At its Feb. 5 meeting, City Council approved contracts with Dover Kohl & Partners, LLP to update the City’s Comprehensive Plan and Land Development Regulations (LDR’s) in concert with the PLAN Punta Gorda 2019 Citywide Master Plan. The LDR’s will focus on form-based codes which speak to predictable built results and a high-quality realm by using physical form as the organizing principle for the code.
Council reiterated its position that the new codes address height in terms of feet as opposed to merely stories. The entire effort could take at least eighteen months, since the Comprehensive Plan changes will need State review and approval. City Council approved implementation of impact fee increases for parks, mobility and public safety at the full (100%) level recommended in the 2019 Development Impact Fee Study. Also included in the ordinance is a waiver for affordable housing projects that qualify as affordable for a period of at least ten years after the building permit is issued. If approved at second reading, the fee increase will be effective May 20, 2020. Impact fees are intended for new construction (residential and commercial) to assist in paying for growth-related impacts on public facilities.
Also on Feb. 5 the Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) approved moving forward with a bid process to replace the playground equipment, filter system and fountain and add splash pad features. Staff will obtain costs to undertake these projects and bring it back for CRA consideration. Additionally, the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) US 41 Corridor Vision Plan was presented at the Feb. 5 Council meeting. They summarized stakeholder issues, concerns and needs from previously held community input sessions. The issue of a lack of a northbound turn off Madrid onto US 41 was raised once again with no resolution forthcoming from FDOT. City Council will discuss the matter at its upcoming Feb. 19 meeting.
The search has started for Punta Gorda’s next City Manager —application deadline is Apr. 1. City Council will be forming a community panel representative of our residential, business and non-profit sectors to assist with the interview process that will take place in late May. The goal is to negotiate a contract with the top ranked candidate by Jul. 8, and for the new City Manager to start employment on Oct. 5, 2020. More information on the position can be found on the City’s website at www.ci.punta-gorda.fl.us/government/human-resources/employment-opportunities.
Howard Kunik is the City Manager of Punta Gorda.