Regional Planning Overview

Regional Planning Projects take many shapes and sizes as the needs of the individual governments and the region vary. A city may need an update to their comprehensive plan, assistance with a special project, i.e., administering an annual household hazardous waste day, creating the data sets and maps for re-districting their boundaries and undertaking the annual apartment survey.

One of our most impactful projects was the development of the first-ever regional sustainability plan. The Plan for Opportunity was completed in 2013, www.gulfcoastplan.org. In 2010, GRPC was awarded a grant from the United States HUD to assemble a regional consortium of public, private and non-governmental organizations to create a twenty-year plan of recommendations that would guide land-use decisions and encourage development patterns that would strengthen the neighborhoods, communities and the economy of the MS Gulf Coast. The consortium was challenged to assess how well the housing, transportation, water, food and economic systems were functioning to support the economic and social needs of the people on the coast. Extensive public engagement was the keystone to understanding the problems and issues that prevented people and business from achieving their full potential and success. The resulting plan was feasible and practical and is currently being implemented by the various agencies and organizations that participated in the three-year planning process.

Nature-Based Tourism Strip

2016 Nature-Based Tourism Planning Project

The Department of Marine Resources (DMR), as part of its National Heritage Area Program, is leading the development of a nature-based tourism program for South Mississippi. This region includes Pearl River, Stone and George counties as well as the three coastal counties of Hancock, Harrison And Jackson. The consultant managing the plan development process is Allen Environmental Services. Additional support agencies include Gulf Regional Planning Commission (GRPC) and the Heritage Trails Partnership.

GRPC is supporting the program in two core areas. 1. Stephanie is coordinating the public/stakeholder meetings to gather plan input. 2. Jeff, Ken and David S. are developing a regional map that identifies key nature-based opportunities throughout the planning area. The final result of this contract will be a communications plan that will build awareness of what NBT opportunities area available. the plan will include strategies to increase community awareness of all that is available and engage the locals to participate. It will have an advertising component to drive people out of state to South Mississippi for their next vacations and it will outline how and where NBT information will be housed for easy access to all.

The early part of the program is information gathering.The planning team is working to determine what the needs are to make the plan successful. Next will be the development of the plan which will largely be completed with the support of stakeholder teams. Finally, AllenES will produce a final program document that will highlight the steps taken to promote NBT with recommendations for further actions as funding becomes available.

The entire project is set to be completed in 2016. For more information, progress updates or to provide feedback please contact Jeff Loftus at jol@grpc.com or 228-864-1167.