The applicant must be:
- a municipal or county government, or
- a local nonprofit entity in participation with the local government that is able to demonstrate a strong working relationship with local government staff and officials.
Eligible communities are those that are required to prepare a coastal element as part of their local government comprehensive plans pursuant to section 163.3177 6(g), Florida Statutes. The community must recognize the waterfront as a special place and be committed to developing policies that encourage the preservation of recreational and commercial working waterfronts.
Additionally, communities must have the resources to designate a local Waterfronts Florida program manager for at least three years and to support a Waterfronts Florida committee representing the broad interests of the waterfront area.
The Waterfront Area
The designated waterfront area should be contiguous, a manageable size, and have a common identity, focusing on its waterfront proximity.
Designation Process - Application
The Waterfronts Florida community designation process is undergone in three steps. The steps - along with reference resources - are as follows:
- The Statement of Interest
- The Community Assessment and Inventory
- The Vision Plan
Step 1: Statement of Interest
Get buy-in and support from the community, build your Waterfronts Florida Partnership Committee, and let us know you are interested in designation as a Waterfronts Florida community. For more information, including the required content, see Community Statement of Interest - Designation Process: Step One.
Step 2: The Community Assessment and Inventory
Assess the current condition of the community's waterfront and prepare an inventory of community waterfront assets and needs. The assessment provides an opportunity for the community to collect baseline information about current waterfront conditions, which will help the community create a vision for waterfront revitalization and operate the local Waterfronts Florida Partnership. The inventory of community assets and needs will assist the community in identifying local revitalization priorities. For more information, including the required content, see Assessment of Current Conditions and Inventory of Community Assets and Needs - Designation Process: Step Two.
Step 3: Community Vision Plan
Components of a community's Vision Plan will address, at a minimum, the four priority focus areas of Waterfronts Florida (public access to the waterfront, hazard mitigation, environmental and cultural resource protection, and enhancement of the viable traditional economy or economic restructuring). DEO anticipates that the Vision Plan has been or will be adopted by the local governing body with the intention of incorporating vision recommendations into the local comprehensive plan. For more information, see Vision Plan Preparation - Designation Process: Step Three Step 3.
Communities that wish to apply for designation as a Waterfronts Florida Partnership Community are encouraged to take part in a two-day training event - the Coastal Community Planning and Development Training Course. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Environmental Protection Agency, and state coastal resource management agencies have developed an introductory, two-day course to help coastal communities address development issues. The course helps participants:
- Understand current coastal development patterns and trends,
- Understand the primary drivers (e.g., codes, regulations) that influence growth and development patterns,
- Understand the social, environmental, and economic impacts and benefits of various development patterns,
- Understand the principles of integrated and comprehensive growth strategies,
- Assess the current state of growth and development in their communities,
- Increase their ability to effectively communicate with stakeholders on this topic; and,
- Understand the purpose and process of creating a collective vision for how and where coastal communities grow.
Benefits of a Waterfronts Florida Partnership Designation
By participating in the Waterfronts Florida Partnership Program, a waterfront community is empowered to develop and implement a community-designed revitalization plan (vision plan) that promotes coastal resource conservation and economic development through focus on the program's four priority areas. Internal capacity is strengthened as a community realizes that it has the power to effectively make changes, renew interest, and redirect its course. The community visualizes and begins implementing a plan for the redevelopment and revitalization of its waterfront while also helping to sustain the rich heritage of Florida's working waterfronts. During a community's designation process the Program provides:
- Assistance in organizing the local Partnership and volunteers into highly functioning committees.
- Assistance in creating successful partnerships with local government, citizens, businesses and civic groups.
- Technical assistance related to visioning, comprehensive planning and land development regulations, waterfront revitalization, environmental protection and redevelopment.
- Training and peer exchange opportunities for local program managers and committee members.
- Assistance in locating additional funding and other resources for continued implementation of the community's revitalization plan.
- Mentoring and networking opportunities from other Waterfronts Florida Partnership Communities that can offer assistance with their experience and expertise.
After the completion of the designation process, communities become "Designated" Waterfronts Florida Partnership Communities and remain an active part of the Waterfronts Florida network. Program staff and resources remain available to provide more general technical assistance and advocacy for Graduate Communities. In order to remain active, Designated Communities continue to attend annual state program managers' meetings and are frequently called upon to share their experiences and expertise with other waterfront communities interested in the Partnership Program.
Technical Assistance Offered to Designated Communities
Designated Waterfronts Florida Partnership Communities and communities actively pursuing designation are eligible to receive the following services:
- A statewide coordinator who conducts the statewide Waterfronts Florida Partnership Program and delivery of related training and technical assistance services.
- Training - A training workshop that provides information regarding participation in the statewide Waterfronts Florida Partnership Program, the four priorities, public involvement, and specific tasks associated with the funding. This training event is targeted to communities currently going through the designated process to become Waterfronts Florida Partnership Communities, but is open to all communities in the state.
- Waterfronts Florida Program Managers' Meetings that rotate among the designated communities -- Program Managers, Board Members, and others gather for a two-day meeting that may include single or multiple topic workshops, presentations from Local Programs, and tours or demonstrations by the host program, and may include specialized presentations or training by a consultant in one of the areas of specialization listed herein. These meetings are designed to be helpful to the host program as well as attendees from other communities. All waterfront communities in the State are welcome to attend Waterfronts Florida program managers' meeting and training events.
- Technical Assistance is provided through site visits, workshops, training, personal contact, and through special publications. Designated Communities receive ongoing technical assistance as they develop and implement their vision plans. Assistance includes guiding and assisting the community in accomplishing the following: comprehensive planning to preserve recreational and commercial working waterfronts; planning and development of environmentally acceptable projects; information regarding state and local permits; mentoring from graduate Waterfronts Florida Partnership Communities, etc.
- Designation Ceremony - The Waterfronts Florida Partnership Coordinator and other program staff will visit the community following designation to promote the local Waterfronts Florida Partnership.
Progress Report Documents
During the funded years of Waterfronts Florida, new communities were required to perform specific grant reporting procedures throughout their first two years of designation. The Department of Economic Opportunity can now provide these documents to communities upon request. Some reference guides and sample forms are provided below to assist communities continuing to undertake Waterfronts projects.
Graduate communities are also highly encouraged to continue tracking waterfront revitalization indicators assessing community involvement, economic investment, and community achievement. The Florida Assessment of Coastal Trends (2000) provides a full discussion of revitalization indicators.
Program Managers' Meetings
Two weeks prior to each program managers' meeting the department asks that all designated communities complete a Roundtable Discussion Form. The forms should be downloaded, typed in Word and returned via email to the Waterfronts Florida Coordinator, whose contact information is available at the top of this page.