Assistant Director, PEO Department
COUNTY CELEBRATES STATE PLANNING AWARD AND COMMUNITY PLANNING MONTH
On October 8th, Nassau County will be celebrating National Community Planning Month and the recent statewide planning award won by the Nassau County Planning and Economic Opportunity (PEO) Department. Both will be recognized during a proclamation at the Board of County Commissioners meeting on Monday, October 8 at 6pm in BOCC Chambers, 96135 Nassau Place, Yulee, Florida.
National Community Planning Month is promoted each October through the American Planning Association. As noted by the APA, this “is a time to highlight the important role of planning in our communities. Planning can be summed up as comprehensive, community-focused and enhancing choices. While many people may not realize it, planning has a significant impact on their day-to-day life. From where they live, to how they commute, to the type of home they live in, planning plays a vital role in a person’s life and well-being. Planning is essential for our communities to prosper and maintain balance and cohesiveness.”
The Nassau County PEO Department has been very busy working to help the community and citizens plan for the future, especially in the face of growth pressures impacting the County. As Taco Pope, AICP and PEO Director explains, “As Nassau enters this period of population expansion, it is imperative the community make planning, policy and design decisions that that put people at the center of the equation – establishing a people-first agenda. Such an agenda prioritizes citizen wellbeing, quality-of-life and generational sustainability.” Planning staff, after listening and working with community members, are facilitating many numerous long-range planning projects that aim to help the County prosper and maintain balance and cohesiveness.
One such project is the William Burgess Overlay District. In September, the Nassau County Planning and Economic Opportunity Department won the American Planning Association-Florida Chapter award for Best Practices, one of only three statewide Best Practices awards this year, for the Burgess Overlay. The Burgess Overlay and associated Vision Book represent a philosophical shift in land use planning in Nassau County away from the auto-dependent development pattern that has dominated growth and towards a sustainable, compact, mixed-use and multi-modal development pattern. The intent of the WBD is to utilize the built environment to promote strong social ties and the cultivation of community, highlight Nassau’s railroad history to facilitate an authentic sense of place experience, and take advantage of multi-modal transportation opportunities in a growing part of Yulee. Interim County Manager and County Attorney Michael Mullin said, “The award is a huge accolade for Nassau County and Taco and his entire staff. Taco and the PEO Department are truly statewide leaders in planning. The award also reaffirms the benefit of public-private partnerships thanks to Greg Matovina.”
“In my 30+ years of developing communities across Northeast Florida, it is rare where I have seen the Planning Department evaluating one of our proposed developments looking ahead 25 years and working collaboratively with us so that we could develop a successful community…the PEO Department in Nassau County led by Taco Pope has clear vision that is needed to make Nassau County grow responsibly and thrive,” said Greg Matovina of Matovina and Company. Matovina and Company are the first development team to pursue a project within the William Burgess Overlay; as an example, as part of their development, they are working with the County on a public-private partnership for recreation facilities.
Nassau County looks forward to more proactive planning opportunities to ensure Nassau County maintains its high quality of life and is the best county in Florida in which to live, work, and play. More information on the William Burgess Overlay can be found at www.nassaucountyfl.com/burgessoverlay.
The Nassau County Planning and Economic Opportunity Department is charged with leading long-range and current planning for the community, with a focus on technical planning, implementation and management of the Land Development Code and Comprehensive Plan, development and site plan review, and assistance to citizens, the Board of County Commissioners, County Manager and other staff, advisory boards, government agencies, and the private sector regarding growth and development in Nassau County. For more information on our Plan, Code, or current initiatives, visit www.nassaucountyfl.com/planning, call (904) 530-6300 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.