August 26, 2021, City Council and Planning and Zoning Board Comp Plan 2045 Update Joint Special Session Meeting Brief

August 27, 2021 – 

 

Council Business

  1. City Council and Planning Commission review and discussion of the 2045 Comprehensive Plan Update: Planning and Zoning Director Mike Daniels and Pat Tyjeski of S&ME will present the draft of the 2045 Comprehensive Plan Update, along with public input and critical findings so far to the Planning and Zoning Board and City Council. This presentation is for informational and discussion purposes for the P&Z Board and City Council and is part of the process for the update’s creation and adoption. 

 

2045 Comprehensive Plan Update Presentation

  1. Purpose

Give boards an update of where they are in the Comp Plan Update and get both boards input. 

 

  1. Public Input

Twenty-six people attended the public stakeholders meeting to get feedback from residents and business owners of Green Cove Springs in early May. Created a summary of comments and video of the workshop on the project website. Also had online survey that was distributed at Food Truck Friday

 

  1. Critical Findings

Look at proportion of City’s population to County population to determine growth, and projects that population will grow to 18,000 by 2045. Lack of clear vision with current Future Land Use Map. Looked specifically at impact of First Coast Expressway in how it will impact City. S&ME ran two different scenarios with on how roadways within the City will be affected by future traffic without any improvements or changes being done to roads, one is without the First Coast Expressway and one is with the First Coast Expressway completed. Without the First Coast Expressway a majority of main roadways within the City will reach the lowest rating from both traffic congestion and quality of the roadway by 2045. With the First Coast Expressway US 17 will still reach the lowest rating and other main roads will be close to the lowest rating. 

 

  1. Recommended Changes

Future Land Use

Propose to reduce the number of categories from the Future Land Use Map from 13 to 6 (Neighborhood, Mixed-Use, Mixed-Use Reynolds Park, Employment Center, Downtown, Public) to better pinpoint more strategic and efficient growth in the future, as well as better accommodate the projected population beyond 2040. Increase the densities and intensities in several Future Land Use categories to support more sustainable and compact urban growth as population grows. Recommend the City to encourage a horizontal and vertical mix of uses to support pedestrian activity and neighborhood compatibility as the City cannot keep expanding outward. Revise Future Land Use categories to permit a diversity of housing types. Recommend relying less on PUDs and stick to regular zoning categories for future development that supports connectivity and environment to create better quality development within Green Cove Springs. 

 

Suggest the creation of a historic preservation ordinance (opinion amongst public was mixed on support of an ordinance) to protect historic and archaeological sites, establish a local registry and process and procedures for listing, and update survey of historic resources. 

 

Establish a gateway and wayfinding program to create a sense of place and improve and/or preserve the aesthetics, design, and navigability. This includes better signage to places of interest, such as the pool, spring, and parks, as well as better welcoming signage indicating the beginning and end of Green Cove Springs City Limits along major throughfares. 

 

Recommend project to address Downtown Vitality, such as establishing a Community Redevelopment Area, developing a Downtown Master Plan, and looking into Walnut Street vehicular/pedestrian activity. 

 

Change the designation of the Reynolds Park property from mixed-use to a Small Area Plan (a master plan for the area) which will specify the amount of development, require a mix of uses on the property, and require the establishment of a public parks and trials system and public waterfront access.  

 

Transportation

Retain transportation concurrency (roadways that can support upcoming development) but explore adopting mobility strategies (such as wider sidewalks and better walkability and biking in and around Green Cove Springs) instead of continuing to expand the road grid for new development. Utilize other tools to manage traffic issues, such as create a Transportation Concurrency Exception Area (exempt a portion from following concurrency) for US 17, establish greater connectivity requirements for new developments, and coordinate with FDOT and TPO to utilize Intelligent Transportation Systems. 

 

Establish Complete Street Principles for new and improved roadway facilities. Look at all modes of transportation on US 17 and consider other transportation elements when FDOT is making improvement.

 

Recommend requiring an update of the Trails Master Plan to include both sidewalks and trails and establish main routes through the City. 

 

Housing

Affordable housing, including incentives to encourage developers to build affordable housing such as modify street modifications, lot size reductions in areas that have 70 ft lot requirements, and fee waivers. 

 

Public Facilities

Updating language in this element. Focus on water and looking at alternative water supply as population grows and match regional water plan (some is addressed with new water and wastewater facility). 

 

Conservation

Highlight that Green Cove Springs is a tree and monarch City. 

 

Recreation & Open Space

Creating a master recreation plan to get into specific acreage for parks and park facilities and if they are meeting a proper level of service, which is 5 acres per 1,000 people for community parks and 2 acres per 1,000 for neighborhood parks. 

 

Master Trail Plan: FDOT is building a 12 ft trail on old Shands Bridge. Take another look at improving Palmetto Trail and Oakridge. 

 

Intergovernmental Coordination

Maintain procedures to coordinate with Clay County, Clay County School Board, and the Northeast Florida Regional Planning Council to be able to address City concerns on projects, especially with utilities and infrastructure. Coordinate comprehensive plan impacts with local and state agencies. Coordinate with local, regional, and state authorities regarding Level of Service Standards within the City’s Utility Service Areas.  

 

Capital Improvements

Look at Impact Fee for level of service for parks and road systems

 

Economic Development

This element was added as a specific request by City Council to look at ways to plan and coordinate economic development within City Limits more strategically. 

 

Private property Rights

Required to have this element by the state, and recommends taking language provided by the state

 

  1. Next Steps

Project website is still active and future workshops will continue to be announced on the website. Will meet with original stakeholders in early September, then conduct a second public workshop. Will make changes based on input to start the adoption process in November with final adoption in February 2022. Plan is draft that has not been released to the public, after discussion can release to the public for review. 

 

Planning and Zoning Board and City Council Discussion

Discussion started with traffic and ways that the Comp Plan could relieve the pressure on future traffic on roadways. Suggestions included using the adopted Comp Plan as a map to bring to TPO to help speed traffic improvements and go back to County to propose a CRA to be able to address walkability downtown (widening sidewalks, promoting biking, etc.). Also supports the Complete Streets Principles for US 17. 

Economic Development was also discussed, with talk of how surrounding development will support grocery and retail needs of Green Cove Springs. Reynolds Park also a point of discussion, with talk of it being the location of bigger box retailers and Green Cove Springs focusing more on mixed-use and smaller retail locations. 

Also consensus on shortening the timeline for adoption of the Comprehensive Plan 2045 Update, as both boards voiced concerns of possible development not in-line with the Comp Plan happening while the plan is still in the adoption process. On top of adopting the Comp Plan Update, both boards voiced a need to use the priorities in the Comp Plan to create a short-term and long-term priority list of projects as a way to immediately begin acting on Plan priorities before or as soon as the update is adopted. Some of the short-term priorities discussed include more specific development planning within Green Cove Springs, how to better protect public waterfront access for the future, creating a Downtown Master Plan, mitigating traffic on US 17, and beatifying Walnut St. Both boards also discussed ways that Staff can begin to enforce development priorities under the Comp Plan Update while it is still in the adoption process. Planning and Zoning Director Mike Daniels said that they could write a moratorium that would have to go before the City Council, and both boards voiced a desire to move forward with a moratorium. 

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