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eNews Issue 2011.7

from BOB HUNTER, FAICP, Executive Director 

Connect with the Planning Commission

Robert B. Hunter, FAICP


Did you know 96% of 18 - 35 year olds are on a social network?  And that facebook usage is up 40% since last year?  In fact, 48% of young Americans say they find out about news through facebook!  New technologies are transforming how we communicate our message, provide access to information, and receive meaningful feedback. 


As planners, we are always looking for new and better ways to get more people involved in planning.  In the past, local governments have relied on hosting public meetings, attending neighborhood meetings, and costly legal advertising to reach out to and hear from what can be a limited audience.  No, the public meeting will not be going away, but  the economic downturn has inspired public agencies across the country to be more creative in their outreach methods.  The Weekly Planner is a great example of how the Planning Commission is cutting costs by using this eNews format rather than the expensive production, printing and mailing costs associated with hard-copy newsletters. woman online


A multi-layered, multi-media approach has emerged as the best way to effectively and affordably reach out to a broader segment of the population.  Social media has grown beyond expectations over the past few years.  In the United States, twitter has nearly 106 million accounts, and facebook has roughly 150 million users.  

social media demographics 

Currently, the Planning Commission has more than 700 facebook friends and fans and is approaching 3000 followers on our twitter accounts.  Our social media usage and multi-layered public involvement techniques have been recognized as a Best Practice by the FHWA (Federal Highway Administration) and FTA (Federal Transit Administration). 


On May 17th, the Planning Commission will be hosting a Town Call, where thousands of Hillsborough County residents can participate from the comfort of their own homes and provide important feedback as we work together for a more sustainable future.  Look for Town Call information in upcoming issues of The Weekly Planner.  Until then, stay connected with us at:


Planning Commission web sites








Planning Commission on facebook





Planning Commission on twitter





Planning Commission on television


All regular meetings of the Planning Commission (normally 2nd Monday of each month at 2:00 p.m.), Metropolitan Planning Organization (normally 1st Tuesday of each month at 9:00 a.m.), and the annual public hearing of the Transportation Disadvantaged Coordinating Board are broadcast (and webcast) on HTV.


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In This Issue
Connect with the Planning Commission
Watch our Purpose & Vision video!
Take a Survey!
Balm Community Plan Workshops Continue
River Board Joint Meeting Flows Smoothly
What's Going On


4/14 10:00 am Service Provider List

                     Selection Committee Meeting


4/18 2:00 pm 

Planning Commission Regular Meeting & Workshop  (rescheduled from 4/11)


4/19 6:00 pm 

Balm Community Plan Workshop


4/21 6:15 pm

Planning Commission 29th Annual Community Design Awards


5/6 8:15 am

 Partnering for the Future Workshop


For more information on meetings and events, please visit our website:




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Balm Community Plan Workshops Continue

On March 22nd, the Planning Commission hosted the second in a series of public meetings and workshops to begin the development of a Community Plan for the Balm area.  This rural area of southeastern Hillsborough is one of several community plans being prepared for unincorporated areas of Hillsborough County.  Property owners adjacent to Balm area were invited to join the Balm property owners at the workshop, which included a presentation of planning basics and a detailed look at the long range transportation plans for Balm and the surrounding communities. The group discussed what a study area is, and then participated in a mapping exercise to consider possible revisions to the Balm Community Plan study area.  The next workshop will be held April 19th from 6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. at the Balm Civic Center, 14701 Balm Wimauma Road.


River Board Joint Meeting Flows Smoothly
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The Hillsborough River Interlocal Planning Board held a joint meeting with its Technical Advisory Council (TAC) on March 29th.  Normally, the Board meets quarterly, and the TAC holds separate monthly meetings.  This was an excellent opportunity for the River Board to interface directly with its Technical Advisory Council.  The River Board members - Temple Terrace City Councilwoman & River Board Chair Alison Fernandez, Chair of the Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners & River Board Vice Chair Al Higginbotham, and Tampa City Councilwoman Yolie Capin - were able to observe first-hand the careful consideration the TAC gives to issues and projects.


Two shoreline construction projects were reviewed as part of the agenda.  In addition, Mr. Lee Hoffman, Tampa Riverwalk Development Manager, gave a presentation on the status of this very important project.  This joint meeting was quite valuable and the River Board has resolved to hold such joint meetings on an annual basis.  For more information on the Hillsborough River Interlocal Planning Board and Technical Advisory Committee, please visit: www.hillsboroughriver.org.


In accordance with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and other nondiscrimination laws, public participation is solicited without regard to race, color, national origin, age, sex, religion, disability or family status.