FRCA Forward – September 2016

CFRPC Strategic Growth Areas of Highlands County Under Development

The CFRPC in partnership with Highlands County and several public sector, private sector and community stakeholders, have been developing a framework for urban visioning that may be applied to strategic growth areas of Highlands County. The project has included the development of a vision study, comprehensive plan goals, objectives and policies and implementing land development regulations that incorporate policies to plan for a mix of uses, jobs, and a variety of housing types and services to support the Encouragement Zone as part of an interconnected community with walkability and amenities to make all uses successful. To ensure this framework and recommended policies will successfully accomplish the intent, the project includes a pilot vision project known as the Sebring Airport Encouragement Zone/Spring Lake Mixed-Use Development Area Overlay.
The pilot vision project allows for the implementation of the Avon Park Air Force Range Joint Land Use Study to promote compatible community growth and support the military training mission. The study area Including the Sebring Airport and Commerce Park area, which contains the designated Rural Area of Opportunity (RAO) Catalyst Project for the Heartland Region that targets future industries, improves the sites ability to meet industry or target company needs, making each site a credible economic asset. The area is also identified as a Key Project in the Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) for the Region.
The Sebring Regional Airport property was selected as a catalyst site, and is undergoing infrastructure installations to support future construction of a 100-acre medical complex to be located in an adjacent 2,000-acre business campus. The RAO Catalyst site includes the Sebring Foreign Trade Zone (FTZ no.215). The site also is the location for Sebring International Speedway. The Sebring Regional Airport and Commerce Park is identified as a key regional employment center that seeks to create an “Encouragement Zone” to foster planned expansion and development opportunities.
This work has been funded through three Community Planning Technical Assistance grants awarded to Highlands County by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity. The visioning framework is not only an innovative guide to proactive, economically resilient planning, but also a model for other local governments.


For more information on this project contact Jennifer Codo-Salisbury at 863-534-7130 x178 or



2016 Indian River Lagoon Economic Valuation Update

East Central Florida and Treasure Coast Regional Planning Councils worked together recently to complete the 2016 Indian River lagoon (IRL) Economic Valuation Update. Based on 2014 labor and employment data, the purpose of the update was to: 1) estimate the total annual economic output of the IRL; 2) establish a repeatable and valid methodology for future updates; and 3) identify and resolve missing and incomplete data sets for making future updates better. So just how valuable is the IRL to the five-county region’s economy? The updated valuation data suggests that total annual economic output of the IRL is more than $7.64 billion, with a positive annual return on investment calculated at 33 to 1.

The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) is the driving force behind the update, tying back to the Florida Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund (GEBF) Restoration Strategy. NFWF (2016) explains the process further:



TBRPC Awarded a Grant from the Tampa Bay Estuary Program

TBRPC has been awarded a grant from Tampa Bay Estuary Program under the Tampa Bay Environmental Restoration Fund to develop cost-effective projects that will implement the coastal, estuarine and freshwater wetland habitat and water quality restoration priorities that have been developed by the Tampa Bay Estuary Program and its partners.

For more information please contact Avera Wynne, Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council,