Report Prepared by Alan Woolwich, AICP, FAVA-CA Volunteer November 2000 Contact: Alan.Woolwich@countygovt.brevard.fl.us Phone: 321-633-2069 Awoolbpk@aol.com
Proposed Port Facility
The regional economy can benefit greatly from the creation and development of a modern deepwater port facility. This would eliminate dependence on the difficult port and marine facilities at Port-Au- Prince for conducting commerce. There seems to have been some siting analysis conducted to pick the current location of the proposed port where preliminary coastal road construction and wharf placement has begun. I was not able to neither review this analysis nor look in detail any potential alternative sites, or the site development and engineering plans for the facility and accessory uses currently under construction. I was also not able to review any environmental impact assessments, permits or reports issued by local, regional, or national planning and engineering officials for the project.
The primary factors that seemed to have been studied were the need for protected waters, good water circulation for flushing of the port itself, and the avoidance of constant maintenance dredging, the costs of construction, available land, and acquisition costs. It was not clear from the site visit or from discussions with port officials what type of environmental impact analysis was conducted to determine what short term and long-term primary and secondary impacts to uplands, wetlands, marine resources, and nearby rural residential neighborhoods that will result from the port being located at this site. From looking at available maps, charts, and air photos of the area there appear to be significant coastal wetland and near shore marine resources that are worthy of protection in this area that the nearby residents depend on for fishing and recreational needs. These areas may also have potential for future water based resort and tourism activities.
It was not clear from plans or written materials presented on how these critical shoreline resources in the region would be protected long term from the impacts of a commercial port and marina facility. Especially in the areas of liquid petroleum handling and discharge, solid waste, and sewage handling and disposal both on land and from commercial and pleasure vessels entering and leaving the port.
There is also a significant concern about the final location and design of the port and coastal access road in relation to the regions known vulnerability to tropical storms and hurricanes. No written information or studies were provided that show that the design and siting of the road and port facilities took into consideration the potential impacts of storm surge, flooding, and winds from tropical storms and category 1 through 5 hurricanes.
The current conditions of the coastal port road and wharf area need immediate attention. Although I am not a professional engineer my 13 years of experience with slope stabilization, erosion and sedimentation control, and wetland and coastal permitting leads me to the conclude that the cut and fill access road, the wharf area, and the surrounding marine environment, are extremely vulnerable to negative impacts of erosion and sedimentation from storm runoff and coastal erosion. Temporary measures need to be taken immediately to temporarily stabilize the site with vegetation and temporary physical structures, and allow coastal mangrove wetland areas and drainage ways to become reconnected to tidal flushing and exchange under bridges or through culverts along the construction road. Long-term designs need to address impacts to the road from coastal erosion and storm surge impacts. Especially in the areas of storm water runoff, shoreline stabilization methods, vegetated and armored slopes, and the treatment of storm water before discharge to nearshore waters, and future expansion of the road and travel lanes.
In conjunction with bridging and culverting of watercourses from upstream, pedestrian access to the water and coast by nearby residents needs to be considered. If people live in the area and have always had access they will continue to seek that access by crossing an increasingly dangerous roadway even if fences are erected. Again here the application of large box culverts or concrete arches could facilitate pedestrian access under the roadway along with accommodating drainage and other natural functions.
Other areas that need further planning and design considerations are the intersection of the port road and the national highway, future roadway widening, and the siting of the port industrial park area on lands to be filled on the coastal plain near the intersection of the port road and the highway.
The State of Florida Department of Environmental Protection Clean Marina Program can give some helpful insight into the planning and management of future marinas in the vicinity of the port. This can be accessed under the Law Enforcement Section on the agency website at
Proposed International Airport
The regional economy can benefit greatly from the creation and development of a modern airport facility for passenger, air cargo, and private plane operations and is needed. This could eventually eliminate dependence on Port-Au- Prince as a gateway for international arrival of passengers and freight and eliminate the need for connecting ground travel and connecting flights. There seems to have been some siting analysis conducted to pick the current location of the proposed airport near Aquin where to my knowledge no construction has begun. I was not able to review this analysis nor look in detail at any potential alternative sites like Les Cayes, or the site development plans, engineering plans, or environmental impact assessments for the proposed facility and accessory uses. I was also not able to review any permits or reports issued by local, regional, or national planning and engineering officials for the project.
The primary factors that seemed to have been studied were the need for large area with suitable geology and approach topography, the co-location of industrial uses, the costs of construction, available land, and acquisition costs. It was not clear from the site visit, or from discussions with airport developers, what type of environmental impact analysis was conducted. This analysis should determine what the short term and long term primary and secondary impacts to on site upland vegetation, wetlands, floodplains, floodways, downstream marine resources, nearby rural residential neighborhoods, and regional town centers will result from the airport and associated industrial uses being located at this site. From looking at available maps, charts, and air photos of the area there appear to be wetland and nearby marine resources that are worthy of protection in this area that the nearby residents depend on for fishing and recreational needs. Nearby areas may also have potential for future water based resort and eco-tourism activities.
Industrial Development Locations
It is critical that each town master plan clearly identify current ground water resources including aquifers, aquifer recharge areas, springs, well fields, floodplains, floodways, storm surge and coastal high hazard areas, steep slopes, freshwater and marine wetlands and watercourses, and any existing or potential brownfield sites. These items will be the leading determining factors in the safe and sustainable siting and design of future industrial uses. An industrial economic development plan should be created that targets and recruits appropriate industrial uses that provide economic opportunities for the region without destroying critical natural resources and negatively impacting the future health, safety, and welfare of existing and future residents and visitors from preventable air, water, and noise pollution.
I recommend that local and regional industrial development interests create strategies for economic development that result in improvements to local ecosystems and quality of life for residents and visitors. It should be understood that it is possible to achieve success in both business and environmental performance. Eco-Industrial Development (EID) has been beneficial to rural and urban communities by integrating business and environmental concerns through cluster development and asset based strategies. An eco-industrial park is a community of businesses that cooperate with each other and with the local community to efficiently share resources, leading to economic gains, gains in environmental quality, and equitable enhancement of human resources for the business and local community. This means that businesses participate in a closed loop production system to utilize resource recovery technology, to share energy, and exchange bi-products. This results in sustainable economic, ecological, and social relationships that are built through creative connections and networking.
Five Major Characteristics of an Eco-Industrial Park:
- Material, water, and energy flows;
- Companies within close proximity;
- Informal ties between plant managers;
- Minor development and retrofitting of existing infrastructure;
- One or more anchor tenants.
Community Planning Issues with EID:
- Impacts on transportation and infrastructure;
- Education and job training;
- Regulations and permitting systems;
- Emissions and waste management;
- Identification of how the e-park will improve the neighborhood/community in order for the project to be successful.
Successful Eco-Industrial Projects in the United States:
- Technologies Industrial Park, Cape Charles, Virginia
- Philips Eco-Enterprise Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota
- Riverside Eco-Park, Burlington, Vermont
- Mesa del Sol, Albuquerque, New Mexico
- Devens Industrial Ecology Project, Massachusetts
It should be noted that each project evolved from distinct needs of the community such as community revitalization or water conservation. What they have in common is that the stakeholders came together to consciously adopt a comprehensive strategy for future investment.
Additional information on these projects can be found at the Cornell Work Environment Initiative website at http://www.cfe.cornell.edu/wei
The contact person is Research Director, Ms. Maile Deppe, and AICP
Individual Town Master Plans
A comprehensive visioning process should be undertaken for each individual local government jurisdiction with help of a team trained professional land use planners, transportation planners, civil engineers, and environmental planners and engineers. The inclusive, participatory, and educational visioning process should be structured to include citizens, elected officials and business leaders in the region, landowners, and absentee landowners. Especially those local business professionals who have not actively participated in the process to date and have not been working closely with elected officials in the recent past. Coordination to seek Assistance with the Haitian Camber of Commerce may be a good start. In meeting with the Chamber they seemed very interested in the region and future projects and may be able to help further energize, organize, and encourage regional and local business interests to participate.
The visioning process should result in individual Town Master Plans for each jurisdiction giving direction for future land uses that minimally include, Residential, Mixed Uses, Commercial, Industrial, Institutions, and Public Facilities. This would be the basis for the creating of potential zoning districts and zoning codes if so desired.
It is critical that each town master plan clearly identify current ground water resources, aquifers, acquifer recharge areas, springs, well fields, floodplains, floodways, storm surge and coastal high hazard areas, steep slopes, freshwater and marine wetlands and watercourses, and any existing or potential brownfield sites. These items will be the leading determining factors in the safe and sustainable siting and design of major public and private infrastructure and future industrial uses.
A regional plan can then be created dealing with joint community interests and needs on Transportation, Ports and Airports, Public and Private Utilities, Environmental Protection, Disaster Prevention, and Economic Development.
The visioning and planning process for individual town master plans should follow these basic principles:
- Develop a very graphic, clear, and visually oriented master plan with broad-based citizen and business leader involvement and support;
- Create zoning, building, and reasonable historic preservation codes;
- Establish, beautify, soften, make safe and maintain a diversity of public spaces;
- Make and enhance great streets, boulevards, and lanes that have a comfortable balance between the auto, buildings, and pedestrians;
- Fill the village or town center with buildings and active uses. Eliminate or improve derelict buildings, abandoned uses, and debris;
- Build and redevelop at a human scale;
- Continue to build housing in the village and town center concept, including mixed uses. Choose industries carefully and locate future industrial areas within reasonable walking and bicycling distance from the town center;
- Establish a friendly and identifiable presence and feeling of security on all streets;
- Create continual funding for infrastructure construction and long term maintenance.
These are fundamental design principles for future private buildings that town building and zoning codes should encourage and require:
- Buildings are aligned and close to the street;
- Buildings form and protect private open space;
- Buildings have front porches and balconies;
- Buildings are designed for towns and villages;
- Property lines are physically defined by fences, hedges, and garden walls;
- Vehicle storage, garbage, and mechanical equipment is away from the street;
- Building architecture responds to and reflects the regional climate and culture;
Outline example of results from a neighborhood/community visioning process:
- Charrette Background;
- What We Discovered;
- Neighborhood/Community Strengths;
- Problems and Concerns;
- Opportunities and Strengths;
- Economic Opportunities
- Agriculture/Food Production
Summary of Recommended Actions;
- Infrastructure Development and Redevelopment, Port, Airport, Roadways;
- Greenways and Open Space Connections;
- Skills and Training Center/Business Incubators;
- Historic and Cultural Resources;
- Natural Systems Protection and Restoration;
- Streetscapes, Traffic, and Transportation Facilities;
- Community/Neighborhood Gateway Entrances.
National Highway #2
Efforts should be taken to establish a regional Highway and Bridge Authority that includes the major jurisdictions of Les Cayes, Cavillion, St. Louis du Sud, and Miragoane. The jurisdictional boundaries enabling powers would have to be further negotiated and discussed by the local, regional, and national authorities. The authority would have elected officials, staff or contracted professionals in each of the four sub-districts. The authority would have toll taking and levying abilities, fund and manage highway patrols and emergency services, regional road and bridge construction, road and bridge maintenance and repair. Other responsibilities can include bikeway and pedestrian facility construction and maintenance, stormwater management, signage, lighting, signalization, and the prevention of commercial and residential encroachment into the transportation right of way. The identification and GIS mapping of right of way needs to be completed soon along with complete private property boundaries to help with planning, design, and regulatory concepts and alternatives.
Additional Professional Technical Assistance
I am interested in providing additional technical assistance to the region and communities in the near future through the Florida Association of Volunteer Agencies for Caribbean Action. It is recommended that port development interests request that other government organizations in the State of Florida be contacted through FAVACA to provide additional technical assistance to the region and projects. These include land use and transportation planning professionals from the South Florida Regional Planning Council, coastal planning and management professionals from the Florida Department of Community Affairs, environmental permitting and engineering specialists from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, the South Florida Water Management District, and the Florida Department of Transportation.
In 1999 significant amounts of comprehensive printed information relevant to port and marina development, coastal and marine resource planning and management, neighborhood and community visioning, and traditional neighborhood development in coastal communities were assembled by myself and delivered through FAVACA to port development staff for technical assistance and planning purposes. The use and application of these useful materials was not immediately evident in the review of active projects and planning programs in the region to date.
Professional Planning Publications
The following is a list of publications that will be helpful to professionals and local officials interested in learning more about the planning issues discussed in this report. They are available for purchase from the American Planning Association and can be further reviewed on their website bookstore at http//www.planning.org:
PAS – Planning Advisory Service Reports
- Airport Noise Regulations, PAS 4 37
- Bicycle Facility Planning, PAS 459
- Capital Improvements Programs, PAS
- Crossroads, Village, Hamlet, and Town, PAS 487/488
- Designing Urban Corridors, PAS 418
- Guide to Wellhead Protection, PAS 457/458
- Industrial Performance Standards for a New Century, PAS 444
- Infrastructure Support for Economic Development, PAS 390
- Local Economic Development Planning, PAS 353
- New Standards for Non-Residential Uses, PAS 405
- Non-Point Source Pollution, PAS 476
- Online Resources for Planners, PAS 474/475
- Planners Guide to Sustainable Development, PAS 467
- Planning for Hillside Development, PAS 466
- Private Funding for Roads, PAS 246
- Selecting and Retaining a Planning Consultant, PAS 443
- Solid Waste Management, PAS 424/425
- Subdivision Design in Flood Hazard Areas, PAS 473
- “The Practice of State and Regional Planning”, So, McDowell, and Hand.