About Land Use Planning

The Land Use Planning Section serves to provide on-going land use planning and other technical assistance to local governments in the following areas:

Strategic Regional Policy Plan (SRPP)

The Strategic Regional Policy Plan, as required by Section 186.507, Florida Statutes, is a long range guide for physical, economic, and social development of a planning district through the identification of regional goals and policies. Each of the eleven (11) regional planning councils located within the State must prepare and adopt an SRPP.

The SRPP must contain regional goals and policies for developing a coordinated program of regional actions directed at resolving identified problems and needs. As specified in Rule 27E-5, F.A.C., each SRPP must address, at a minumum, the following areas: Affordable Housing; Economic Development; Emergency Preparedness; Natural Resources of Regional Significance; and Regional Transportation. The West Florida Strategic Regional Policy Plan was adopted July 15, 1996.

The purposes of the SRPP, as stated in Rule 27E-5, F.A.C. are:

  • To implement and further the goals and policies of the State Comprehensive Plan with regard to the strategic regional subject areas and other components addressed in the plan.
  • To provide long range policy guidance for the physical, economic, and social development of a region.
  • To establish public policy for the resolution of disputes over regional problems, needs, or opportunities through the establishment of regional goals and policies and to provide a regional basis and perspective for the coordination of pgovernmental activities and the resolution of problems, needs, and opportunities that are of regional concern or scope.
  • To establish goals and policies, in addition to other criteria established by law, that provide the basis for review of developments of regional impact, regional review of federally assisted projects, and other activities of the regional planning council. In addition, the plan may recommend specific locations or activities in which a project, due to its character or location, should be a development of regional impact within the region. Standards included in strategic regional policy plans shall be used for planning purposes only and not for permitting or regulatory purposes. A regional planning council shall not adopt a planning standard that differs materially from a planning standard adopted by rule by a state or regional agency, when such rule expressly states the planning standard is intended to preempt action by the regional planning council.
  • To establish goals and policies to assist the state and the council in the determination of consistency of local comprehensive plans with regional and state comprehensive plans. Strategic Regional Policy Plans shall serve as a basis to review the resources and facilities found in local government comprehensive plans.
  • To establish land development and transportation goals and policies in a manner that fosters regionwide transportation systems.
  • To serve as a basis for decisions by the regional planning council.
  • To guide the administration of federal, state, regional, and local agency programs and activities in a region to the extent     provided for by law.
  • To identify significant regional resources and facilities, infrastructure needs, or other problems, needs, or opportunities of importance to the region.
  • To identify natural resources of regional significance and promote the protection of those resources.
  • To set forth economic development goals and policies that promote regional economic growth and improvement.
  • To set forth goals and policies that address the affordable housing and emergency preparedness problems and needs of the region.


Local Government Comprehensive Plans, Evaluation and Appraisal Reports (EARs)

What are EAR's? Section 163.3191, Florida Statutes, requires that local governments periodically assess their progress in implementing their comprehensive plans. The report is intended to serve as a summary audit of the actions the local government has undertaken and identify changes that it may need to make towards furthering the community's goals while ensuring they remain consistent with statewide minimum standards for growth management. The Evaluation and Appraisal Report (EAR) must address, at a minimum, the following:

  • Population growth and changes in land area.
  • The extent of vacant and developable land.
  • The financial feasibility of implementing the comprehensive plan and of providing needed infrastructure.
  • The location of existing development in relation to the location of development as anticipated in the original plan.
  • An identification of the major issues for the jurisdiction and, where pertinent, the potential social, economic, and environmental impacts.
  • The effect on the plan of changes in state law and regulation, as well as the appropriate strategic regional policy plan.
  • An assessment of whether the plan objectives within each element, as they relate to major issues, have been achieved.
  • A brief assessment of successes and shortcomings related to each element of the plan.
  • Plan amendments necessary to implement the needs identified in the EAR.
  • A summary of the public participation program and activities undertaken by the local government in preparing the report.
  • Actions taken to coordinate the comprehensive plan with school planning requirement contained in s. 1013.35.
  • Actions taken to incorporate the water management district's regional water supply plan approved pursuant to s. 373.0361.
  • Impacts of the coastal high-hazard area development or redevelopment. Section 163.3191(1), Florida Statutes, states that each local government shall adopt an evaluation and appraisal report once every 7 years.
  • The Land Use Planning staff is available to provide technical assistance to local governments in preparation of their Evaluation and Appraisal Reports.


    Other Technical Assistance

    Numerous state and federal grant applications are prepared for local governments through the Land Use Planning Section. Examples of successfully funded grant applications include the Department of Community Affairs, Small Cities Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program; Department of Environmental Protection, Florida Recreation Development Assistance Program; Florida Communities Trust, Florida Forever Program; Department of State, Library Construction Grant Program, and others .


    Development of Regional Impact

    To learn more about Development of Regional Impact, please review our Development of Regional Impact Handbook.


    Sector Plans

    The optional sector plan process was established as an alternative to the Development of Regional Impact (DRI) process, pursuant to Section 163.3245, F.S. Sector plans approved through comprehensive plan amendments will be initiated by the local government in agreement with the Department of Community Affairs (DCA). The sector plan will be of two levels: a conceptual, long-term build-out overlay, and detailed specific area plans. An annual monitoring report will be submitted to DCA and the affected regional planning council. Additionally, sector plans will: combine the purposes of chapters 380 and 163, F.S.; require public participation throughout the process; emphasize urban form and the protection of regional resources and facilities; and apply to areas greater than 5,000 acres.

    Bay County Optional Sector Plan Process

    Escambia County Optional Sector Plan


    Local Mitigation Strategies

    The purpose of the County Local Mitigation Strategy (LMS) is to plan for a decrease in the vulnerability of the citizens, governments, businesses and institutions of a county to the future human, economic and environmental costs of natural, technological, and societal disasters. The Task Force for each county's LMS develops, monitors, implements, and maintains a comprehensive plan for hazard mitigation which is intended to accomplish this purpose and to promote a sustainable and disaster-resistant community.