Overview, Planning Principles, And Benefits
The Farmton Plan is a new model for long-term large-scale planning and sustainable development. It is the first large scale private planning effort which puts protection of environmentally sensitive lands first. It is a master plan for the long-term future of Farmton Tree Farm, over a 50-year horizon. The Plan was adopted as a Comprehensive Plan Amendment in Volusia and Brevard counties. In January 2011, Brevard County’s portion of the plan was found in compliance by the Florida Department of Community Affairs, and in April 2011, Volusia County’s portion was found in compliance.
In Brevard County, it is designed as an innovative and flexible land use framework which preserves environmental resources and reserves areas for sustainable development over a 50 year time horizon. It used a "greenprint" process to identify nearly 80% of the land for long term conservation. Land designated by the greenprint will ultimately be conserved in perpetuity.
Remaining lands are designated as Sustainable Development Areas with new land use districts for Gateway, Workplace, Town Center and Villages in Volusia. In Brevard County, the plan designates a single mixed use area. Overall, the Plan requires very high standards of sustainability including water and energy conservation, jobs to housing ratio, affordable housing, and green building.
Extraordinarily High Standards of Sustainable Development
Miami Corporation, Volusia County, and Brevard County have won statewide awards for the Farmton Plan’s high standards of planning and its innovative sustainability efforts. In 2011, they won Sustainable Florida’s Best Practices Partnership Award and the Florida Planning & Zoning Commission’s Innovation Award. In 2013, Miami Corporation received the Commissioner’s Agriculture-Environmental Leadership Award from Adam Putnam, the state of Florida’s Commissioner of Agriculture.
The Farmton Plan uses innovative planning tools to protect open space and reserve "Sustainable Development Areas" for future residential and economic development. It relies on established Smart Growth techniques for conservation development and rural clusters. The net effect is that there will be no increase in residential densities in either Brevard or Volusia through the year 2025. After 2025, the reserved Sustainable Development Areas will still uphold high standards, by having a master plan and being reviewed by the Development of Regional Impact (DRI) process, including provisions for infrastructure and fiscal neutrality.
Planning Principles and Framework
The planning framework of the Farmton Plan is fundamentally different from other large scale comprehensive plan amendments. Miami Corporation believes that the proposed plan is not only a greenprint but a lasting legacy of conservation and intelligent planning that will be valued for generations to come and can be used as a model for others to consider when moving ahead with their own planning efforts.
Long-term, legacy planning. The Plan takes a 50-year, vision-based approach to comprehensive planning for the landscape. It eliminates ranchette rural sprawl, antiquated subdivisions, and prevents incremental, haphazard, piece-meal development.
Greenprinting. The heart of the plan is the greenprint – a process that identifies up-front approximately two-thirds of the land as "GreenKey". Ultimately, 46,000 acres (nearly 80% of the 59,000 acres of Farmton) will never be developed and will be conserved forever – at no cost to taxpayers. Sound science, on-the-ground analysis of the land, and collaboration with lead environmental organizations helped to identify these “must save places” for future generations.
Large-scale Conservation. Farmton’s ecological treasures are of regional and statewide significance and serve as habitat and regional wildlife corridors for many species. Since each County’s plan is customized, the Farmton Plan in Volusia County has added special provisions to protect all of its lands designated as Environmental Core Overlay or primary Florida black bear habitat. In total, Farmton’s land conservation has been planned so that the 46,000 acres will be perpetually protected through conservation easement subject to a conservation management plan with special provisions for protection of imperiled species such as the Florida Black Bear, Bald Eagle, and Swallow-Tailed Kite.
Largest Conservation Opportunity in Florida’s history. When the county approved the Farmton Local Plan, Volusia county staff estimated the value of the land to be placed in conservation between $600 million and $1.1 billion. Conservation easements held by multiple parties will ensure the land will be protected forever..
Rails-to-Trails. Nearly 16 miles of the 52-mile East Central Regional Rail-Trail runs through Farmton and will soon be part of one of the state’s longest trail systems.
Sustainable Development. Areas identified as suitable for future development will adhere to very high standards for sustainability and will be planned with core values of Smart Growth, Traditional Neighborhood Design, Transit Oriented Development, walkability, green building, and water and energy conservation measures.
Water. There is a sufficient, sustainable water supply available to more than meet the future needs of Farmton. There are strict standards for water conservation and water neutrality.
Fiscal Neutrality. All infrastructure within Farmton, including roads, water and sewer will be privately funded and will not be paid for by taxpayers.