The mission of the Greater Tallahassee Chamber of Commerce is to be the catalyst for business and community growth. To accomplish this, we focus on three priority areas –Growing Business, Bridging the Talent Gap, and Advocating for Business. During the COVID-19 pandemic, that work has only gained importance. This is especially true in our advocacy space.
Despite the challenges of remote meetings and displaced staff, our local government leaders are continuing to serve the public and make major decisions on the future of our community. Here at the Chamber, our advocacy efforts on behalf of the business community have not stopped either. Recognizing that our members are all working hard to sustain their businesses during these difficult times, we feel it is important to share a meaningful update on some major votes that are coming before the City and County Commissions next week.
On Tuesday May 26, in addition to the regularly scheduled Blueprint Intergovernmental Agency meeting, the City and County Commissions will meet jointly to decide on several significant Comprehensive Plan Amendments. As part of that agenda, there is a major vote scheduled that is related to the expansion of the Urban Services Area (USA). This expansion includes large properties within the City limits that are commonly known as “Welaunee.”
Before a decision is made on whether to include these large tracts of land into a designated growth area in the City, officials are taking public comments and feedback via email. The Chamber Board of Directors has not taken a formal position on this issue, but before the vote, we would like to share some key information with our members. Based on this information, should you like to share your opinion or stance on the matter, we would encourage you to reach out to Commissioners directly via email.
The most important thing to know when considering how we plan for future growth in Tallahassee is that our population is projected to grow by over 56,000 people in the next 25 years. Based on currently available properties and their respective land use capabilities, there is not enough room to accommodate that increase in residents. The land being considered for inclusion into the USA was annexed into the City limits 30 years ago, and since then has been an important part of our community’s long-term growth strategy. Amazingly, this parcel is the only privately owned land within the City limits that is not part of the USA. Adding this large acreage tract into the USA would allow the single owner and the City to eventually master plan the site so that future growth is consistent with our broader community vision.
In short, the decisions being made next week will have a major impact on our community’s ability to plan for growth in the decades ahead. As champions for smart and impactful growth that leads to economic opportunities, our members have an opportunity to weigh in. If you would like to review the policy changes being proposed next week, you can find them at the City’s website.
One valuable resource for weighing what policies are business-friendly is the Chamber’s Guiding Principles. For those who are not familiar with the Chamber’s Guiding Principles, you can find them on our website. They can be helpful tools for understanding how many business community leaders are forming opinions on issues like these. Our hope is that members who have a stance on this matter share it with their local elected officials.
To contact City and County elected officials on this matter, please use the email addresses provided below:
Thank you, as always for being an advocate for business and our community. Our members are the backbone of our local economy and your voice matters greatly.
Vice President, Advocacy and Public Policy