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Sarasota County comprehensive plan wins Outstanding Planning Project award

​SARASOTA COUNTY – Sarasota County's Comprehensive Plan has received the 2016 Outstanding Planning Project Award from the Gulf Coast Chapter of the Florida Planning & Zoning Association (FPZA).

The Comprehensive Plan guides the county's decision-making and investment of resources in the unincorporated areas of the county. Sarasota County recently completed an 18-month update to this important, overarching plan in order to reflect changes to our community characteristics and demographics.

"The Comprehensive Plan is essential in setting the stage for how we want to develop and grow as a community, and updating it was a huge undertaking," said Sarasota County Administrator Tom Harmer. "We're especially proud that this important work was facilitated and completed in house by our professional Planning and Development Services staff and more than 50 subject matter experts from multiple county departments."

The update process was broken up into various cycles that included a variety of public input opportunities, including workshops, deep dives, recorded meetings on YouTube, draft review meetings, stakeholder meetings and online surveys.

"Our team made extensive efforts to include citizens throughout this process," said Sarasota County Planning Division Manager Allen Parsons. "Public input was critical in updating this important planning tool that serves as a guide for the future of our community."

There were seven Planning Commission public hearings, followed by three days of transmittal public hearings with the Board of County Commissioners before the plan was sent to state, regional, and local agencies for their review and comment as part of a coordinated state planning process.

"Sarasota County did an outstanding job with its comp plan," said John Osborne, Manatee County planning official and president of the FPZA's Gulf Coast Chapter. "Staff handled public input professionally. Their work products, communications and handouts were extremely high quality and well written. This high level of performance builds better relationships and improves the public trust with the community and stakeholders."

The FPZA is a professional planning organization consisting of planners, zoning officers, property owners, developers, engineers, private and public lawyers, landscape architects, appointed and elected officials, lay persons, businesses and administrators.

For more information about the Sarasota County Comprehensive Plan, visit the link below or call the Sarasota County Contact Center at 941-861-5000.