Serving DeSoto, Hardee, Highlands, Okeechobee and Polk Counties

Newsletter 2014 June

Council Celebrates 40th Anniversary

The Central Florida Regional Planning Council was officially created in July, 1974.  The five Counties of DeSoto, Hardee, Highlands, Okeechobee and Polk entered into Interlocal Agreements with the State of Florida to create the seventh region in Florida.  Our mission is to provide support, planning, and programs to serve the citizens, cities, and counties of our region. Over the past 40 years, we have provided planning advisory services and programs to all five counties and 25 cities of the region.   Our services are diverse, and include economic development strategic planning, emergency preparedness planning, transportation planning, intergovernmental coordination, coordinating regulations for large scale developments, community visioning, and a wide variety of grant writing and grant management activities.  We are proud to provide opportunities for public participation in government at all levels.  The Central Florida Regional Planning Council takes pride in serving as a forum for leaders and residents of the region to discuss issues, solve problems, develop programs, and build consensus, in order to improve our communities.

Affordable Housing Toolkit

fpza_awardOn June 13, 2014, the CFRPC and the Shimberg Center for Housing at the University of Florida received the Outstanding Plan/Study Award from the Florida Planning and Zoning Association.  The Affordable Housing Toolkit includes three innovative tools:  1) Housing Suitability Model for siting affordable housing by analyzing the nexus of appropriate land use, neighborhood accessibility, demand for affordable workforce housing, transportation cost; 2) Affordable Parcel Inventory provides a GIS database of all current affordable housing within a jurisdiction and parcels available for development of affordable and workforce housing; and 3) Fair Housing Equity Assessment identifies historic, current and potential future impediments to access to housing for all people.  This toolkit was developed for use in rural and urban counties through a consortium of the CFRPC, UF, and local governments and included coordination with the Heartland 2060 Affordable Housing Working Group. The Affordable Housing Toolkit maybe viewed at

Local Government Projects completed with DEO Technical Assistance

The CFRPC staff worked, over a 10-month period, with seven local governments who received Community Planning Technical Assistance Grants from the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity.  Grants were awarded for projects within rural communities, projects promoting economic development and projects that provide innovative planning that may be replicated by others.  The projects included three vision plans, two Findings of Necessity, one Land Development Code Update, one 10-Year Water Supply Plan and one vision framework project.  Development of the three vision plans included extensive community engagement with residents and business owners.

CFRPC Awarded $400,000 Brownfields Grant

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has awarded CFRPC a three-year grant to fund environmental assessments of potential contamination by hazardous substances or petroleum products in the Combee Settlement Area of Polk County. Participation by property owners is voluntary. The grant is designed to support a previously awarded grant for an Area-wide Planning Project in this economically and socially distressed area. The goal of the Area-wide Planning Project is to promote cleanup and redevelopment that creates jobs and improves the physical conditions, infrastructure, and new and improved housing opportunities.

Florida Energy Resiliency Report

fpza_award_energyThe Florida Regional Planning Councils received the 2014 Sustainability Award from the Florida Planning and Zoning Association.  Florida’s eleven Regional Planning Councils have developed the Florida Energy Resiliency Report for the State of Florida. In preparation of the Energy Resiliency Report, the RPCs surveyed public attitudes toward energy costs and tolerance for alternative choices; considered the circumstances of energy issues that are specific to Florida; and performed sophisticated economic analysis by modeling scenarios of different energy policy scenarios or potential future supply disruption events. The report also identifies and assesses strategies that Florida might use to guide its energy future and create and retain jobs. Florida utilities, universities, government agencies, local officials, and businesses were engaged during the report’s development. The Report may be downloaded at Florida Energy Resiliency Report – December 2013.

NADO Webinar features Heartland 2060: Building a Resilient Region Report

heartland_2060_resiliency_plan_coverThe National Association of Development Organizations recently hosted a webinar on “Designing a Regional Plan that People will Read”. The Heartland 2060: Building a Resilient Region report was one of three highlighted in the webinar. Over 150 participants joined the webinar as Pat Steed, CFRPC Executive Director, shared the experience of preparing a 40 page report which captures the work of 6 years, 16 work products, and over 1000 pages. This award winning report was prepared in house by the staff of CFRPC. The report can be found on


Council Members

Chairman W. Patrick Huff, Vice Chairman Clayton Williams, Melony M. Bell, Sue Birge, Neda Cobb, Ray Domer,  Dr. Marshall Goodman, Ron Handley, Robert Heine, Chet Huddleston, Buddy Mansfield, Elvie Posey, J.P. Powell, Jacqueline Tucker, Bud Whitlock, and Edith Yates.