Public Participation

Photo"Palm Beach County's Future Determined by its Stakeholders "

The Managed Growth Tier System (MGTS) was created as a result of the public's desire to maintain and enhance the diversity and quality of lifestyle choices that exist in Palm Beach County, but which seemed to be diminishing as a result of rapid growth in both population and development.

The Managed Growth Tier System evolved from an extensive urban form study conducted by County Planners. Following public workshops and input, the Board of County Commissioners (BCC) directed the Land Use Advisory Board (LUAB) and staff to pursue development of a tier system that would establish a growth management framework for Palm Beach County. The BCC and LUAB selected 49 County residents representing a range of stakeholders to form the Policy Development Task Force (PDTF). The PDTF included citizens, business leaders, developers, environmentalists, community activists, and other professionals who all worked together to build a consensus on the policies that would direct the County's growth into the 21st Century. In order to develop a coordinated plan that comprehensively addressed the diverse needs of various regions throughout the County and yet is flexible enough to guide development through a 20 year planning period, the PDTF was divided into four key focus groups:

Group 1 - This group addressed policies for the established urban service area. They also addressed those areas exhibiting characteristics of economic and social disinvestment that were defined as revitalization and redevelopment areas.

Group 2 - This group addressed policies for diverse areas outside the urban service area that covered a broad area including conservation, agricultural production, rural and exurban areas.

Group 3 - This group addressed policies relating to the provision and allocation of pubic services, infrastructure and facilities for all of the tiers, as well as fiscal policies addressing delivery of these provisions.

Coordinating Committee - This Committee included members from each of the other three groups. Their purpose was to address general policy issues that affected multiple tiers; to coordinate issues addressed by the focus groups if a policy of one tier affected another tier; and, if possible, to bring policy issues to consensus if consensus was not reached within one of the focus groups.

The PDTF's responsibility was to identify the needs of each area of the County while keeping their focus on the importance of planning for the County as a whole. Each group spent time brainstorming, educating, talking, listening, learning and debating their visions of how the region should grow and how to protect and enhance the variety of lifestyle choices offered throughout the County. Their vision formed the framework for the County's Managed Growth Tier System.

Following a year long public information-gathering process involving citizens from the Central Western Communities, the PDTF spent a year using a consensus building approach as the basis to formulate goals, objectives and policies (GOP's). The GOP's were retained only if the PDTF reached consensus on both the concept as well as the language of each. Not only did the PDTF provide input regarding the tier system and its policies, but they also helped educate elected officials, neighbors and associates about the importance of changing Palm Beach County's system of growth management.

Over a two year period, there were 28 PDTF meetings, each ranging from a half-day to a full day in length, 22 public meetings at various locations around the County to obtain public input, two public workshops, and three public hearings to provide testimony regarding the program prior to its adoption. Throughout development of the MGTS, there were opportunities for citizens' comments to be included for consideration.

Consequently, there was solid public support for the Managed Growth Tier System and it was passed unanimously by both the LUAB and BCC. Additionally, as a result of engaging the stakeholders, the public has been empowered to assist in the implementation of the program and many individuals have actively continued engaging others in the planning and development process. Since adoption of the Tier System, additional public workshops have been held to further implement the MGTS.


Policy Development and Consensus Procedures

PDTF Members

Credits and Acknowledgments


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