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Comprehensive Plan

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Per Section 163 Florida Statutes, local governments are required to create, adopt and maintain a Comprehensive Plan that addresses where residential and non-residential uses are located in the area. Polk County addresses the location of uses within unincorporated Polk County. Florida Statues provides for two methods to amend the Comprehensive Plan – Small Scale and Large Scale Amendments. Amendments to the Comprehensive Plan are proposed by property owners, and sometimes local governments, to change the designation from those listed within the Comprehensive Plan to another one listed in the Comprehensive Plan. Amendments can also include text amendments. Small Scale amendments are for properties 10 acres or less and Large Scale amendments are for text amendments and properties that are larger than 10 acres. Each requires a review by the Planning Commission and the Board of County Commissioners. Only Large Scale amendments are reviewed by state and regional agencies.

State Agencies' Roles in Comprehensive Planning

According to the Florida Department of Commerce, the Comprehensive Plan is a state required document that serves as a blueprint for future commercial and residential land uses, housing, and conservation, as well as cultural and recreational amenities. An important component of the comprehensive plan is identifying the new infrastructure and growth demands needed to support the future physical and economic development of the community. Strategic investments made now in infrastructure, housing, recreational amenities, and education will create communities where families will want to live, where companies will want to do business, where jobs will be available, and where people will come to work and play.

The 1985 Growth Management Act and later changed to the 2011 Community Planning Act authorizes the Department of Florida Commerce’s Economic Opportunity’s Division of Community Planning, Development reviews comprehensive plans and plan amendments for compliance with the Florida’s Growth Management Act.

Other review agencies, including the regional planning councils, water management districts, the departments of State, Transportation, Environmental Protection and Agriculture, along with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, also review comprehensive plans and amendments and issue recommended objections to Florida Commerce DEO. Large scale (50 acres or more and text amendments) Comprehensive Plan amendments are transmitted to Florida Commerce for their review. Florida Commerce issues a report called Objections, Recommendations and Comments Report (ORC Report) and a Notice of Intent (NOI) for the adoption of a Comprehensive Plan amendment. The ORC Report and the NOI can be viewed on the Florida Commerce’s website at Case summaries of proposed Comprehensive Plan amendments and other land development cases may be viewed here.

Have Questions?

For questions regarding the Comprehensive Plan or any of the proposed Comprehensive Plan Amendments, please contact the Planner-On-Call.