Neighborhood Transformation

Neighborhood Transformation
EASTWARD HO!
Saving the Everglades by Restoring the Urban Core

Transcript of Eastward Ho! Report's Policy Recommendations
(Governor's Commission for Sustainable South Florida 1999)


Approaching the millennium, western suburban sprawl and economic downturns have worsened conditions in the eastern urban corridor. By 2020, the population in South Florida is forecast to grow to nearly 6 million people will be competing for the space and resources now claimed by 4.3 million.

The 42 member Governor's Commission for a Sustainable South Florida made it clear in their October 1995 report that the key issues relating to urban sprawl are no longer debatable. The playing field that is now slanted toward growth in western suburbs must be leveled by providing incentives and removing disincentives in the east. What is left of the Everglades must be preserved and rehabilitated. The eastern urban core must be redeveloped without disrupting the existing quality of life in the region. Thus, the birth of the initiative: Eastward Ho!

Specific Recommendations (of the Eastward Report)
  • Designate land uses along selected major transportation corridors and intersections to support public transit

  • Provide incentives for the creation of amenities in the study area's remaining open spaces and along its rivers, canals, and beaches. Support and give priority funding to local government Greenway initiatives within the study area.

  • Ensure Preservation 2000 funds are made available for acquisition of available open space in the study area, specifically those identified as natural resources of regional significance.

  • Maintain existing and, where appropriate, establish new urban development boundaries.

  • Hold informal workshops to encourage and teach the concepts of sustainable quality development to stakeholders. Potential workshop topics could include best development practices and urban design charettes.

  • Evaluate purchasing the FEC right-of-way between Jacksonville and Miami and re-establishing rail passenger service on the FEC rail line.

  • Promote development in the Tri-Rail and FEC rail corridors, specifically within a quarter-mile radius around existing and future transit stations.

  • Encourage local governments and the private sector to use greywater technology in redevelopment and infill projects.

  • Provide incentives to local governments to eliminate septic systems and private potable water wells.

  • Identify resources and incentives to support alternative fuel vehicles along I-95 and the Gold Coast Clean Cities program.

  • Develop a regional capital facilities inventory and needs assessment that assesses the location and capacity of facilities and services in the study area in a comprehensive manner. Include facilities and services that are not addressed in comprehensive plans. This regional inventory should be the coordinating base for the timing and provision of needed public facilities and services to avoid needless duplication and disruption.

  • Develop ways to assist local government in financing the updating of existing infrastructure and installing new infrastructure. Identify a dedicated source of funding for critical infill infrastructure needs. Priority should be based on the regional capital facility inventory and needs assessment.

  • Southeast Florida's existing modes of transportation -- Tri-Rail, county bus systems, bicycle paths and pedestrian routes -- must be strengthened, expanded, interconnected, and coordinated. New transportation options such as high speed rail and passenger service on the FEC tracks should be explored and designed to reinforce and connect with existing transportation options.

  • Public transit connections between the proposed high speed rail stations and regional centers within the Eastern Ho! Study area should be established. These regional centers should include, for example, the downtowns of Miami, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach, the two International Airports at Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach (since Miami will be connected) and the three seaports.

  • Florida Department of Transportation should actively involve the applicable local governments in its consideration of any associated developments. For example, the South Florida Regional Planning Council's Multi-modal Regional Transportation System Committee should continue to be utilized for coordinating high speed rail issues among all local governments in Southeast Florida.

  • The evaluation of system alignments and station locations should give priority consideration to the linkage and support to the Eastward Ho! Study area. As to the proposed western alignment contained in the franchise award, the post-franchise agreement and certification should be made only when the FOX proposed corridor is integrated with the South Florida Water Management District's (SFWMD) East Coast Buffer Plan and other plans for Everglades Ecosystem restoration.

  • Create a regional, public, private and non-profit sector coalition to identify and implement the best ways to retain and strengthen the existing job base as well as expand job and training options in the urban core.

  • Support and supplement public, private, and non-profit sectors initiatives to strengthen existing neighborhoods, encourage community building, and to develop grassroots leadership.

  • Create a Southeast Florida leadership development program. There are examples such as the 1000 Friends of Florida, Leadership Training and Leadership Florida programs which may be used or built on.

  • Provide a variety of housing types and prices that will enable residents within the study area to find safe and affordable housing for all stages of life.

  • Local governments should implement effective code enforcement as a way of discouraging criminal activity and strengthening neighborhoods.

  • Conduct an in-depth analysis of crime, criminal justice and other appropriate social indicators in future phases of Eastward Ho!

  • Convene a public safety forum to explore ways to improve safety and security for all South Floridians without losing a sense of community. Involve law enforcement at all levels, local governments, private sector security and development companies among others.

  • Establish a job training program designed to teach the necessary skills for high growth industry labor markets and future labor force demand.

  • Analyze existing University, Community College and Vocational College Curriculum Systems to assess how future skill and technological training needs are being met.

  • Assess obstacles to revitalization and identify needed changes to remove them.

  • Create opportunities for local governments to exchange techniques and learn from each others' past experience. Although each local government has its own unique character, some of the issues faced in the Eastward Ho! study area are similar.

  • Create a streamlined review process for comprehensive plan amendments in areas designated as urban infill and redevelopment.

  • Support the full implementation of the Sustainable Community legislation.

  • Use accelerated or fast-track permitting that guarantees applicants a quick response for plans which are determined to be appropriate for infill development and redevelopment.

  • Use mixed use, traditional neighborhood, or transit-oriented zoning categories to allow for development uses.

  • Modify public funding programs to eliminate the requirement that an area reach the "slum and blight" stage of deterioration in order to receive assistance.

  • Develop and sign coordination agreements among public and private entities needed to facilitate redevelopment and infill in the study area.

  • Use planned development zoning ordinances which allow flexibility in the review process and eliminate the need for variances in appropriate circumstances.

  • Use performance zoning and flexible zoning and density regulations that limit development by its impacts rather than by particular types of uses.

  • Designate local agencies whose purpose is to accelerate permitting for appropriate types of development or one-stop permitting centers.

  • Reduce fees for particularly needed or desired infill development types.

  • Allocate additional funding for infrastructure improvement and brownfield's cleanup. Pursue a revolving loan fund or endowment to fund this effort.

  • Create incentives for the three counties or state tax assessors' offices to collect and assemble a uniform property database to make it easier to conduct land assembly analysis and facilitate infill and redevelopment activity.

  • Review regulations that apply to redevelopment and infill development related funding mechanisms to determine ways to build in more flexibility.

  • Local governments should identify a staff person to coordinate and manage the various public and private funds available to infill and redevelopment.

  • Identify legislative changes necessary to facilitate land ownership consolidation for infill and redevelopment initiatives.

  • Develop a tax and development fee structure that reflects the true relative costs of different development types.

  • Support the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in its development of a Brownfield Economic Redevelopment Initiative to assist states, communities, and others who are concerned with economic redevelopment in working together to prevent, assess, safely clean up, and reuse brownfield sites.