Champaign’s Planning and Development Director Bruce Knight, FAICP, led a pro bono planning assistance team in West Melbourne, Florida, January 25-29. Volunteering their time and expertise, Knight led a team of professional planners on a Community Planning Assistance Team (CPAT) Project for the American Planning Association (APA). The CPAT program matches communities with little or no planning staff with teams of planning experts from around the country to address pressing planning issues. Previous teams have worked on economic development, transportation and disaster recovery efforts.
Knight’s team offered planning assistance to help the City of West Melbourne in its efforts to guide future development and establish a stronger community identity. West Melbourne currently lacks an identifiable downtown, which makes it challenging to distinguish the city from its neighboring communities. The community asked the team to study an option for establishing a town center along the Minton Road corridor. This arterial corridor is experiencing development activity and will soon have a unique community park that is expected to be a regional draw. The planning team worked with the community, including staff, real estate and development interests, and community residents, to create a conceptual land use plan and guidelines for future development along Minton Road.
Knight noted that the opportunity to work with an experienced team from across the country on a complex planning issue in a new community was a tremendous learning opportunity that will also benefit the City of Champaign going forward.