Proposed Phase II Comprehensive Plan Revisions Include Text and Map Changes, Removal of Proportionate Fair Share

By DOTTY NIST 

On Sept. 12, the county commission is scheduled to review Phase II of proposed revisions associated with Walton County’s Comprehensive Plan (CP) Update process. These include Future Land Use Map (FLUM) changes, removal of references to proportionate fair share, and addition of tourism-related and similar uses in Agricultural land use categories, among other proposals.
This is scheduled for the Walton County Board of County Commissioners (BCC) regular meeting on that date, which is to begin at 4 p.m. and take place at the South Walton Annex.
Proposed Phase I CP revisions, covered separately in Herald/Breeze article, “Officials to consider Walton County Comprehensive Plan changes,” are also to be presented to the BCC on Sept. 12.
While Phase II will be coming before the BCC for the first time, it was reviewed by the Walton County Planning Commission at an Aug. 21 special planning meeting. The planning commission voted to recommend Phase II moving forward, while deferring to a future meeting a recommendation on an update to Chapter 2 of the Land Development Code that was also presented.
Phase II proposes text and map revisions within the Future Land Use Element of the CP, along with revisions to the Intergovernmental Coordination Element and deletion of the Economic Development Element.
According to a summary of substantive changes, Phase II would create “a more generalized Future Land Use Map by aggregating categories with similar densities and intensities,” and would implement “standard Euclidean zoning framework within the Comprehensive Plan in combination with non-traditional mixed use districts.” It would move locational criteria and other Future Land Use Category details to the Walton County Land Development Code (LDC.)
Proposed in connection with Future Land Use Element would be dividing the county into four planning areas, North Walton County, North Central Walton County, South Central Walton County, and South Walton County.
Phase II would allow for the Mixed Use land use category in the North Central planning areas—and would allow the Conservation Residential land use category in all four planning areas.
It would also specify that Planned Unit Developments are overlays on the Official Zoning Map as opposed to the Future Land Use Map (FLUM), with the result that PUDs would be subject to CP requirements such as density and intensity, but would be able to deviate from some Walton County Land Development Code (LDC) requirements.
Phase II would provide for tourism-related, agribusiness, and eco-business uses within Agricultural land use categories. In anticipation of a revised transportation concurrency program with impact or mobility fees, the revisions would remove references to proportionate fair share.
Proposed revisions would add infrastructure-based criteria to apply when a land use change from Large Scale Agriculture or General Agriculture to a higher density or intensity use is considered, in line with a policy to counter urban sprawl.
Phase II would revise compatibility language to provide for specific LDC standards regarding compatibility of uses in and adjacent to properties in the Mixed Use land use category.
It would revise the Black Creek Neighborhood Planning Area (NPA) to provide for deletion of this NPA program from the CP and LDC, while leaving in place entitlements under a Black Creek Special Planning Area and creating “unique implementing zoning districts” for this SPA.
A draft proposed Future Land Use Map may be viewed at the link: http://www.waltoncountyplanupdate.com/images/docs/cpudraft/wip_proposed_flu_map.pdf.
Upon BCC approval, Phase II is to undergo review by the state Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO).
Public workshops have been scheduled for the LDC update that is to accompany update of the CP. Workshop dates and locations follow: Sept. 11, South Walton Annex; Sept. 13, Freeport Community Center; Sept. 14, Rosemary Beach Town Hall. All three workshops begin at 6 p.m.
Information on the CP and LDC update process is available on the website www.waltoncountyplanupdate.com.