Page 1





Professional Development

Issue 5, Volume 5 September/October 2012

2011-2013 Board of Directors

Chair Tony Robbins, AICP Vice Chair Betty Sue Stepp, AICP Secretary Beth Payne, AICP Treasurer Don Smith, AICP Immediate Past Chair Stephen Tocknell, AICP Alyce Decker, AICP Fred Jones, AICP Steve Lindorff, AICP Ennis Davis Jennifer Hewett-Apperson, AICP Kristen Reed, AICP Duncan Ross, AICP

A trip to PORTLAND!

First Coast Events

By Peter J. King, AICP

After landing in Portland, Oregon I took the rail line from the airport terminal to my hotel, which is located in a TND called Cascade Station. The only negative thing I can say about this TND is that all the stores and restaurants were “plain chain” establishments (BW3, Target, Bed Bath & Beyond, etc.). If you wanted anything that wasn’t shopping mall fare, you had to go downtown, which is where I went immediately after checking in. Getting to downtown and getting around downtown was a snap considering the light rail lines and the downtown trolley all work together to get you were you want to go. The downtown streets had green lanes for bikes (it’s actually faster to bike downtown than use transit). The bicycle network throughout the city is seamless and epic. I would say that the downtown area is about 30-40 minutes away by train from the airport and outlying areas. The rail lines do not get funding from advertising and the fare enforcement is rarely employed since all transit is free in the downtown “free zone.” Dining at a sidewalk table 15 feet from a Trimet MAX light rail line in downtown Portland (pictured above) was an experience in urban living. One party at an adjacent table, after finishing their meal, simply walked the 15 feet to the rail stop and got on the train to get to their next destination. CONTINUED ON PAGE 3

First Coast APA Board Meeting Friday, Oct 5, 2012 5pm Mellow Mushroom, Tinseltown location

Brainstorming Mixer!! 6 pm Mellow Mushroom 9734 Deer Lake Court Jacksonville Immediately following the Section’s Board Meeting Join us to provide input on the 2014 conference – to be held in Jacksonville!

In This Issue From the Chair……...2 Return on Investment…….…....3 Local Planning Agency Training Course………..……...4 Beach Town Safari…..…….………5 Reclaiming Jacksonville……..….6 Announcements………7

1ST COAST PLANNER The Bi-Monthly e-Newsletter of the First Coast APA, Florida Chapter, American Planning Association Issue 5, Volume 5 – Page 2

September/October 2012

From the Chair

any Board Member beforehand. A formal conference committee will be established early next year and there will be ample opportunity to get involved, but for now we want to toss around some ideas about how to host a conference well worth our time and money.

By Tony Robbins, AICP Section Chair

I love this time of year. The kids are back in school, the temperatures are coming down, the Jags are breaking our hearts, and the campaign signs are in bloom! I hope this issue of the newsletter finds you well, keeping your head above water, and making the most of life on the First Coast. We continue to see positive signs of growth in our region and planners finding creative methods of stabilizing their organizations and creating useful plans. I hope all of you have enjoyed the CM credit events that the First Coast Section has provided so far this year. Program Chair Betty Sue Stepp and her Program Committee did a marvelous job putting on the Beach Town Safari mobile workshop last month! A recap of the event is contained elsewhere in this issue. Don Smith and the Scholarship Committee also performed admirably awarding this year’s Jeannie Fewell Scholarships. It is terrific working with so many selfless planners who volunteer to help make this organization contribute to our profession.

Please remember that we’d love to hear from you about any planning activities that are going on in your part of the region. If you have any information about a particular project, news from your organization, or question you’d like answered, let us know. This is your local Section. We are always looking for ideas about how to better serve you. Take care of yourself, keep your chin up, and keep on planning!

Scholarship Winners This year’s scholarships from the Jeannie Fewell Annual Scholarship Fund were recently awarded to three very deserving students, from three different schools: Jamie Schindewolf, Stephen Benson and Amanda Douglas.

I recently reached out to some area planners who work for the United States Navy. I thought it would be interesting to learn about the types of projects they are involved with and share that information with our members. Due to the many levels of security clearance necessary to gain approval for my article, it will appear in the next issue of the 1st Coast Planner and may be the focus of a luncheon. Stay tuned. We’re fresh off the heels of the Annual State Conference in Naples which was a tremendous success. As you may know we are the Host Section for the 2014 conference. While it may be early, this Friday evening the Section Board of Directors will be discussing ideas on how to make the 2014 Annual Conference an attractive and useful experience for planners from all over the state. We’re meeting at the Mellow Mushroom in Tinseltown for a brainstorming session to trigger those creative juices. If you would like to share your thoughts but cannot make it to Mellow Mushroom, please reach out and contact me or

Pictured above is Scholarship Committee Member Wiatt Bowers, AICP (middle) with two of the three scholarship winners from this year. Ms. Jamie Schindewolf from Florida State University is pictured on the left and Ms. Amanda Douglas from the University of Florida is on the right. Not pictured is Mr. Stephen Benson from the University of South Florida. Congratulations to this year’s scholarship winners! For more information on the Jeannie Fewell Annual Scholarship, contact any board member.

1ST COAST PLANNER The Bi-Monthly e-Newsletter of the First Coast APA, Florida Chapter, American Planning Association Issue 5, Volume 5 – Page 3

2012 APA Florida Conference Sound Bite:

The Growing Movement to Measure the Return on Investment in Community Planning By Duncan Ross, AICP

The 2012 APA Florida Conference held in Naples, Florida gathered planners from across the state to share experiences with colleagues and be exposed to perspectives from national commentators. For me, the most interesting topic came from the plenary sessions, regarding a growing movement which is connecting infrastructure life-cycles, long-term capital needs, and development patterns with economic sustainability. This topic is rooted in the struggling US economy and the gradual decline of local government revenues. The underperforming economy has shined a light on the plight of local governments and their difficulty to generate the revenue necessary to deliver services and maintain infrastructure. The financial obligation to support the reconstruction of existing infrastructure is one of several major structural factors which faces local governments today and should make planners pause to consider how communities will achieve long-term economic stability in the future. For this reason, it makes you wonder where the money will come from to maintain and replace existing infrastructure such as the roads, sidewalks, bridges, water, sewer and electrical systems once their life-cycle is complete. The infrastructure life-cycle for these systems may range from 25 to 50 years. Until recently, discussions have contributed only a minor role in setting policy regarding how communities plan, develop, finance and maintain their infrastructure systems. Two of the speakers, who provide commentary on topics of national planning interest, spoke about the growing movement to measure a community’s return on investment (ROI) from the public infrastructure that supports growth and development. In the context of ROI, they begin to frame a case for more meaningful discussion on the expansion of new infrastructure systems and

September/October 2012

the impact to a community’s long-term financial stability. What is “ROI” in the context of community growth and development? Put simply, it is the payback (measured in revenue, mostly property taxes and other user-fees) generated from the construction of new infrastructure that supports development. The ROI from new development can vary significantly in the revenue it generates for a community. Their observation is that a higher density development pattern provides the conditions necessary to attain a favorable ROI, and which can stabilize a community’s finances to maintain and reconstruct public infrastructure. Alternatively, they suggest that a low-density development pattern does not provide the conditions for a favorable ROI, and overtime it can negatively impact the long-term financial stability of local governments to maintain its public infrastructure systems.

Why? Higher density development has the ability to generate more revenue for local government than can low density development as measured from the same acre of land. Typically, more vertical development translates into higher property valuations on a per acre basis and means greater property tax revenues for local governments (see image). Therefore, a higher density development pattern should create a more sustainable economic model for community planning and development, because it can generate the revenue necessary to fund the reconstruction of existing infrastructure systems when their life-cycle is complete. CONTINUED ON PAGE 7

1ST COAST PLANNER The Bi-Monthly e-Newsletter of the First Coast APA, Florida Chapter, American Planning Association Issue 5, Volume 5 – Page 4


Around five o’clock, I noticed some women with babies and toddlers unloading from the train near my table where they in turn met their husbands who were presumably getting off work. Some of these families went into the adjacent restaurants together, while others gathered themselves back to the train to go home together. I spent some time quietly observing people's behavior downtown and around the train stops. I also used the stop-watch feature in my cell phone to record the light rail arrival intervals (headways) and it looked like the "blue line" was operating at 5-7 minute headways during the peak period. Since this ROW is also used by the red line, the line I took to get to my hotel, there seemed to be a train pulling up every 2-3 minutes. You would think sitting right next to a rail stop would be a bad place to eat a meal, but the trains are electric and are very quiet, and the people relatively quiet and considerate (except for the one angry punker guy who kicked over a smoke-butt container in front of my table). For three days I only used the following modes of transportation: light rail, streetcar, tramway, and bicycle. When I pulled out a map to get my bearings, many times somebody would ask me if I needed help. I would have to say that these Portlandians are immensely friendly and helpful. By the way, except for the bike, all the modes of travel I used were powered by electricity (see charging station, above). Overall my Portland “carless” experience was good. The only drawback I can see for the light rail is the hours of operation. Since the system shuts down around midnight, you will be stranded if you go downtown to enjoy the nightlife. Your only alternative at that point is a taxi. The system

September/October 2012

illustrates how important land use is in providing transit service. Without the growth boundaries and high density developments (up to 87du/ac), the light rail line and streetcar would not work without a bus feeder. There were many riders getting on and off in the remote locations, but these were serviced by bus feeders or park and ride. I would have to say that not having the burden of a car during this trip was very liberating. Also, the bike rental places downtown seemed to do a brisk business and I spent a whole day on a bike exploring restaurants, the nearby parks hundreds of feet in the air, the floating bike trail, and many pedestrian/bike laned bridges (an example pictured below). While biking on the east bank esplanade downtown, I weaved around hundreds of people jogging and biking. It was then that I realized that weather plays

a big role in the success of the pedestrian and bicycle experience. It was under 80 degrees and dry. These people wouldn’t be out in 110 degree heat index, and neither would I. Portland is definitely a cool (literally and figuratively) place to visit for anybody, especially anybody interested in architecture or planning.

New President of APA Florida As announced at the Annual Meeting at this year’s Annual Conference in Naples, congratulations to Mr. Brian Teeple, AICP as he assumes the role of President for APA Florida. He has a two year term, ending in September 2014. Mr. Teeple is the Chief Executive Officer of the Northeast Florida Regional Council.

1ST COAST PLANNER The Bi-Monthly e-Newsletter of the First Coast APA, Florida Chapter, American Planning Association Issue 5, Volume 5 – Page 5

Local Planning Agency Training Course By Tony Robbins, AICP Section Chair

As members of the American Planning Association, we share in the goal of building better, more inclusive communities. We want the public to be aware of the principles by which we practice our profession in the quest of that goal. We shall contribute to the development of, and respect for, our profession by improving knowledge and techniques, making work relevant to solutions of community problems, and increasing public understanding of planning activities. The First Coast Section of APA Florida is pleased to announce that we will be offering a new and improved Local Planning Agency Training Course in early 2013! The goal of this course is to generate well informed planning officials who can make better decisions. The primary target audience is local planning agencies from Baker, Clay, Duval, Flagler, Nassau, Putnam and St. Johns Counties. It will be made free of charge for any appointed member of a local planning agency regardless of whether or not they are members of APA.

September/October 2012

facilitate the training. Our endeavor will benefit from the participation of several different members who can offer planning officials their effective and useful perspective about Florida’s planning and growth management system, the importance of planning’s role, and how they could better understand what they are asked to make decisions upon more effectively. We are committed to making this course informative, fun, and enjoyable for all who attend. The training will qualify for Law and Ethics CM credit for facilitators. If you would be interested in helping facilitate the training, getting word out, or in any other way, please contact Tony Robbins at 904.739.3655 or

Beach Town Safari By Teresa Bishop, AICP

On August 30, planners went to the beach, visiting the Vilano Beach Town Center in St. Johns County and downtown Jacksonville Beach. The planners met at the Jacksonville Beach City Hall for the first leg of the beach town safari, which included a bus tour south down beautiful A1A, known as the A1A Scenic and Historic Coastal Byway. Our host for this leg of the tour was Ms. Sallie O’Hara the Byway Program Administrator.

The Section has been working for months updating the training course we created in 2007. The course is designed to provide a basic foundation of planning law, history, and to provide the technical expertise needed by local planning agency members to maximize their competency and ability to render legally defensible decisions and recommendations. The material is particularly important for planning commissioners whether they are newly appointed or are veteran commissioners who have never received formal training. The ever-growing and changing legislation which mandates and regulates the operation of planning programs and procedures makes training a necessity because the traditional "on the job training" is simply no longer adequate in the more technical, complex, and expensively litigious world of the 21st Century.

As we departed, Ms. O’Hara explained the origins of the Scenic Byway designation. The Department of Transportation designated the A1A Scenic & Historic Coastal Highway as a National Scenic Byway in 2002. The 72-mile corridor covers both St. Johns and Flagler counties, spanning from the Volusia/Flagler County Line to the St. Johns/Duval County Line. The Byway is one of 150 National Scenic Byways and one of 23 scenic highways in Florida. Interestedly, the A1A Scenic and Historic Coastal Byway emerged from three Florida Scenic Highway entities - A1A Ocean Shore (Flagler County -south), A1A River to Sea Trail (Flagler County -north) and Scenic and Historic A1A (St. Johns County). To combine these three entities required a combined vision and partnering between individual citizen groups and local, state and federal government. Along the way, Ms. O’Hara pointed out parks, landmarks and scenic resources located along this part of A1A.

The Section is seeking out those members who would like to help present portions and help


1ST COAST PLANNER The Bi-Monthly e-Newsletter of the First Coast APA, Florida Chapter, American Planning Association Issue 5, Volume 5 – Page 6


The second leg of the safari began with our arrival in the Vilano Beach Town Center, where we met Ms. Vivian Browning. Ms. Browning is a long-time Vilano Beach community leader that has shared a vision of and for the redevelopment of Vilano Beach. We disembarked from the bus and walked through the Vilano Beach Town Center, while Ms. Browning explained the beginnings of the redevelopment vision. As we walked along a bright streetscape, she explained that Vilano Beach was platted in the 1920s as a beachfront downtown but because of the Great Depression, the beachfront town never reached its potential but it survived as a small beach town until 1995. In 1995, the Department of Transportation relocated the Vilano Bridge along A1A, resulting in bypassing traffic and a loss of businesses. South Ponte Vedra and Vilano Beach community groups partnered with St. Johns County to adopt and implement the vision of a small beachfront community with commercial shopping, restaurants and homes located along the street from the Atlantic Ocean to the Intracoastal Waterway. The termini along Vilano Road make the Vilano Beach Town Center a unique place where one can watch the sun rise on the Ocean and set on the Intracoastal Waterway. Pictured above, are members of the group with the Bluebird of Happiness in Vilano Beach. Ms. Browning proudly pointed out that portions of the streetscape, pavilions and other infrastructure are completed as part of the vision and most recently a large component was completed when a grocery store opened. The Town Center grocery store now harbors additional retail shops and restaurants.

September/October 2012

As we headed back, the last leg of our safari was conducted by Mr. Steve Lindorff, AICP (pictured on right) long-term Planning and Development Director for Jacksonville Beach. As we proceeded north, Mr. Lindorff explained how Jacksonville Beach is undergoing redevelopment for the fifth time. Upon our arrival to City Hall, he shared the history and vision of Jacksonville Beach. He explained that Jacksonville Beach has undergone four previous redevelopment efforts and is currently on its fifth. The first two redevelopment efforts were geared toward large scale building and infrastructure improvements, primarily driven and funded by private developers. Beginning in 1999, they focused its redevelopment toward publicprivate partnerships to achieve redevelopment. Currently the City is focusing on a community vision and has completed certain streetscapes and architectural components under this vision. To achieve the vision plan, Jacksonville Beach went out to its community. They wanted a safe, walkable community with public gathering places that offer open space, ocean views and a small beach town community feel. Both Vilano Beach and Jacksonville Beach have visions for their future and both are building upon those visions to create a sense of place where people want to be, whether to live, work or play. Historic long-standing communities are abundant in our area and it is important that planners use their redevelopment tools to preserve these communities to sustain the overall sense of place in Northeast Florida that we have become accustomed to.

1ST COAST PLANNER The Bi-Monthly e-Newsletter of the First Coast APA, Florida Chapter, American Planning Association Issue 5, Volume 5 – Page 7

Return on Investment CONTINUED FROM PAGE 3

The problem is, since the 1950s, most communities have been operating under an economic model of growth which is based on low density development patterns. It is hoped that in the future, planners will have the technical tools to determine the ROI on a project-by-project basis and utilize this information for community planning. If this is achieved, it will change the way communities plan and develop as well as change the decision-making process for elected officials. In the past, planners contributed significantly to the concept that new growth should pay its own way. As a result, most local governments throughout the US require developers to pay some, if not all, the upfront costs of new infrastructure to support growth. However, the revenue required to maintain and reconstruct infrastructure systems has not been a major component of this discussion. As we continue to discuss this topic and frame the issue, it is hoped that local governments begin to align planning and infrastructure policies with their stated economic goals. For instance, the Comprehensive Plan should be a guide for the community to implement policies which integrates growth management, infrastructure and capital investment with the goal of economic sustainability. If communities do not move in this direction, they could be faced with a limited set of options in the future, such as deferring major reconstruction projects of aging infrastructure or increasing local revenues and fees. Neither of these outcomes would be acceptable to the public. Why is this important for planners to be engaged in this discussion? The planners’ role is to advocate for the public interest and to ensure community planning reflects a long-term view. But clearly, we do not have all the answers today and more research is needed to better analyze the financial relationships between development density and infrastructure investment. Perhaps it is time to begin evaluating growth and capital obligations from the perspective of ROI and develop a better economic model for development based on these parameters. This movement, while early in its inception, marks a beginning point in the discussion

September/October 2012

on community development models, growth management and infrastructure investment. After all, shouldn’t communities plan to achieve the best return on its investment from the public expenditures?

Reclaiming Jacksonville Join local urban planner Ennis Davis and retired transportation consultant Robert Mann as they go behind the scenes to reveal forgotten elements of Jacksonville’s unique and treasured pasts. The City of Jacksonville has hundreds of buildings that have withstood the test of time. Yet these lasting landmarks tell only a portion of Jacksonville's history. Dozens of other buildings have been abandoned and left to wither, turning into shadows of their former grandeur. Each place has a rich and storied history that belies modern appearances, like the Annie Lytle Elementary School, now known as the most haunted landmark in the city, and the Jacksonville Brewing Company, which had to come up with a creative way to stay afloat (think ice cream) when Prohibition hit. Reclaiming Jacksonville: Stories Behind the River City’s Historic Landmarks is attempting to elevate the importance of historic preservation’s role in planning the revitalization of downtown Jacksonville and the surrounding neighborhoods. The book shares a collection of stories behind fourteen of Jacksonville’s most impressive forgotten historic landmarks that are still standing. The stories behind them are presented in a form that combines detailed history and high resolution imagery. Upon its release, Reclaiming Jacksonville was awarded a 2012 Historic Preservation Award by the Jacksonville Historic Preservation Commission. Click here to order your autographed copy now ( )

1ST COAST PLANNER The Bi-monthly e-Newsletter of the First Coast APA, Florida Chapter, American Planning Association Issue 5, Volume 5 – Page 8

September/October 2012


SEPTEMBER 3 – 6, 2014

What do yo u think?

We Need Your Input Did you know that the 2014 APA Florida Conference will be held in Jacksonville? The First Coast Section Board of Directors is seeking the opinions of our members to assist with advance planning for this conference. Immediately following the Section Board’s regular meeting October 5 (approx. 6:00 PM) we’ll hold an informal brainstorming mixer at the Mellow Mushroom in Tinseltown (9734 Deer Lake Court, Jacksonville). Come out and share your opinions about how to make the 2014 conference the best one ever. Free food and refreshments will be available to active APA members.

First Coast: Sept/Oct 2012  
First Coast: Sept/Oct 2012  

First Coast Newsletter Sept/Oct 2012