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Longboat finalizes long-range planning questions

MELISSA REID
Associate Publisher
mreid@lbknews.com

The physical and economic future of Longboat key Future of Longboat Key hinges on long-range planning.

That, at least is the idea propelling the effort by the Longboat Key Commission to undertake a long-range planning effort to better understand how to achieve the goals of maintaining Longboat as an economically premier community and maintain the beauty and lifestyle we cherish.

The Town is concerned about maintaining a healthy balance between our residential base, tourist facilities, commercial, and recreational services.

The Town is also concerned with protecting the community’s unique quality of life and natural resources for the continued enjoyment for its citizens and future residents. It is also interested in identifying and achieving a sustainable balance between maintaining its high quality of life for residents and promoting tourism to support its businesses, services and tax base.

Last February, the Town Commission decided to put out a request for proposals to private consulting firms for assisting the town in finding which direction the town wants to take into the future.

A concept similar to the Vision Plan carried out in 2005-06, however, focused more on framing the zoning codes to fit the future of Longboat Key. The commission debated the wisdom of spending about $125,000 on the process as well as the wisdom of not and using local experts and residents.

The commission thought the residents and town should provide input and the commission would have to be very precise and specific in its scope of work as well as the details of any contract with a potential consultant.

 

Town Manager Dave Bullock undertook a draft of framing questions that will become the basis of the scope of work. It presents the challenges and issues facing Longboat Key. The following is Bullock’s writing and work regarding the framing questions for the process. Town Attorney Dave Persson also had input and the following is a final draft ready to go to a Request for Proposals:

 

Background

A community discussion about the future of Longboat Key has been taking place.  Many questions have arisen concerning how the island should face its future.  These questions have generally been about assuring the unique character of the Town, addressing seasonal fluctuations, enhancing economic viability of local businesses, protecting the Town’s natural assets, and providing an attractive and desirable place for current and future residents.

 

This RFP is designed to allow the Town to select a planning consultant to help the Town through analysis, objective review of existing conditions, and experience from other comparable places to develop modifications to the Town’s plans and regulations.

 

Request for Proposal (RFP) Process

This document is a listing of the questions found in the attached Framing Questions document that follows the Consultant Task for Zoning. They are broken down into the 5 main areas of concern to the Town. Below each area are questions from the Framing Question document and the specific Consultant Tasks that the Town requires to be addressed. The Framing Questions are based on the Town’s adopted Vision Statement, Mission Statement, Core Values and Vision Plan (attached) and these documents should be used as reference documents. Proposals will be divided into the 5 areas and specifically demonstrate how the Questions and Tasks will be addressed along with a project timeline and the proposed cost of completing each section. The Town will use the information as a guideline for completion and payment for the proposal selected by the Town.

 

Residential Questions

1) What methods should the Town use to sustain its unique character and quality of life?

2) What is our competitive position relative to other communities in terms of our attractiveness as a residential community and what are the sources nationally and internationally of prospective future residents and guests to the island?

3) Should we try to attract more full time residents?  If so, how?

4) Should we try to grow our residential base through new development?

5) Should we attract more family oriented households or younger baby boomers?

6) Is there a place for assisted living housing facilities?

7) Should we continue to attract single family estate housing along the Gulf of Mexico or do we need more multi-family housing?

8)  What do we need to do differently to attract future residents?

 

Consultant Tasks

1) Keeping in mind the Town’s desire to maintain its existing character, the Consultant needs to provide a thorough market analysis, identifying the housing types that are viable currently and which are anticipated to remain so as well as the reasons why it’s believed that these housing types will continue to be successful in the future.

2) Keeping in mind the Town’s desire to maintain its existing character, provide the Town with an analysis of future housing demand for all housing types.

3) The definition of retiree has changed and is continuing to do so. Analyze how these changes will impact the housing market as well as tourism and commercial services on the island?

4) As part of the market analysis, identify the demographic groups the Town needs to target and demonstrate a specific marketing plan.

5) Identify regulatory and policy issues that may impede or support future housing and strategies for addressing impediments. The Consultant should make specific recommendations regarding any proposed modification to the Comprehensive Plan, including draft language, should it be determined that the Plan needs to be modified to allow for different housing type(s) or to promote their development.

6) The Town has identified several areas that need to be analyzed such as the Town Center, the identified Mixed Use Centers as identified in Ordinances 2012-08, 2012-06, and the Bayfront Park area. How can the Town maximize the benefit from their development?  How should these centers be integrated into the overall Town plan? Identify specific amenities that need to be created or improved to facilitate the development of these areas.

 

Tourism Questions

1) How important is tourism to our local economy?

2) How much support does it provide to our local businesses and tax base?

3) How much exposure to future buyers does it give to our residential property?

4) Are our tourist properties becoming obsolete functionally and physically?

5) If they are, what actions should the Town take to sustain or encourage continued investment?

6) Should we encourage upgrades/expansions of tourist facilities beyond what has been done to date?

7) Should we better market Longboat Key as a tourist destination?

8) What are the collateral benefits to residents when there is a healthy tourist economy in place in the Town?

9) Do we need to promote modernization and upgrading of our tourist facilities?

 

Consultant Tasks

1) The Consultant needs to provide the Town with a complete analysis of the tourism industry’s fiscal impact on the Town.  This analysis will include, but is not limited to an analysis of the revenue generated as well as the cost to the Town in providing services.

2) The Consultant should provide an analysis of the tourism industry as it affects Longboat Key, if and how it has changed, and how the Town should take advantage of, or respond to, these changes.

3) If it is determined that the Town needs to encourage growth in tourism, the Consultant needs to provide a list of actions that the Town should take to achieve that goal This will include identifying regulatory, as well as policy, issues that need to be addressed to achieve this goal. The Consultant should make specific recommendations regarding any proposed modification to the Comprehensive Plan, including draft language, should it be determined that the Plan needs to be modified to encourage investment in the tourist facilities.

 

Commercial Questions

1) Given the seasonality of demand can we expect these businesses to thrive or to barely survive?

2) Is there room for growth and expansion or should we be reducing the amount of land zoned and available for commercial development?

3) Can we enhance the viability of our businesses by working on the mix, match, and mesh of commercial/business activity?

4) Are there opportunities to work on the spatial arrangements and physical form to enhance the value of location, critical mass, and branding?

5) Should we be clustering commercial services in a center or scattering such services throughout the length of the island?

6) Are there opportunities for mixed use redevelopment on vacant and non-performing commercial properties?

7) Should land that cannot sustain a commercial/retail business be rezoned to residential?

8) Do we need to provide (financial?) assistance to local commercial businesses?

 

Consultant Tasks

1) Keeping in mind the Town’s desire to maintain its existing character, provide a comprehensive review of the of the Town’s commercial inventory, including the amount of developed and undeveloped commercial property, existing and allowable uses, and locations. At a minimum, provide a detailed analysis that addresses:

a. is too much or too little commercial available,

b. are current levels of commercial adequate or inadequate and what amount would be optimal based on the seasonal and off-season populations of the Town,

c. what types of uses are, or will be, viable,

d. do current Codes allow for these uses or does the Code need to be changed, and

e. are there permitted uses that should not be allowed.

 

2) Are there other issues with redevelopment of existing restaurants and commercial properties?

3) What are the impediments to redevelopment, do current regulations act as a deterrent to redevelopment, or do current regulations direct it in an appropriate manner?

4) What actions can the Town take to minimize the impact of redevelopment while still maintaining life/safety standards and protecting properties from natural disasters.

 

Marketing Questions

Do we need to do a better job of marketing the island and if so how should we do it?

 

Consultant Tasks

1) Should the Town make independent efforts to market itself because the tourist facilities and residential development on Longboat Key are clearly different from the surrounding area?

2) If so, identify the Town’s best target markets and marketing sources.

 

Land Use Plan Questions

1) Is our land use plan and allocation of zoning consistent with our objectives for achieving a mix of mutually supporting uses and activities?

2) Does our land use plan and zoning lend itself to an enhanced residential community?

3) Do our Comprehensive Plan and land development regulations need to be revised to be more focused on redevelopment and concentrating commercial uses?

4) If we developed a strategic plan, how well do these land use planning and control instruments serve our purposes?

 

Consultant Tasks

1) Utilizing the information generated through the analysis conducted for the residential, tourist, and commercial sections of this study, determine and identify what amendments to the Comprehensive Plan are necessary in order to promote the changes that have been identified.

 

Zoning Questions

1) Do the zoning regulations need to be modified?

2) If so, should they be strengthened or loosened?

3) Should the Zoning Code be modified to better focus on and ensure the preservation of the integrity of the existing residential neighborhoods?

4) Should the non-conforming regulations in the Zoning Code be modified to best achieve the desired vision of the island?

5) Should form-based codes be used for portions of the Town to best achieve our goals?

 

Consultant Tasks

1) The Consultant needs to provide the Town with a complete review of the Zoning Code in light of this study and recommend changes to the regulations that will support recommendations identified in the Plan.

2) The Consultant needs to provide the Town with an assessment of the current setback regulations and whether they have a positive or negative impact on development and land uses in general.

3) The Consultant needs to provide the Town with drafts of any proposed changes to the Zoning Code recommended to address issues identified in the study.

 

Community Meetings

1) Staff is anticipating that there will be a minimum of 10 community meetings, one for each of the above listed plan areas to conduct initial outreach and community input. Then a follow up meeting on each element to share the Consultant’s findings and get feedback on the findings of each element.

2) The Consultant will also be expected to attend and assist staff with the Public Hearings that would be required to adopt any of the plans or policies that result from this RFP.

3) The Consultant should be prepared to provide the Town with a plan for public outreach to insure maximum citizen involvement.

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