The West Florida Regional Planning Council (WFRPC) serves the counties and municipalities of northwest Florida, which include: Escambia, Santa Rosa, Okaloosa, Walton, Bay, Washington and Holmes Counties. The WFRPC has eight major responsibilities in District 1.
A Regional Planning Council (RPC) is recognized as Florida's only multi-purpose regional entity that is in a position to:
Plan for and coordinate intergovernmental solutions to growth-related problems on greater-than-local issues,
Provide technical assistance to local governments, and
Meet other needs of the communities in each region.
RPCs are the result of the trend toward regionalism. They bring together Florida's local governments to share responsibility for the future of Florida. RPC service areas are defined by state-designated planning districts.
Strategic Regional Policy Plans (SRPP):
The WFRPC is required to develop, adopt and implement goals and policies of a SRPP (Ch. 186.507, F.S.). The SRPP is required to be consistent with and further the goals and objectives of the State Comprehensive Plan (Ch. 186.508, F.S.). The SRPP will provide guidance for decision making and will be routinely applied in activities such as in the review of local government comprehensive plans and Developments of Regional Impacts (DRIs). The West Florida SRPP was completed in February 1996.
Review Local Government Comprehensive Plan Amendments and Evaluation and Appraisal Reports:
(Ch. 186.507 and Sect. 163.3184(4), F.S.) Comprehensive Plan amendments are reviewed for consistency with the Regional Comprehensive Plan which assists the Department of Community Affairs in making findings of compliance.
Review Developments of Regional Impacts (DRIs):
(ch. 380, F.S., Rule Ch. 9J-2, 9J-3, 9J-28, &28-24). RPCs assist in carrying out all applicable DRI and Florida Quality Development procedures. DRIs are technically reviewed for consistency with the Regional Comprehensive Plan.
Implement the Regional Dispute Resolution Process:
(Required by ELMS III legislation; Ch. 186.509, F.S.) RPCs developed a process designed to bring a timely closure to disputes pertaining to comprehensive planning issues and development proposals which would have impacts on adjacent local governments or regional resources or facilities. The process focuses on reconciling differences in planning, growth management, and other matters among local governments, regional agencies, and private interests.
Local Emergency Management Planning Committee (LEPC) and Hazardous Materials Planning:
The WFRPC provides staffing and planning support to the LEPC to enable the Committee to function in accordance with federal and state regulations (Ch. 252,F.S.).
The Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act requires: (1) public and private facilities that use, produce or store extremely hazardous substances or chemicals, to report their inventories on an annual basis; (2) each state to maintain an LEPC to facilitate hazardous materials emergency response and compliance with hazardous material reporting laws; and (3) the preparation of a regional emergency response plan utilizing the RPC and state-appointed LEPC.
State Planning Efforts:
The WFRPC assists in making state planning efforts more widely understood and effectively administered. The WFRPC provides meaningful input to the State and Regional Planning Act; Florida Transportation Plan; Florida Land Plan; and review of the State Comprehensive Plan.
Technical Assistance and Public Information:
The WFRPC administers many programs and provides a variety of services for area citizens and local governments including: Mapping, Providing Census and Demographic Information, Staffing of the Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPO) in Pensacola and Panama City and the Okaloosa-Walton Transportation Planning Organization in Fort Walton Beach; Transportation Disadvantage Programs; Economic Development District; Hazardous Waste Notification Programs; State and Federal Housing Programs; Applications for a variety of State and Federal grants and grants administration; planning assistance to local governments to comply with the Growth Management Act; as well as Vanpooling, Commuter Assistance, Bicycle and Pedestrian Planning.
Intergovernmental Coordination and Review:
As designated by the Governor, the WFRPC serves as an area wide clearing house for all federally-funded projects that affect the region. Reviews frequently require consultation with various state and federal agencies, as well as with local governments within the region.