Yes, but with a few caveats. Under Florida law, any open development order approved at the county level before incorporation stands. And while a new town is working on its own 20-year comprehensive plan, it must administer local zoning and planning services in accordance with the county’s comprehensive plan.
However, within two years of incorporation, Florida’s new municipality must produce a 20-year comprehensive plan. Once this comprehensive plan is adopted and approved, the new town can implement and enforce land use, density restrictions, zoning, and development requirements to protect our community. Understandably, this plan becomes the priority for most new towns.
The comprehensive plan becomes a guiding and defining document for developers who want to work within the community. Escambia County’s comprehensive plan for 320,000 people is roughly 100 pages long. Fort Myers Beach, a town of around 6,000 people, produced a detailed, comprehensive plan of over 550 pages. It expresses and communicates the residents’ vision for their community to developers and community leaders for years to come. Such a focused, localized plan would put our community in a much better position to guide development in a way that does not compromise our wildlife or way of life.