Santa Rosa County Planning and Zoning Director Shawn Ward discussed transportation issues with town hall attendees (photo courtesy Santa Rosa County)
A master plan for the 27 square miles in the Greater Navarre area is underway, and the firm hired to facilitate the study will make an October 25 presentation to county commissioners.
The effort is aimed to provide a framework to shape the future of Santa Rosa County Commission District 4, and the public has weighed in at two town hall meetings and through a community survey.
Facilitators say the project is important because the unincorporated area has a population of around 40,000 and is attracting a growing permanent and tourist population.
The community survey results revealed that of the roughly 450 responses received, about 57 percent believe Navarre is growing too fast.
Of the participants, almost 95 percent agreed traffic congestion was a challenge for growth in district. Improvement of road maintenance services was considered important by more than 80 percent.
Other high-ranking concerns were stormwater and a lack of public parks — with 77 percent supporting the development of small park areas in the district and more than half favoring the acquisition of property for conservation or recreation.
Nearly 98 percent of those surveyed said they commute using a single-occupancy vehicle, more than half said they would “never” use public transportation if it were available and 73 percent stated they have not experienced parking difficulties in the district.
Almost half of participants said each week their household visits businesses outside the district, and attracting new businesses was considered important or somewhat important to more than 75 percent of participants.
More than half of those surveyed said new commercial development should take place on Hwy. 87 South.
Casual sit-down restaurants were favored by nearly three out of four participants with more than half also wanting places to hang out, such as a coffee house and entertainment venues.
Other improvements participants said they would like to see included more neighborhood sidewalks and multi-use paths for bicycles and pedestrians. More park facilities were selected by roughly 68 percent of participants.
Safety and a sense of community were the two highest ranks values for which participants expressed desire for the future of the district.
The District 4 master plan presentation will take place at 6 p.m., Thursday, October 25 at the end of the Santa Rosa County Rezoning Meeting. The meeting will take place at the County Administrative Complex, located at 6495 Caroline Street in Milton.
The meeting will also be available to watch online at www.santarosa.fl.gov (select October 25 on the calendar at the bottom of the webpage then click on “more details” for the 6 p.m. rezoning meeting.