If adopted, a new master plan, coupled with changes to current zoning regulations, could create greater walkability as well as a town center concept for the Perdido Key area of Escambia County.
Consulting firm DPZ, working with Escambia County’s development services division, presented a draft master plan and suggested zoning changes in December to the county’s planning board, Perdido Key residents, developers and business owners.
The emphasis on walkability is guided by the concept of New Urbanism made popular through the planned community in Seaside, which was designed by DPZ in the early 1980s. The signature characteristic of Seaside is a thriving town center within walking distance of homes and offices.
Marina Khoury, an architect, urban planner and partner with the consulting firm, said the plan is an update of one presented but not adopted in 2012.
The draft master plan includes proposals for five different town centers characterized by retail and mixed-use buildings organized around central gathering spaces.
A recent study showed the area could support a 6,000-square-foot grocer and more than 80,000 square feet of retail space.
Suggested zoning changes would reinforce walkability, create more choices and stress consistency in different areas. Changes would address setbacks, lot widths, permitted uses and building heights, among other features.
Other features of the town center would include 35 mph speed limits, on-street parking, mixed land use, buildings fronting streets and small block sizes.
The timeline for zoning changes and construction has not yet been determined. A zoning workshop is planned for next February, followed by a planning board hearing in March.
Perdido Key is an ideal destination for vacationers at any time of year, with many options for those who prefer beach condos or houses.