Report, commonly called EAR, is an update of the city’s Comprehensive Plan, which is required to be done every seven years.
Q: What is the Comprehensive Plan?
A: The Comprehensive Plan is a document which broadly defines the goals, objectives, and policies for a wide variety of topics, called elements, relating to the city’s growth management.
Q: Does the EAR process result in changes in the zoning of properties within the city?
A: No, the EAR does not address the zoning code directly, although, the zoning code must be consistent with the Comprehensive Plan. For instance, under the Future Land Use element the plan may specify that a specific area is to be low density residential, but the zoning within that area would define specific rules, such as lot coverage, height restrictions, etc.
Q: What types of things will the EAR address?
A: The city current plan includes 13 elements: future land use, traffic circulation, housing, sanitary sewer, solid waste, stormwater management, potable water, aquifer recharge, conservation and coastal management, recreation and open space, intergovernmental coordination, capital improvements and historic preservation. Additionally a school concurrency element has been proposed and is pending approval by the City Commission and state agencies.
Q: How will the EAR address these elements?
A: The EAR will start with a list of “major issues,” which is the initial step to accommodate other suggestions, additions or deletions to each element of the Comprehensive Plan.
Q: After the list of major issues is produced, what is the next step?
A: The list of major issues is accepted by the State of Florida, Department of Community Affairs and becomes the basis for revisions to the EAR. These changes will go through a public hearing to introduce the new proposed EAR and another public hearing for any final revisions, prior to transmittal to the State for final adoption.
Q: Can the Comprehensive Plan be revised after this process has been completed?
A: Yes, the City can transmit changes to the Comprehensive Plan twice during the calendar year. These can include changes to the text of the document or any associated maps. Some map amendments are exempt from the twice per year rule.