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Lee County, FL

A rail corridor feasibility study was commissioned by the Lee County (FL) Metropolitan Planning Organization to assess potential public uses of a freight rail corridor that runs through central Lee County. The corridor is owned by CSX and leased to Seminole Gulf Railway. Potential uses include expanded freight capabilities, public transit, and multi-use trails. Spikowski Planning is a subconsultant to David Plummer & Associates, along with HDR and David Douglas & Associates.

El Paso, TX

Spikowski Planning prepared the regional land use patterns element for a new comprehensive plan for El Paso (TX). A new future land use map replaced the previous map’s zoning-like designations with growth and open-space sectors. The new map guides city decisions on annexations, impact fees, and utility expansions. A series of overlays defines key generators of movement and economic activity, plus prime locations for development and redevelopment.
 

El Paso, TX

Spikowski Planning assisted lead consultant Dover, Kohl & Partners in preparing an update for the Thoroughfare Plan for El Paso (TX). This plan illustrates a regional thoroughfare network for the entire county, implementing the city comprehensive plan's distinction between compact urban and drivable suburban contexts. The plan expands the collector and minor arterial network and sidesteps the hurdles caused by the conventional arterial/collector/ local classification system.

Southeast Florida

Community indicators can measure progress toward policy goals in fields such as transportation or quality of life. Spikowski Planning prepared this report, “Indicators and Benchmarks in Successful Regional Visions and Plans,” for the Seven50 Plan for Southeast Florida Prosperity, a plan for seven counties over 50 years. This report examines indicators and benchmarks that have been used around the country, either separately or as part of regional visioning efforts.

Lee County, FL

Land use scenarios for the year 2040 are being evaluated by the Lee County (FL) Metropolitan Planning Organization. The scenarios are be compared for their potential to reduce trip lengths and increase transit viability. In June 2014, the MPO will select a preferred scenario as the basis for its next long-range transportation plan. Spikowski Planning and Criterion Planners are working with Jacobs Engineering on this project.

Cocoa Beach, FL

The City of Cocoa Beach (FL) is seeking a cohesive vision for the commercial properties north of downtown Cocoa Beach. The resulting redevelopment plan is intended to spark desirable private development that will upgrade the city's primary tourism areas while retaining the character of Cocoa Beach. Spikowski Planning is creating implementation strategies to revise land development regulations and permit the desired form of future development.
 

Fort Myers, FL

Disaster-related redevelopment planning helps communities organize their long-term disaster recovery strategies so they can recover more efficiently, maintain local control over the recovery process, and build back better. Spikowski Planning was retained by the City of Fort Myers (FL) in 2012 to update its disaster-related redevelopment policies and upgrade other comprehensive plan provisions concerning hurricane evacuation and emergency shelter issues.
 

Fort Myers, FL

Downtown Fort Myers is the historic center of Lee County (FL) and home to major civic and government activities. To support its revitalization, the city government wished to improve mobility downtown by emphasizing alternate modes of travel, including improved transit, bike and pedestrian facilities, and land-use strategies that support these modes. Spikowski Planning assisted David Plummer & Associates in creating a Downtown Fort Myers Mobility Plan in 2012 and 2013.

Southeast Florida

Seven50 ("seven counties, 50 years") is a blueprint for prosperity for six million residents in Monroe, Miami- Dade, Broward, Palm Beach, Martin, St. Lucie and Indian River counties. Seven50 is spearheaded by the South Florida and Treasure Coast Regional Planning Councils and the Southeast Florida Regional Partnership, a collaboration of 200 public, private, and civic stakeholders. Spikowski Planning is assisting Dover, Kohl & Partners in preparing the Seven50 plan.  

Lee County, FL

Lee County (FL) applied a Density Reduction / Groundwater Resource designation to its southeast quadrant to protect the area’s shallow aquifers. These 83,000 acres also have farms, rural neighborhoods, limerock mines, and endangered-species habitat. Spikowski Planning was the chief local subconsultant to a national planning team that formulated land-use scenarios, analyzed long-term demand for rock, updated the comprehensive plan, and wrote a form-based code.

Longboat Key, FL

Longboat Key is an elegant resort community on a fragile barrier island in western Sarasota County (FL). Spikowski Planning is redrafting portions of the Town’s zoning code to add standards in response to court decisions that concluded the Town Commission had delegated too much discretionary authority to the quasi-judicial zoning process. The code revisions also create a procedure for allocating new tourist development rights approved in a referendum of Longboat Key residents.

Fort Myers Beach, FL

In 2005, the Town of Fort Myers Beach (FL) retained Spikowski Planning to evaluate the 1999 comprehensive plan, which is a periodic requirement of Florida law. This evaluation focused on improving Estero Boulevard for all users, creating a beachfront park and additional shared parking, adjusting the town’s "buildback" rules for older nonconforming buildings, and reconsidering the value of the town’s many motels which at the time were being converted to condominiums. 

Fort Myers, FL

A revitalization plan was created in 2006 for two major corridors that bisect the Dunbar community in Fort Myers (FL). This plan focused on physical improvements that would create complete walkable neighborhoods for this proud community. The plan also included critical regulatory changes and detailed strategies for implementation. Spikowski Planning, Lee Duffus, and Hall Planning & Engineering assisted Dover, Kohl & Partners in creating this plan.
 

Fort Myers, FL

East Fort Myers is a historic multi-ethnic community located midway between downtown Fort Myers (FL) and I-75 with two waterfront boundaries. Spikowski Planning and Lee Duffus assisted Dover, Kohl & Partners in creating an East Fort Myers Revitalization and Redevelopment Plan in 2010. The plan’s strategies included enhancing distinct neighborhoods; building more – but making it good; transforming Palm Beach Boulevard; and connecting the green spaces. 

St. Lucie County, FL

Spikowski Planning was chief code-writer for a plan to maintain farming in 28 square miles in St. Lucie County (FL) just beyond the urban fringe of Fort Pierce by transferring development rights to new towns and villages. This form-based code implemented a Towns, Villages and Countryside regional plan prepared by the Treasure Coast Regional Planning Council. Prior to this plan and code, one-acre lots were the default pattern, a density that is neither urban nor rural. 

Fort Myers Beach, FL

After the new Town of Fort Myers Beach (FL) created its own Comprehensive Plan, a new Land Development Code was needed to implement the plan. In 2001, the town retained Spikowski Planning to create this code, which includes zoning and subdivision regulations, a property maintenance code, floodplain regulations, marine and natural resource standards, a historic preservation program, and standards for waterfront properties facing the beach, bay, and canals.

Fort Myers Beach, FL

After residents of the Town of Fort Myers Beach (FL) incorporated and created its own Comprehensive Plan, a new Land Development Code was needed to implement the plan. In 2001, the town retained Spikowski Planning to create this code. The complete archives of the code development process remain on-line, including early drafts of each chapter, summaries of public participation, details of the adoption process, and prior amendments to the code.
 

Sarasota County, FL

In 2001 Sarasota County (FL) adopted a 50-year vision for redevelopment at key locations in its urban areas. A new zoning code was then adopted to incentivize redevelopment; however, the code was overly rigid and remained unused. Spikowski Planning and Dover Kohl were retained by the county to add more flexibility. A new form-based code was created for developers willing to allow early input from other stakeholders including nearby residents and county staff.

Fort Myers Beach, FL

Residents created the Town of Fort Myers Beach (FL) in 1995 to take control of land-use decisions from Lee County. Spikowski Planning was the lead consultant for a participatory process that produced an entirely new comprehensive plan. The plan revolved around a community design element that allowed the plan to bridge a major gap between the economic interests of its tourist economy and the many local residents who fervently opposed any further development.

Fort Myers Beach, FL

Residents created the Town of Fort Myers Beach (FL) in 1995 to take control of land-use decisions from Lee County. Spikowski Planning was the lead consultant in preparing an entirely new comprehensive plan. The complete archives of the comprehensive planning process remain on-line, including early drafts of each element, summaries of public participation, details of the adoption process, and amendments to the plan up until the 2005 evaluation and appraisal report.

Upper Captiva, FL

The Upper Captiva Community Panel has prepared a plan to preserve the character, scale, fragile environment, and way of life for residents and visitors to th this bridgeless barrier island in western Lee County (FL). Spikowski Planning is assisting Florida Gulf Coast University in drafting implementing codes that address low-speed electric vehicles on pathways, removal of invasive exotic vegetation from the island, and limiting outdoor lighting to maintain dark skies.
 

Greater Pine Island, FL

Spikowski Planning was the lead consultant to the Greater Pine Island Civic Association to protect a coastal community with a single access road and surrounded by aquatic preserves. Pine Island, in Lee County (FL), has few beaches or city services and limited employment, yet remains an affordable coastal community. The new plan limited development on farmland and phased growth to match road capacity. Spikowski Planning later drafted zoning regulations to implement the plan.

El Paso, TX

El Paso (TX) is building four bus rapid transit lines, supported by street improvements near stations to support compact mixed-use development. "Connecting El Paso" also focuses on downtown and other areas that can become new centers of El Paso, including redeveloping an abandoned smelter site, the largest undeveloped site near downtown. Spikowski Planning assisted lead consultant Dover, Kohl & Partners with transect assignments downtown and around major transfer centers.

Lehigh Acres, FL

Lehigh Acres in eastern Lee County (FL) is one of the largest 1950s-era antiquated subdivisions in Florida, with about 120,000 single-family lots. Spikowski Planning was the lead consultant for the Lehigh Acres Commercial Land Use Study which identified strategies to counteract mistakes of the original developer, which had reserved little land for businesses or other housing types. Corrective links were identified to repair critical discontinuities in the street network.

Lehigh Acres, FL

To encourage healthy commercial redevelopment in Lehigh Acres (FL), Spikowski Planning was retained by the community redevelopment agency to illustrate a variety of approaches to improving the storefronts of existing commercial buildings. Traditional local styles of architecture were used to illustrate design themes that would be would be equally appropriate to new buildings. Team Plan Inc. from North Palm Beach was the design subconsultant.

Lehigh Acres, FL

Veterans Park, now the largest community park in Lehigh Acres (FL), was landlocked when the only adjoining unplatted tract became available in 1995. Lee County was collecting impact fees to build new parks and libraries but expected unincorporated communities like Lehigh Acres to fund all operations. Spikowski Planning was retained by the community redevelopment agency for Lehigh Acres to assess the tract, prepare a preliminary site plan, and identify funding options. 

Lee County, FL

Reconnecting Lee County is an informal association that supports transit-oriented development, major improvements to public transportation, and sensible responses to the vast antiquated subdivisions in Lee County (FL). Bill Spikowski was a co-founder of Reconnecting Lee County with Mike Ciccarone, Charles Bigelow, and Brian Bigelow. Reconnecting Lee County educates its members and the public through symposia and public policy advocacy. 

Fort Myers Beach, FL

The Town of Fort Myers Beach (FL) retained Spikowski Planning to revise its zoning code to implement its 1999 Comprehensive Plan. The new code, adopted in 2003, combines conventional zoning districts for stable neighborhoods with form-based zoning districts for redevelopment areas. All zoning districts use a streamlined method of assigning land uses. The new code is administered by town staff, replacing a cumbersome public hearing process for most applications.

Fort Myers Beach, FL

Seafarer’s Mall was once the hub of tourism at Fort Myers Beach (FL), with a prime location in the block between Estero Boulevard, Crescent Street, and Fifth Avenue. In 2002, the Town Council approved a development agreement for a larger entertainment complex and shared parking facility that would be known as Seafarer's Plaza. Spikowski Planning was retained by the town to negotiate this agreement on behalf of the town. 
 

Lee County, FL

Planning for rural areas often starts and ends with requiring large lots and putting off further planning until growth pressures become overwhelming. The Estero Community Improvement Foundation retained Spikowski Planning to prepare a report, Toward a Greener Lee: Effective Planning Alternatives for Rural Lee County, that formulated critical planning questions for rural southeast Lee County (FL). This report examined rural planning efforts in four other coastal Florida counties.

Fort Myers Beach, FL

After forty years of zoning administered by Lee County (FL), the Town of Fort Myers Beach retained Spikowski Planning in 2004 to create a entirely new zoning map to accompany the new Land Development Code. This map contains conventional zoning districts for its stable neighborhoods, form-based zoning districts for its redevelopment areas. Obsolete zoning actions were transferred to a separate "historic" zoning map for reference purposes.
 

Fort Myers Beach, FL

In 2006, FEMA released preliminary flood insurance rate maps that would replace maps that had regulated development at Fort Myers Beach (FL). The new maps would have precluded sidewalk-level commercial uses in much of the town’s pedestrian core. Spikowski Planning, the town’s general planning consultant, commissioned Tomasello Consulting Engineers to peer-review FEMA’s models. Once all errors were corrected, the revised maps were far less damaging to downtown.

Cape Coral, FL

In just five decades, Cape Coral (FL) has gone from uninhabited to one of the largest cities in Florida. Yet much of downtown is still single-story buildings in strip format. Spikowski Planning assisted Dover, Kohl & Partners in preparing Design Downtown, a 2002 CRA master plan for downtown Cape Coral (FL), and a form-based code to implement that plan. A later plan for downtown Cape Coral, the South Cape Vision Plan, was prepared by Zyscovich Architects in 2011. 

Form-Based Codes

The Form-Based Codes Institute (FBCI) is a think-tank that develops standards for form-based codes, a type of zoning that can achieve community visions based on time-tested forms of urbanism. FBCI promotes the widespread adoption of effective codes, develops standards, and educates public officials and professionals on coding principles and practice. Bill Spikowski is a founding board member of FBCI and has taught every level of code courses the institute offers.

Southwest Florida

In 1994, Bill Spikowski wrote Farmworkers in Lee County: The Housing Challenge to identify housing needs of migrant farmworkers. This study was instrumental in the formation of the non-profit group Partnership in Housing, Inc. This group used the study’s findings to obtain federal grants to construct Pueblo Bonito, 130 units of affordable housing for families in Bonita Springs (FL). The first phase is shown above.
 
 

Fort Myers, FL

Florida’s Great Recession scuttled many of the high-rises proposed for the waterfront in downtown Fort Myers (FL). Six redevelopment parcels surrounding Centennial Park suddenly became available and could be used to expand this riverfront jewel for a small fraction of their cost just several years earlier. Centennial Park is a busy venue for political, entertainment, and religious gatherings, as well as a daily playground for city residents and host to a weekly farmer’s market.

Fort Myers, FL

The downtown redevelopment agency in Fort Myers (FL) retained the Miami planning firm Duany Plater-Zyberk & Co. to update a 1986 downtown master plan. The new 2003 plan was based on the principles of New Urbanism, focused on pedestrian connectivity to the built environment, streetscape improvements, increased residential densities, and restoration of the historic structures. This plan was updated in 2010 by Acquest Realty Advisors.

New Urbanism in Florida

In 2005, A Guidebook to New Urbanism in Florida was published to update an earlier edition and to commemorate and celebrate the rich variety and geographic extent of Florida’s New Urbanism. The 2005 Guidebook reflected the rising influence of New Urbanism over public policy and private investments in Florida’s designed environment. Bill Spikowski served on the editorial committee for the publisher, the Florida chapter of the Congress for the New Urbanism.

Collier County, FL

The Community Character Plan for Collier County (FL) integrates planning at the front lines of battles over sprawl, traffic, ecology, and equity. The public realm is defined as not only streets and urban open spaces but also systems of habitat, waterflow, and traditional rural patterns. Examples are provided to retrofit introverted subdivisions and transform arterials into great streets. Spikowski Planning assisted Dover, Kohl & Partners on this plan.

Collier County, FL

Naples Park, in northern Collier County (FL), is an affordable enclave in a wealthy coastal county. Spikowski Planning assisted Dover, Kohl & Partners in drafting The Naples Park Community Plan in 2003. Although never adopted by Collier County, this plan proposes solutions for chronic flooding, missing street trees, grossly inadequate sidewalks, improved integration of businesses and neighborhoods, and introducing small neighborhood parks.
 

Lee County, FL

BikeWalkLee is a community coalition raising public awareness and advocating for complete streets in Lee County (FL) -- streets that are designed, built, operated, and maintained for safe and convenient travel for all users: pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists, and transit riders of all ages and abilities. BikeWalkLee works with government staff and elected officials to create a strong culture of planning. Spikowski Planning is a proud supporter of BikeWalkLee!
 

Bonita Springs, FL

Lee County (FL) had created a community redevelopment agency for downtown Bonita Springs prior to the city’s incorporation. In 1992 the CRA commissioned a “Town Center” plan for the historic center of Bonita Springs along Old US 41. In 1995, Spikowski Planning was retained to draft an optional code to spur redevelopment in accordance with the town center plan. This code and regulating plan became Lee County’s first adopted form-based code.
 

Antiquated Subdivisions

A broad view of planning problems created by antiquated or obsolete subdivisions is available from a journal article, Planning in the Wake of Florida Land Scams, written by Bill Spikowski and Hubert B. Stroud, professor of geography at Arkansas State University. This article examines the spectrum of planning techniques available for responding to these problems, with special attention to Florida. Lehigh Acres (FL) is examined in detail in this article’s case study.
 

Greater Pine Island, FL

In 1976 Bill Spikowski joined with three colleagues to found Florida’s first conservation land trust, the Calusa Land Trust & Nature Preserve of Pine Island. He served 36 years as a director and officer. The trust now owns and manages 24 nature preserves on 1,650 acres of preserved land. including canoe trails, hiking trails, boardwalks, salt flats, mangrove swamps, islands, and extensive shoreline around Charlotte Harbor, Pine Island Sound and Matlacha Pass. 

Lecture on Form-Based Codes

The Raleigh (NC) Department of City Planning sponsored a lecture series in 2007 on “Designing a 21st Century City.” Bill Spikowski was invited to lecture on: Creating Urban Form: Conventional and Form-Based Codes. Examples of five early Florida form-based codes were presented, along with a brief history of zoning and a comparison between form-based codes and conventional zoning. This lecture was recorded and is available on DVD or streamed on the internet.

Fort Myers Beach, FL

The residents along Palermo Circle at Fort Myers Beach (FL) are fiercely loyal to their quiet neighborhood and feared that unchecked commercial expansion of the town’s primary tourism district would overwhelm them. In 1999, Spikowski Planning was retained by the town to conduct a Santos/Palermo Circle planning study. Outcomes included a street-tree planting program, new standards for temporary shared parking lots, and refined zoning regulations.
 

Fort Myers Beach, FL

A new comprehensive plan for Fort Myers Beach (FL) promoted the revitalization of the downtown core area, centered around Old San Carlos Boulevard and Crescent Street, the historic nucleus of commercial activity. In 1999, the town retained Dover, Kohl & Partners and Spikowski Planning to create a master plan that focused on high-quality public spaces that would promote walking and neighborliness and encourage reinvestment in private properties. 

Lee County, FL

Population and housing projections are the basis for expanding public water supply wells and treatment plants. Spikowski Planning prepared separate projections through 2030 for Cape Coral, Fort Myers, and Sanibel/Captiva, and for all of Lee County (FL). The Lee County Regional Water Supply Authority used this data as part of its Water Supply Master Plan. These projections were closely coordinated with planning for future roads by the Metropolitan Planning Organization.

Lee County, FL

In 1986 Florida required all counties to adopt comprehensive plans. Lee County (FL) had just created a new plan but it had to be revised to meet the new requirements. As a principal planner for the county, Bill Spikowski coordinated this major plan update. Innovations included a reduction in the amount of land designated for development, a water resource designation protecting the public water supply, and a privately funded infrastructure program for newly developing areas.