Part of the money being spent by DOT includes hiring consultants to interview major landowners across the state and find about their development plans. The consultants are also supposed to come up with ways that the state could strike deals with these landowners to set aside land for what would most likely be toll roads.
The consultants include two former top executives from The St. Joe Company, the once-formidable real estate development firm that was forced to scale back its own efforts amid the collapse of the housing market.
Environmentalists aren't happy with this since it is part of the controversial decision to revive the "future corridors action plan" that they view as an effort to help open undeveloped portions of the state. DOT has countered by saying it is a good idea as part of its planning process to discuss with property owners possible options about reserving right-of-way for future transportation improvements.
The AP story on this effort is here.
The contract to interview landowners is worth up to $106,000, according to information from DOT.
The work includes:
- Conduct up to 20 personal interviews with major landowners to obtain their input regarding proposed statewide visioning and corridor planning activities. The purpose of the interviews will be to document existing development plans for each landowner’s property, including the status of sector plans, DRIs, and similar initiatives; to understand potential future development plans and the factors that may influence these plans; to obtain input on issues the Department should consider as part of its statewide visioning and corridor planning activities; and to identify legislative, policy, and regulatory changes that might facilitate public/private agreements between the Department and private landowners in support of statewide visioning and corridor planning activities.
As well as this:
- Prepare a draft strategic memorandum identifying potential linkages between sector plans, rural land stewardship areas, and other statutory land use planning activities and the proposed statewide visioning and corridor planning activities, including recommendations for changes to statutes, regulations, and policies. Submit a draft strategic memorandum for review by the Department Task Manager and senior staff. Prepare a final strategic memorandum upon receipt of comments from the Department.
- Prepare a draft technical memorandum identifying potential approaches to developing right of way dedication or reservation agreements between the Department and landowners to facilitate future transportation corridor development. This memorandum should recommend a framework for model agreements. Submit a draft strategic memorandum for review by the Department Task Manager and senior staff. Prepare a final strategic memorandum upon receipt of comments from the Department. Revise as directed by the Department Task Manager. Develop a conceptual policy framework and business points to facilitate the development of sample agreements between the Department and landowners based on the approaches recommended in the technical memorandum. Revise as directed by the Department Task Manager.