The City of Belle Isle is a Florida Home Rule City incorporated in 1924 and operates under the Council/Manager form of government. Located along Lake Conway and its chain of lakes, the City strives to continuously preserve its natural resources and enhance the quality of life of its residents to provide a safe, serene Florida community.
Earlier this year, the City Council authorized the City to advertise a Request for Proposal (“RFP”) seeking planning professionals to help with the development and update of a Comprehensive Plan. The last update to the City’s Comprehensive Plan was in 2008, and the City wished to have an updated document setting forth goals for land development, economic development, resiliency, sustainability, transportation, accessibility, and open space preservation. On March 20th, by unanimous decision, the Belle Isle City Council selected RVi Planning + Landscape Architecture as the consultant for the City’s Comprehensive Plan Update.
“Belle Isle’s vision is to provide residents with a safe and quiet way of life for families to enjoy. RVi demonstrated in their Comprehensive Plan Update RFP that they understand and seek to maintain two vital qualities of the Belle Isle Community: that is preserving the characteristics of this small city amid the urban growth and development of Orange County and the City of Orlando and addressing efforts to protect the Conway Chain of Lakes and the natural scenery we pride ourselves on,” said Raquel Lozano, Belle Isle’s City Planner. “RVi’s recruitment of our previous City Planner, April Fisher, and Applied Ecology demonstrates their willingness to hone in and support the unique identity of Belle Isle for years to come. With their team’s expertise and knowledge, RVi can plan to manage responsible growth, guide neighborhood protection, and enhance the quality of life in Belle Isle.”
RVi has a proven track record of delivering high-quality results for local governments. For instance, our team recently collaborated with the City of Bonita Springs to assist with the Evaluation and Appraisal Report of their 2009 Comprehensive Plan and prepare a series of updates to the plan. These updates included amendments following changes in state law and the implementation of multi-modal transportation vision plans.
Our planning and landscape architecture teams have worked with various communities across Florida on various planning projects, including several recent Comprehensive Plan Updates. We are incredibly humbled to be selected for this opportunity as our firm shares the City of Belle Isle’s belief that creating a healthy community requires a comprehensive understanding of the big picture and attention to detail. With the added expertise of Fisher Planning and Development Services and environmental policy specialists at Applied Ecology, Inc., we are excited to collaborate with the City of Belle Isle on this significant undertaking.
Addressing Sustainability and Resiliency
“As a small community approaching build-out, the focus of the Belle Isle Comprehensive Plan Update effort is not targeted on guiding new development, but rather, the RVi Team recognizes the opportunities of the Comprehensive Plan Update to manage growth pressures, guide neighborhood protection, enhance the quality of life, and in some instances the redevelopment that may occur,” said Alexis Crespo, Vice President at RVi. “Our approach will incorporate innovative planning tools to ensure the community remains livable — including multi-modal transportation infrastructure, integrated land use patterns, and environmental resiliency measures. Our team understands what changes can be made relating to growth management while ensuring private property rights laws are upheld. We look forward to assisting the City in achieving this balance as part of the Plan Update process.”
In addition, the comprehensive plan update also encompasses resiliency and low-impact development policies aimed at safeguarding water quality and native habitats, which our team recognizes as crucial concerns for the City given its distinct location adjacent to Lake Conway and Little Lake Conway. These modifications will enhance the City’s continuous endeavors to preserve its environment, such as tree canopy, while prioritizing the protection of its lake systems to ensure their purity for future generations.
Creating an inclusive, community-based process
Leveraging RVi’s previous experience and achievements in similar undertakings will prove advantageous in conducting goal-setting workshops with the City’s personnel and, when relevant, significant decision-makers to facilitate the identification of fundamental concerns affecting the City. We understand the challenges facing due to growth pressures stemming from unprecedented population increases across the State and certainly in the Central Florida area and look forward to delivering on the City’s commitment to preserving the character of this community as a special lakefront enclave amidst the urban and growing forms of development in the City of Orlando and Orange County.