Key Principles and Benefits:
Housing, Transportation and Economic Opportunity
Transportation Mobility Element
The Plan promotes more mobility options and responds to changing demographics and emerging markets by linking long-range multimodal transportation plans with standards and incentives for higher density, mixed-use development along planned transit corridors within the existing urban area.
This approach provides for non-residential employment-based land uses proximate to residential areas, reduces trip lengths, and can also reduce the transportation component of housing costs. (See chart)
The Plan’s Economic Element addresses workforce training opportunities, promotion of local businesses and targeted industries, tourism and other strategies and incentives to diversify the local economy and provide a range of employment opportunities, including in the emerging ‘Green Jobs’ sector.
The Plan promotes affordable housing throughout the County through flexible lot sizes, unit types and provision for accessory dwelling units. The Housing Element supports programs for homeownership and rehabilition of existing housing stock.
Compact Mixed Use Development
Future Land Use Element
The Future Land Use Element focuses urban development within a defined urban growth
boundary (Urban Cluster) to maximize efficient use of land, separate urban and
rural areas, and protect agricultural areas and natural resources.
The Plan promotes the continued concentration of growth in the Urban Cluster by providing incentives for new development located within urban residential land use categories to be designed as Traditional Neighborhood Development (TND) or Transit Oriented Development (TOD) with higher transit-supportive densities and mixed uses.
About 90% of new residential development in unincorporated Alachua County has occurred within the Urban Cluster, which comprises only 8% of the unincorporated area, over the past 10 years. Agricultural activities are promoted in the rural area, and there are policies and incentives for clustered development in the rural area; larger new developments are required to cluster to protect open space for continued agricultural or conservation uses and provide for more efficient use of land.
Promote Local Agriculture and Resource Protection
Conservation and Open Space Element
The Plan promotes local food production and establishment of community infrastructure to support a local food system, such as processing facilities and local farmers markets. Policies promote urban agricultural uses such as residential chicken keeping, community gardens and edible landscapes, as part of the effort to reduce community greenhouse gas emissions by shortening distances to bring food to local markets
The Plan protects the diverse range of natural resources and agricultural and silvicultural lands with policies promoting agritourism and ecotourism as well as policies promoting more sustainable practices including reduced use of synthetic fertilizers. Policies protect air and water quality, species diversity, and identify six primary conservation areas and methods for protection, including wetlands, surface waters, 100-year floodplains, listed species habitat, significant geologic features and strategic ecosystems.
Critical Ecological Corridors are mapped (see above) and protected through a range of tools including regulation, acquisition, and inter- governmental coordination to maintain critical habitat connections within the County and the region. The Plan promotes the use of Low Impact Development (LID) storm- water management techniques to protect water quality and for efficient stormwater management. (See photo above)
Foster a Healthy Community
Community Health Element
The Community Health Element focuses on public/private partnerships including local government, University of Florida and the Alachua County School Board to preserve the health of County residents, prevent chronic illness and facilitate health care delivery, and improve the livability and opportunities for active living.
Energy Conservation and Greenhouse Gas Reduction
The new Energy Element sets a long term goal for reduction in community greenhouse gas emissions of 80% from 2009 levels by the Year 2050, through strategies related to conservation, improved efficiency, and promotion of alternative and renewable energy. Objectives and policies in nine areas include: reduction in energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions; the built environment; energy efficient land use; energy efficient transportation systems; initiatives by and within County Government; promotion of local food production and processing; renewable energy; solid waste strategies both to reduce solid waste disposal and to promote waste to energy industry; and public outreach and education. The Alachua County Courthouse (right) was built to LEED Silver Certification standards.