As part of the CEP’s mission to be the catalyst for a prosperous community, the organization partners closely with local governments (as well as state and Federal) to ensure that we are creating and maintaining a business climate which encourages growth and prosperity. A recent example of this can be found in the issue of revisions to the County’s Comprehensive Plan.

Over the last several months, the Marion County Board of County Commissioners held workshops and public hearings on potential revisions to the Comp Plan. Among the groups who were active in participating in this process were supporters of our area’s equine industry as well as builders, developers, environmentalists, and others. Two of the clear desires of both the participants and the Commission was to strengthen our Farmland Preservation Area (FPA) and to incorporate language into the plan regarding the development of future transportation corridors especially in the FPA.

The FPA encompasses an area in northwest Marion County which is home to many of our iconic horse farms. While the FPA has existed for a number of years, it really did not have the structure to do as its name suggests—preserve farms. The CEP has been a proponent for quite a while of strengthening the FPA. Supporting the basics of the finalized language was an easy step.

Incorporating language regarding the development of transportation in this area relates back to the community’s experience last year when the state began discussions of building the Coastal Connector through the heart of the FPA. While this project died it was realized that having language in the Comp Plan which address how such projects develop was important. Many groups worked very hard to develop language which would adequately protect this area while also providing the County a seat at the table should such a project arise in the future. The CEP was honored to be able to recommend language that was ultimately adopted by the County Commission to be included in the official transmittal of the revisions to the state.

The revision process is a great example of our community’s leadership and democratic principles at work. Literally hundreds of citizens contributed to the process by attending meetings, speaking, and submitting comments. The final result is document that reflects our community’s strengths through partnerships and collaboration.

The CEP and our business partners greatly value our strong partnership with our local governments and look forward to continuing to work together to keep our community Moving Forward.

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