Setting the Stage

On August 5, 2008, the Mayor and City Council members extended an invitation to the public to experience the realities and components of successful smart growth planning. Experts were assembled by the City of Inverness to present details of a study that included the costs and benefits of development options and fact based results, including a conceptual plan to chart potentials and growth patterns for the City of Inverness.

The presentation addressed facts on the cost and inconvenience of relocating county offices outside the City of Inverness. An analysis comparing the current and future population of Lecanto, Inverness and Crystal River, along with the projected drive times to the respective locations was addressed.

One could, by viewing the analysis, think it rather comical to suggest that 11,585 residents be asked to drive longer distances for county services so as to make it more convenient for a population of 725. As an alternative, it was suggested the Crystal River service center be expanded and to consider embedding mini-centers in areas that residents frequent for non-governmental services (ie., retail stores), thereby eliminating unnecessary travel. Besides being more convenient for residents, these centers would reduce energy consumption while protecting the environment.

Also included within the discussion was the projected cost of building and relocating county offices to Lecanto. Maps were presented to show the existing Lecanto complex area, the property likely being considered for development, and the reasons why the considered area does not support future development needs down the road. It is clear, property near the current Lecanto complex is limited and does not support smart growth or consideration of future needs of the county.

Another fact presented was the convenience of offices being located downtown and the ability to walk to other services, stores or restaurants versus a rural location which means driving to the next destination. While the City of Inverness has proven the cost and inconvenience to county residents of relocating offices outside of Inverness, regardless of the final decision by county leaders, the smart growth and future vision for the city will remain.

More on Smart Growth
Nationwide communities are becoming increasingly concerned about past patterns in which new developments reached further and further out from the hub of existing infrastructure (roads, utilities, etc). Initially the growth was welcome; however, communities are realizing these build-outs, commonly referred to as "sprawl", are not in the long term interest of cities, rural communities or wilderness areas.

If you would like to find out more about Smart Growth, we can recommend the following two websites:

Smart Growth Network and Smart Growth America