Friday, December 7, 2012

Don't Decimate the LPA

Orange County Mayor Jacobs' Development Streamlining Task Force released its Final Report.  It contains good ideas, including converting the County's outdated zoning code into a hybrid form-based code, allowing online filing of development applications, making traffic capacity reservations available online, appointing a project manager for planned development applications, and relaxing onerous parking requirements. 

It also contains a very bad idea--eliminating the County Land Planning Agency's Comprehensive Plan adoption hearing.  The Land Planning Agency consists of citizen volunteers who make recommendations to the County Commission.

During the three and one-half years that I served, a number of County Commissioners told me how much they rely on the LPA's analysis and recommendations.  Because proposed Comprehensive Plan amendments often change between transmittal and final adoption--and because changes to the Comprehensive Plan warrant careful consideration--eliminating half of the LPA's job would not serve the public interest.

As I told the Orlando Sentinel, "Streamlining should not come at the expense of citizen oversight."  Here's reporter Dave Damron's article on the Task Force recommendations:

(Click to enlarge)