In Fall 2017, Nassau County invited the Urban Land Institute, a nonprofit education and research institute with expertise in real estate and development, to conduct a Technical Assistance Panel (TAP) regarding potential future growth and development pressures in Western Nassau County. The TAP report found that Western Nassau County was subject to significant development pressures based on a variety of factors including growth through internal and external employment centers and the desirability of quality of life in Nassau. The ultimate TAP conclusion was “[w]hile development is knocking at Western Nassau’s door, there is time to get ahead of the curve and follow a plan that contains development to appropriate areas, while maintaining the rural character in others. Doing nothing, however, will assure that development comes without restraint."
In response to the TAP, the Nassau County Planning and Zoning Board (PZB) elected to create a subcommittee comprised of PZB members who live in Western Nassau for the purposes of addressing the TAP conclusion. The PZB Subcommittee elected to name themselves the Western Nassau Heritage Preservation Committee (WNHPC) and held their first meeting in March 2018.
With assistance of County planning staff, the WNHPC created a roadmap for a two-year planning initiative to work on a vision plan and recommendations for addressing the growth and development pressures in Western Nassau. The first year of the two-year initiative consisted solely of community outreach in Western Nassau conducted through public meetings, open house events, surveys, one on one stakeholder meetings, roundtables, and attendance at community events to gauge citizens’ concerns and what they desired to protect in Western Nassau. The community feedback drove the creation of the following goal areas for the Committee to address: history, natural resources, health, quality of life, recreation, jobs and education, and public spaces and infrastructure.
In 2019, the second year of the initiative, the WNHPC began working on objectives and strategies related to the community-identified goals, creating a Western Nassau Vision Book. The Vision Book outlines objectives and associated strategies related to the community-identified goals addressing a variety of planning and policy issues. The Vision Book is not a regulatory document and does not itself adopt any County regulations.
The WNHPC adopted the Vision Book at their October 22, 2019 meeting; and on November 19, 2019, the full Planning and Zoning Board recommended the Western Nassau Vision Book be forwarded to the Board of County Commissioners for consideration and acceptance.
Acceptance of the Western Nassau Vision Book will enable the County to utilize the goals, objectives and strategies in evaluating and setting policies in Western Nassau County addressing history, natural resources, health, quality of life, recreation, jobs and education, and public spaces and infrastructure. Many of the identified strategies will involve collaboration among County departments, boards and elected officials, as well as outside agencies and partners.
Community engagement, outreach and partnerships will continue to be an important part of the process during implementation of the goals, objectives, and policies in the Vision Book.
At the December 18, 2019 meeting, the Board will be requested to approve a Resolution accepting the Vision Book.