The Perdido Key Master Plan Public hearing was held on September 13 2012 at the Perdido Bay Community Center. The first attempt at this meeting had been stormed out by Tropical Storm Isaac. One of the more amazing facets of the night was the attendance of the meeting. The meeting room was packed with standing room only. The Myescambia site claims over 120 were in attendance. Personally i got confused counting after I ran out of fingers and toes.
Andres Duany of Duany Plater-Zyberk was the “master of ceremonies” and I must say the way he ran the meeting was quite masterful. Mr. Duany remarked quite intuitively after the first hour of the meeting “this must be quite a divisive issue” and you heard alot of people chuckle. He went on to say “you know how I can tell…..by the attendance, these meetings that I run quite often, never generate this kind of crowd unless there is some controversy” it was at that point that all of the controversy came bubbling to the surface….. It was “beach mouse this” and “Fish and Wildlife that” and the hits just kept on coming… Again my hats off to Mr. Duany as to how he was able to corral the crowd and keep us all moving forward while still hearing what the stakeholders had to say! Kudo ‘s also to Allen Dennis, he did a great job starting the public hearing off by reading a well written prepared statement.
Other interesting facts and tidbits:
- Mr. Duany informed us all that the planning business is a “generational process” meaning that what we do now with this Perdido Key Master Plan, will take a generation to actually take hold and come to fruition. He made this point after he went through the room and did and informal survey of everyone’s ages and remarked that there really needed to be more 20-somethings at the meeting because they will be the ones actually reaping the benefits of this process. It is my opinion that there are very few 20-somethings living on the Key while there are obviously hundreds in the nearby areas. The Perdido Key population is dominated by mostly older professionals and retirees, which is in line with the property values of the key. Hopefully more 20 somethings will come to the charrette’s.
- There was the possibility that there could be as many as 13 additional three lane widening ‘s (turn lanes) that could be added to Perdido Key Drive. Exactly where is something that we could work out in the charrette.
- That there was a plan being negotiated now between the State, the County and Fish and Wildlife ( and maybe Obama himself) that 66 acres would be some how released from the grip of the Fish and Wildlife’s ITP Process. This tidbit raised more questions than you could imagine. Mr. Duany went on to add that 66 acres would be released in 12 acre increments very 5 years, which even created more frantic questioning. During the question bombardment he was able to calm the crowd and ask everyone to shelve their questions because no one had the answers to any of the questions because it is still being negotiated. I would like to interject my opinion on this,” just imagine the process that will have to be created to determine who will get access to the 12 acres of exemptions. This is going to be Government Red Tape’s finest hour”.
- Another tidbit bestowed upon us by Mr. Duany was the 27 MPH factoid. At one point in the evening there was a discussion about traffic. About how it was so bad and what could be done about it. It was at this point that Mr. Duany explained that traffic in and of itself was not going to go away (I am paraphrasing). He explained there are certain things you can do to possibly slightly affect the traffic but that traffic was not going to go away because we live in an open society and people are going to travel which creates traffic. It was here that he explained to us that 27 MPH is the fastest speed to move the most autos through a given corridor or length of road. As we speed up (faster than 27 MPH) the drivers start to space out the distance between cars and the actual amount of throughput of autos through the the given length of road start’s to decrease. This was all according to Mr. Duany and he swore it to be true. OK maybe he didn’t swear, more like a pinky promise. Well lets just say I believed him and you are reading this on the internet so it has to be true! So it was at this point in the evening that he mentioned that maybe we would reduce the speed limit to 27 MPH (or maybe he said 30mph??) Well lets just say that no one clapped or let out any yells of approval. Later in the evening one resident voiced their reluctance to this idea…. Personally my head was spinning just thinking about all of the added revenue the Sherrif’s office was gonna make on speeding tickets (remember ten fingers, ten toes from above).
So the meeting went for a full two and a half hours 6p-8:30p just as advertised. I must admit when I first saw it was scheduled for 2.5 hours I thought this is a typo. Then after it was confirmed by a call to the county that it was not a typo, I recall thinking to my self when I was walking into the meeting how long will it be until I beat a path out of there. Well much to my surprise and to Mr Duany’s credit I enjoyed almost every minute of it! As I mentioned above he has a real polished way of working the crowd. Hopefully he will be back for the design charette, which reminds me there is going to be a charrette! According to the Myescambia.com site the Design Charrette will occur October 15-17 Location TBD. At the Public hearing they mentioned that charrette will be at a Unit at Villagio Shopping Center on the Key but after the huge attendance he said they will need a larger space. See below (Cursor Down) to see the definitions of a Charrette.
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Definition of Charrette
char·rette [shuh-ret] noun
a final, intensive effort to finish a project, especially an architectural design project, before a deadline.
Charrettes in general
A charrette is a method of organizing thoughts from experts and the users into a structured medium that is unrestricted and conducive to the creativity and the development of myriad scenarios.
The word charrette may refer to any collaborative session in which a group of designers drafts a solution to a design problem. While the structure of a charrette varies, depending on the design problem and the individuals in the group, charrettes often take place in multiple sessions in which the group divides into sub-groups. Each sub-group then presents its work to the full group as material for future dialogue. Such charrettes serve as a way of quickly generating a design solution while integrating the aptitudes and interests of a diverse group of people. Compare this term with workshop.