Aerial photo at Marion Avenue and Taylor Road in downtown Punta Gorda. Future development regulations that could affect downtown and other areas in the city will be up for discussion Wednesday during a Zoom meeting hosted by the city and Punta Gorda Isles Civic Association.

PUNTA GORDA — Punta Gorda’s future is starting to take shape as the city works to reform regulations for establishing the look and feel of downtown and other areas eyed for new development.

Reforms to those land development regulations — and implementation of form-based codes — will be up for discussion Wednesday during a Zoom meeting hosted by the Punta Gorda Isles Civic Association and city staff.

Form-based codes focus more on the physical form of the buildings and less on land use specifications.

Wednesday’s presentation begins at 10 a.m. and features City Manager Greg Murray and city planner Mitchell Austin.

Participants do not need a Zoom account to join the meeting and will have an opportunity to comment on the discussion.

Access to the meeting can be found through PGICA.org or by going to us02web.zoom.us/j/83201194457.

Meeting ID: 832 0119 4457

Passcode: 575912

Punta Gorda’s ‘quaint, hometown image’

The city’s downtown area has been a hot topic for residents in recent years, citing concerns of potential building heights and the overall loss of the city’s hometown feel.

“By (using) form-based codes, we will have the ability to control what a building facade will look like on our landscape,” said Mayor Lynne Matthews. “We will be able to provide architectural guidelines to developers to ensure we have articulated rooflines (and heights) and other architectural enhancements that will keep our commercial properties unique and in sync with other properties around them.”

This will also help ensure that the city’s “quaint, hometown image” is maintained, according to Matthews.

“We are a small, very unique and quaint city,” she said, “and we want to preserve that image. This is what the residents who live here have asked us for, and what is desirable for future growth.”

Sheri Lenora, PGICA’s liaison to the city, has advocated for form-based codes since 2018 when the city began developing its Citywide Master Plan — a guide for future development in the area — with consultant firm Dover Kohl & Partners.

“Residents and the city alike need to be closely involved in this process to ensure the (outcome is) reflective of Punta Gorda and its uniqueness, and not simply a repetition of other cities,” Lenora said.

Lenora went on to say that many benefits come with the use of form-based codes.

“The ability to delineate architectural standards, certainty in expectations for both citizens and developers, a streamlined application process to spur development and attract new developers, and ensuring that new or infill development is better integrated into the existing community (are just some examples),” Lenora said.

More details on Wednesday’s Zoom meeting can be found on PGICAs website at http://bit.ly/3q0LiJS.


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