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					        HERNANDO COUNTY

   Tentative Adoption Date: December 7, 2000

        Hernando County Metropolitan Organization
              20 N. Main Street, Room 262
                 Brooksville, FL 34601
                 Phone (352) 754-4057
                  Fax (352) 754-4420
Public Involvement Process                                                                     Hernando County MPO

                                     HERNANDO COUNTY

                                 PUBLIC INVOLVEMENT PROCESS

INTRODUCTION                                              ]      Extensive use of public involvement when
                                                                 developing Goals and Objectives to guide
The Spring Hill/Hernando County Metropolitan                     development of the MPO’s Long Range
Planning Organization (MPO) was established in                   Transportation Plan (LRTP). These activities
September 1992 and subsequently renamed the                      included holding public hearings and workshops at
Hernando County Metropolitan Planning Organization               key points in the LRTP’s development.
in June 1999. As part of its overall transportation
planning responsibilities, the MPO must adhere to         ]      Publication of a Citizens Transportation Survey to
federal and state requirements for conducting a                  obtain comments from the community regarding
public participation program.                                    locations of unacceptable congestion.
                                                                 Approximately 400 responses have been routinely
The MPO is committed to maintaining a Public                     received. The success of the Transportation
Involvement Process (PIP) that is in tune with the               Survey led to it becoming a regular part of the
changing makeup and needs of the community.                      MPO’s public involvement program.
Therefore, the MPO is conducting a major evaluation
of the effectiveness of its public involvement            ]      The MPO continues to publish a newsletter which
strategies. This document provides an overview of                is widely distributed throughout Hernando County.
current and planned strategies for keeping the public
informed and receiving citizen comment regarding the      ]      Wide public interest was received during
MPO’s various responsibilities.                                  development of the MPO’s Transit Development
                                                                 Plan (TDP). Public involvement included
                                                                 workshops in Spring Hill and public hearings at key
                                                                 points in the planning process.           Using a
ACTIVITIES                                                       Community Review Committee was a key element
                                                                 in the public participation program.
The MPO continuously affirms its commitment to
providing a continuous public involvement program         ]      Since 1998, the MPO has maintained a web site
for all segments of Hernando County’s population.                on the Worldwide Web. Persons visiting the web
Through this program, the MPO has met, and even                  site have access to a wide range of information
exceeded, the federal mandate for public                         about the MPO’s activities. The MPO’s web
participation. Since adoption of the process, the                address is:
following milestones in public participation have
occurred:                                                 ]      The participation of public organizations and
                                                                 interest groups has been actively pursued, both
]       Creation of a Citizens Advisory Committee                through presentations within the community and
        (CAC) representing the major geographic                  through direct contact and the solicitation of input
        areas and demographic characteristics of the             during projects.

                                                          ]      Large newspaper notification formats are now                          Page 1                                          October 2000
Public Involvement Process                                                                         Hernando County MPO

        regularly used (up to quarter page ads) in                  development of plans and projects, and hold open
        local newspapers as an alternative to                       public meetings.
        classified ads. Community and business
        groups are directly notified by mail and            ]       Require adequate public notice of public
        telephone of special workshops and                          involvement activities and time for public review
        meetings.     Additionally, public service                  and comment at key decision points.
        announcements on community access
        television are now used for hearings and            ]       Consider and respond to public input received
        workshops.                                                  during the planning and program development
]       Public comment is specifically solicited                    processes.
        during each MPO meeting.
                                                            ]       Seek out and consider the needs of those
]       Almost every year the MPO conducts a                        traditionally under-served by existing transportation
        comprehensive review of its public                          systems, including but not limited to low-income
        participation strategies.                                   and minority households.

The MPO continues to seek new and innovative ways           ]       Provide a summary, analysis, and report on
in which to make the community aware of the MPO’s                   significant written and oral comments received on
activities, and to keep the public well informed                    the draft transportation plan and work program as
regarding plans, programs and policies that are under               a result of the public involvement process.
                                                            ]       Provide additional opportunity for public comment
PUBLIC INVOLVEMENT                                                  if the final transportation plan or program differs
                                                                    significantly from the one which was made
                                                                    available for public comment by the MPO.

The MPO’s public involvement process must provide
                                                            ]       The public involvement process shall be
complete information, timely public notice, full public
                                                                    periodically reviewed by the MPO to assure that
access to key decisions, and support early and
                                                                    the process provides full and open access to all
continuing involvement of the public in developing
transportation plans and projects. The process must
also meet the following requirements and criteria:
                                                            ]       Coordinate MPO public involvement activities with
                                                                    statewide public involvement processes to
]       Require a minimum public comment period
                                                                    enhance public consideration of the issues, plans,
        of 45 days before the public involvement
                                                                    and programs and reduce redundancies and
        process is initially adopted or revised.

]       Provide timely information on transportation
                                                            The MPO must move beyond "traditional" means of
        issues and to citizens, public agencies,
                                                            securing public participation. This includes an extensive
        representatives of transportation agency
                                                            public outreach program which will bring in segments of the
        e m p l o yees , pr ivate pr ovider s of
                                                            community which have frequently been excluded from full
        transportation, and other interested parties
                                                            participation in the transportation planning and decision-
        and segments of the community affected by
                                                            making process.
        transportation plans, programs and projects.

                                                            The usual practice of holding public hearings at the time of
]       Provide reasonable public access to
                                                            plan adoption does not constitute a full public participation
        technical and policy information used in the                            Page 2                                            October 2000
Public Involvement Process                                                                         Hernando County MPO

process. Rather, full public involvement should be           The UPWP lays out planning tasks to be undertaken by the
sought during all phases of the planning process, and        MPO during the upcoming fiscal year, and tracks the
should reach into the community, rather than having          continuation of projects initiated in previous years. The
the public bear the entire responsibility of reaching        UPWP strives to meet the planning needs of the
meetings held at one location.                               community, and includes specific work tasks to address
                                                             these needs. Hence, the nature of the tasks should reflect
Recommendations for expanding the public                     the transportation needs of the community.
participation process will focus on the following
objectives:                                                  Transportation Improvement Program (TIP)

]       Where necessary, expand the frequency of             As developed by the Hernando County MPO, the
        meetings with public groups.                         Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) contains all
                                                             significant transportation projects scheduled for
]       Enhance interaction with the public through a        improvement within the upcoming five years. Projects are
        format which encourages meaningful                   grouped by jurisdictional responsibility, and indicate year,
        dialogue.                                            type, and funding level for each improvement. From a
                                                             policy-making perspective, the TIP is particularly important
]       Expand the use of media and workshops to             in that it establishes the priorities for scheduling
        increase public knowledge of transportation          improvements on the State Highway System. Historically,
        issues.                                              the TIP has been adopted following an advertised public
                                                             hearing. Adoption of the TIP occurs in April of each year,
]       Focus public participation by holding                following the gathering of project information from state
        meetings and workshops within specific               and local jurisdictions.
        communities or corridors.
                                                             An important recent addition to the TIP process has been
]       Involve segments of the community which              identifying enhancement (bicycle and pedestrian) projects.
        have been traditionally under-served in the          This process entails an extensive public outreach program
        transportation planning process.                     to ensure that all interested parties are informed of the
                                                             availability of these funds and are given the opportunity to
                                                             submit project proposals.
                                                             During 1998, the emphasis for setting project priorities
The following section describes MPO planning                 shifted toward use of the Hernando County
activities which are applicable to the Public                Congestion/Mobility Management System (C/MMS) which
Involvement Process. Essentially, these consist of           takes a comprehensive approach to setting funding
activities which the MPO feels are of significant public     priorities that have been traditionally used.         Public
interest. It is the intent of the MPO that the public        comments received during the MPO’s very successful
participate in the development and review of these           Citizens Transportation Survey will used when determining
plans and programs throughout their development.             the acceptability of the program to the community. In
                                                             particular, the type of projects and the means for obtaining
                                                             their funding are largely based upon these comments.
                                                             Comprehensive Bicycle and Pedestrian Plans
Unified Planning Work Program (UPWP)
                                                             The Bicycle and Pedestrian planning programs continue to
The Unified Planning Work Program (UPWP) serves              be strong emphasis areas of the MPO program. The MPO
as the principal budgetary document for the MPO.             has developed a Bicycle/Pedestrian Advisory Committee                             Page 3                                           October 2000
Public Involvement Process                                                                         Hernando County MPO

(BPAC) and has adopted a Comprehensive Bicycle               provided to the transportation disadvantaged. Also, the
Plan.                                                        LCB reviews the amount and quality of service being
Currently, the BPAC is evaluating the suitability of         provided to the County’s transportation disadvantaged
existing roadways for bicycle use, as well as                population. The LCB meets quarterly and is required to
identifying and mapping proposed bicycle corridors.          hold at least one public hearing a year. The purpose of the
It is expected that the BPAC will be fully involved with     hearing is to provide input to the LCB on unmet needs or
formulating and reviewing opportunities for the use of       any other areas relating to local transportation services.
alternative transportation modes in the Long Range
Transportation Plan. The BPAC has also been                  Long Range Transportation Plan (LRTP)
instrumental in putting the transportation
enhancement process into place. Furthermore, the             The MPO developed the most recent update of its multi-
public has been ready to respond to proposals for            modal Long Range Transportation Plan (LRTP), the Year
enhancement projects by providing frequent                   2020 Plan, in 1997/98. Plan development activities were
comments on their prioritization and implementation.         closely coordinated with the District Seven Office of the
                                                             Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), and
Transportation Disadvantaged Planning                        included extensive cooperation with other local, regional,
Program                                                      state, and federal agencies.

The overall mission of Florida's transportation              The successful completion of the LRTP depended not only
disadvantaged program is to ensure the availability of       on a sound technical process, but also on obtaining the
efficient, cost-effective, and quality transportation        future "vision" of the community and policy makers through
services for transportation disadvantaged persons.           the use of a set of Goals and Objectives which lay out this
The Florida Commission for the Transportation                vision and use it to evaluate the results of the technical
Disadvantaged selected the Hernando County MPO               process. Also, the County’s public planning process, as
to serve as the Designated Official Planning Agency          required under the state's comprehensive planning
for Hernando County's transportation disadvantaged           regulations, was followed in order to strengthen its own
program in August 1993. In this capacity, the MPO            public involvement process. For the current round of Plan
provides administrative and planning services to             updates, the federal government is requiring that all MPOs
guide the activities of the Community Transportation         perform a complete review of supporting policies, and
Coordinator.                                                 amend these policies as necessary. The MPO will fulfill
                                                             this task through a detailed reassessment of the
The MPO’s purpose is to plan for the needs of the            effectiveness of past policies toward attaining the overall
County’s transportation disadvantaged citizens, and          transportation goals of the community.
assist in the implementation of the transportation
disadvantaged program within a designated service            In order to successfully determine changing public interest,
area. Also, the MPO is responsible for preparing and         it is necessary to recognize and work with the diverse
submitting applications for planning grants funded out       urban/rural nature of the county. The unincorporated
of the Transportation Disadvantaged Trust Fund.              suburban community of Spring Hill presents vastly different
The MPO must also ensure that membership on the              needs and opportunities than does the governmental
Local Coordinating Board (LCB) represents, to the            center of Brooksville, the county seat, situated within a
maximum degree possible, a cross section of the              predominately rural setting. Furthermore, the needs of
local community.                                             other rural areas are frequently heard during hearings and
                                                             meetings, and it has been necessary to target these
The Local Coordinating Board must identify local             diverse groups and incorporate their respective concerns
service needs and provide information, advice, and           within the adopted Plan. It is incumbent upon the MPO to
direction on the coordination of services to be              secure community direction early within the Plan                             Page 4                                           October 2000
Public Involvement Process                                                                          Hernando County MPO

development process.                                           disadvantaged population to serve as feeder service into
                                                               the urban area.
Transit Development Plan (TDP)
                                                               PUBLIC INVOLVEMENT STRATEGIES
The Transit Development Plan (TDP) addresses
options for development of transit service, given the          MPO Board and Committee Structure
low density and intensity of land uses in Spring Hill
and adjacent areas.            The report’s final              All meetings of the Hernando County MPO Board and its
recommendation was for a combination of circulator             committees are conducted in accordance with the
and expanded demand responsive services as the                 procedures and policies which apply to "government in the
preferred alternative. In early 2000 the Board of              sunshine." The overall structure of the Hernando MPO
County Commissioners authorized funding for the                program is shown in Figure 1.
local share of capital and operating expenses. It is
expected that the funding of mass transit relative to          Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO)
additional highway needs will continue to be a major
emphasis area during development of the Year 2025              The Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) Board
LRTP Update. The MPO will strive to place short                membership consists of representatives from both the
term service delivery options within the context of            County Government and the local City Government. There
long term transit needs. However, a large fixed route          are six (6) members; five (5) from the Hernando County
system will not be cost-feasible for the immediate             Government and one (1) representative from the City of
future.                                                        Brooksville and one non-voting member representing the
                                                               Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) District
Transit planning activities have created considerable          Seven Office. The MPO Board meets monthly and all
community interest. Two workshops on the TDP                   meetings are properly noticed and open to the public.
focused on mobility problems within the Spring Hill
community, particularly in relationship to its potentially
                                                               Bicycle/Pedestrian Advisory Committee (BPAC)
transit dependent population. Although there are no
mass transit services available to the general public
                                                               The Bicycle/Pedestrian Advisory Committee (BPAC) was
within Hernando County, the transit plan reassessed
                                                               formed to serve as a citizens advisory group whose primary
both short and mid-term needs for mass transit
                                                               function is to give input on bikeways planning, plan
services within the urbanized portions of the county.
                                                               implementation for a County Bicycle and Pedestrian
In particular, the studies focused on the Spring Hill
                                                               Comprehensive Plan, and education and coordination
area, with approximately 60,000 persons living within
                                                               techniques for pedestrian and bicyclists. Membership of
an area of over 60 square miles. A Community
                                                               BPAC consists of twelve (12) volunteers and represent
Review Committee, composed of representatives
                                                               each of the following categories:
from the CAC along with other community leaders,
has represented the viewpoints of the Spring Hill

Additionally, the desires of the population in
                                                               Insert Figure 1:Organization of the MPO Program
Brooksville and other rural sections of the County
were not unheeded. The initial service concept was
expanded by adding shuttle service connecting the
government center in Brooksville to other commercial
activity centers. Furthermore, rural needs were
addressed through an innovative proposal for
restructuring existing service for the transportation                               Page 5                                          October 2000
Public Involvement Process                                            Hernando County MPO

                                   •      Hernando County Sheriff's Office
                                   •      Hernando County School Board
                                   •      Parent or guardian of a school age child
                                   •      Hernando County Parks & Recreation
                                   •      City of Brooksville
                                   •      Bicyclists
                                   •      Disabled individual
                                   •      AARP or similar senior adult organization
                                   •      A pedestrian advocate
                                   •      Two representatives from the public at large   Page 6                                        October 2000
Public Involvement Process                                                                    Hernando County MPO

•       A representative from FDOT                        ]       Providing knowledge gained through the CAC into
                                                                  local citizen group discussions and meetings.
Members are appointed by the MPO for two year
staggered terms. The BPAC forwards all comments           ]       Enhancing awareness and promoting credibility for
and/or recommendations to the Technical Advisory                  the MPO program.
Committee in order to better coordinate
bicycle/pedestrian issues with local jurisdictions.       The membership of the CAC is designed to reflect the
BPAC meetings are held on the first Tuesday every         demographics of Hernando County including race, gender,
other month, and meetings are properly noticed and        and area of residence. Membership of the CAC is
are open to the public.                                   composed of nine (9) citizens whose membership
                                                          represents a broad spectrum of social and economic
Technical Advisory Committee (TAC)                        backgrounds and interests in transportation issues, as
The Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) works
cooperatively at the direction of the MPO on all          •       One (1) member from each of the five(5) Board of
technical matters relating to transportation.                     County Commission districts;
Membership of the TAC consists of technically             •       One (1) member from the City of Brooksville;
qualified representatives from public or semi-public      •       Two (2) members representing at-large minorities;
agencies related to urban planning, traffic               •       One (1) member at-large representing the
engineering, mass transit, aviation and/or                        transportation disadvantaged community.
administration with responsibility for the control,
development or improvement of the transportation          To the greatest extent possible, the committee has been
facilities. Members are appointed by the MPO Board        composed of 50 percent men and 50 percent women. The
with four year terms.       The TAC forwards all          membership is appointed by the MPO Board for four year
comments and recommendations to the MPO Board             staggered terms.
and meets on the second Monday of each month. All
TAC meetings are properly noticed and are open to         The CAC forwards all comments and recommendations to
the public.                                               the MPO Board. The CAC has stayed fully involved with all
                                                          major planning programs of the MPO, and has provided
Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC)                         comment on a timely basis. Furthermore, all CAC
                                                          meetings have been properly noticed and are open to the
Formation of a Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC) is       public.
mandated under federal and state regulations. The
Hernando MPO’s CAC was formed in 1994 and
immediately became involved with development of
long range policies in the fall of that year. The CAC
serves at the pleasure of the MPO and is responsible      Noteworthy projects for which the CAC played an integral
for the following activities:                             part in reviewing and providing citizen comment include:
                                                          the Long Range Transportation Plan, the Transit
]       Providing information and overall community       Development Plan, and the Congestion/Mobility
        values and needs into the transportation          Management System. For each of these milestone
        planning program of the MPO.                      projects the CAC was presented with a wide range of
                                                          planning issues, all of which have considerable short and
]       Evaluating and proposing solutions from a         long term implications for the community. The CAC has
        citizens perspective concerning alternative       also reviewed many other transportation documents, and
        transportation proposals and critical issues.     has been an effective forum for funneling citizen
                                                          discussion.                          Page 7                                         October 2000
Public Involvement Process                                                                         Hernando County MPO

                                                            several other public agencies.
Transportation Disadvantaged                   Local
Coordinating Board (LCB)                                    Based upon its annual public involvement review, the MPO
                                                            has directed that the public will have access to all planning
The Hernando County Transportation Disadvantaged            documents for review and comment throughout the year 15
Local Coordinating Board (LCB) is responsible for           to 30 days prior to each meeting and/or public hearing, if
overseeing the transportation disadvantaged program         permitted by federal/state adoption deadlines. Staff has
and providing citizen input on how to improve               endeavored to have planning documents available for
coordination within the system.         The LCB is          inspection at least 15 days prior to meetings and hearings,
comprised of up to fourteen (14) members                    and will attempt to have documents available 30 days prior
representing all facets of the community and                to meetings.
participating state agencies. In addition to state
agencies and the school board, citizens represented         Public Hearings
on the LCB include: an appointment from county
government, the elderly, the handicapped, a user of         The MPO holds fully advertised public hearings prior to
the TD system, a citizen advocate, and the local            adoption of all transportation-related plans, documents,
private-for-profit transportation system.                   programs, and grant applications. Public hearings are also
                                                            held prior to taking formal policy actions on matters of
During MPO meetings which follow LCB meetings,              specific interest to the community and on other topics of
activities of interest are brought before the MPO           importance. This ensures ample public involvement and
Board for informational purposes and discussion.            access to the planning process. Interest on particular
                                                            issues is noted from the attention received from
Annually, the LCB conducts a public hearing to gather       transportation-related topics and the number of calls
input from citizens to identify issues, needs and           received on the issues. Public hearings allow for direct
concerns of the general and transportation                  citizen input and a corresponding reply to the public. This
disadvantaged population the County. All meetings           forum has allowed for issues to be heard and has provided
are open to the public, are held in a fully accessible      deliberation of alternative solutions.
location, and allow time at the end of each meeting
for public comment. The meetings are televised on           Public hearings are advertised in accordance with adopted
local government cable access and held quarterly on         MPO procedure, that is five (5) and fifteen (15) days in
the third Thursday of the month.                            advance of the hearing date. Advertisements are placed
                                                            in a newspaper providing general circulation coverage for
                                                            the Hernando County area.

Public Access to Plans and Documents                        The MPO’s policy regarding the notification/ advertisement
                                                            of public hearings is periodically reviewed for its
Each year, the Unified Planning Work Program                effectiveness in soliciting public participation. Possible
(UPWP) and the Transportation Improvement                   alternative methods should be reviewed for cost and
Program (TIP) are updated, revised, and approved by         population type/size targeted.          Larger newspaper
the MPO Board and the TAC. The BPAC is                      notification formats are now regularly used (up to quarter
responsible for pro-actively providing pedestrian and       page ads) in local newspapers as an alternative to
bicycle related input into the work program and plan        classified ads. Additionally, community and business
development process. The TAC provides the MPO               groups are directly notified by mail and telephone of special
Board with adequate technical direction prior to taking     workshops and meetings, and public service
final action. These documents are included in all           announcements on community access television are now
agenda packages which, in turn, are transmitted to          used for hearings and workshops. Public meeting notices                            Page 8                                            October 2000
Public Involvement Process                                                                          Hernando County MPO

are also posted on the MPO web site. The MPO                 liaison departments. The Newsletter provides a glance at:
continues to explore additional methods for                  the upcoming issues of the MPO Board; the reports,
advertisement of meetings, such as encouraging               documents, and issues currently being considered and
notices in community and business newsletters, and           those accomplished; and the dates and times of all board
working directly with the press to have articles             and committee meetings. The format of the Newsletter is
published during the Year 2025 LRTP Update.                  designed to be pleasing and informative to the general
                                                             population of the County. At this time the MPO Newsletter
Local public hearings also serve to promote active           is sent to approximately sixty (60) interest groups,
citizen participation if held in each respective area.       organizations, and state and federal agencies; two (2)
Target areas which are relevant to current subject           committees and two (2) boards.
matter will be identified to hold meetings at suitable
locations within these locales. The MPO will continue        The distribution/mailing list for the Newsletter has been
to hold workshops within subareas of the County              reviewed on a regular basis to ensure full community
depending on the nature of the issues being                  coverage. The MPO’s mailing list (including e-mail
considered.                                                  addresses) was recently reviewed and updated, and will
                                                             again be reviewed prior to mailings for the Year 2025 LRTP
During the recent update of the MPO’s transit plan, a        Update.
public information workshop was held at the Wal-Mart
Supercenter at SR 50 and Mariner Boulevard. The              The Newsletter has been published semi-annually, and its
MPO will continue to look for other suitable venues          focus has primarily been on planning program updates.
for informal displays and public workshops.                  The content and format of the MPO Newsletter was revised
                                                             in 1999, and will be reviewed periodically to ensure that
All substantial concerns of the public are documented        standards of readability and thoroughness are being
for later discussion. Comments from the public have          properly followed.
been recorded at all official meetings, hearings and
workshops held by the MPO.                Furthermore,       The MPO is also exploring publishing the Newsletter in a
comments have been addressed at meetings                     local newspaper to achieve maximum exposure and
following the meeting(s) at which comments were              effectiveness. Alternative formats will be investigated,
received. The MPO will continue to record public             including publication of an MPO Annual Report document
comments at all official meetings, hearings, and             or special newsletters/brochures. During 2000, at least
workshops, and consider comments during relevant             three newsletters will be published containing information
agenda items.                                                regarding the Year 2025 LRTP Update, and the MPO will
                                                             also look into the feasibility of publishing an annual report
Each year the public participation and hearing               following final approval of the Plan Update.
process will be reviewed and potentially revised for its
effectiveness for disseminating information to the           Citizens Transportation Survey
public and in soliciting response from all segments of
the community.                                               Each year the MPO publishes an annual Citizen
                                                             Transportation Survey in the local editions of both major
MPO Newsletter                                               newspapers in Hernando County.           The number of
                                                             responses received each year has ranged from 400 to 600,
An MPO Newsletter is distributed several times per           representing a very high level of interest in a county the
year throughout Hernando County, as well the rest of         size of Hernando. Responses are tabulated and analyzed,
FDOT District Seven, to pertinent agencies,                  and are presented to the MPO Board for its consideration.
organizations, public interest groups, homeowners
associations, clubs and civic groups, and county              MPO Web Site                             Page 9                                            October 2000
Public Involvement Process                                                                            Hernando County MPO

                                                               Regional Planning Council (WRPC) district. Due to the
The MPO’s web site became operational in                       close proximity and working relationship with Pasco,
December of 1998. The web site provides user                   Pinellas, and Hillsborough Counties, all within the FDOT
friendly data and information about the various MPO            District Seven, the Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council
activities. It is also designed to be interactive,             (TBRPC) has also been involved in many of the
providing public input and query capability. In                transportation planning efforts of the MPO.
addition to meeting schedules, agenda information,             A great deal of the routine regional coordination for the
adopted plans, plan update information and traffic             MPO's program occurs at the level of the Technical
data, the site is currently hosting an electronic version      Advisory Committee (TAC). The TAC also includes
of MPO newsletters. The MPO’s web address is:                  representatives from the FDOT District Seven office and                                 from other state and regional agencies.

Public Media News Releases                                     The MPO also participates in the West Central Florida
                                                               MPO Chair's Coordinating Committee (CCC) process
Prior to each MPO Board and committee meeting,                 created cooperatively by the six MPOs of West Central
news releases are given to the local newspapers; St.           Florida. Many of the activities of the CCC parallel the plan
Petersburg Times, Hernando Today (Tampa                        development and review processes followed by the
Tribune), and the WWJB radio station. The press is             individual MPOs. This includes review of planning
usually present at MPO Board meetings, and has                 materials by the public.
written informational articles about the relevant issues
of those meetings which has provided additional                Until its dissolution, the MPO also regularly participated in
public awareness of transportation issues. From time           the activities of the Tampa Bay Commuter Rail Authority
to time the press covers meetings of the MPO review            and had appointed a member to that board. The MPO also
committees.                                                    coordinates at the staff level with the Bay Area Commuter
                                                               Services regional rideshare agency.
Public Inquiries
                                                               Regional and statewide organizations will continue to be
MPO staff are available for handling all public                brought into all stages of plan development; in particular on
comments, questions and interest on all issues                 issues which will have an impact on these organizations.
relevant to the MPO planning process. Calls are                The need for expanded public participation on regional
received daily from the public with regards to                 issues is being addressed through a cooperative regional
transportation-related issues.                                 coordination process set up by the MPOs and FDOT. This
                                                               would include expanded meeting notification/possible
                                                               hearings. The MPO also regularly participates on the
                                                               statewide MPO Advisory Council, at both the Governing
Expense of Documentation                                       Board and Staff Directors levels.
                                                               The CCC recently adopted its Public Involvement Program.
The MPO spends approximately $20,000 annually for              This program lays out a comprehensive series of citizen
document publication and distribution to the public,           participation strategies which will become a continuing part
state agencies, board and committee members, and               of the MPOs’ regional coordination process. These
all other participants involved in the MPO process.            strategies consist of:
The public is not charged a fee for document
reproduction.                                                  •       Expansion of a Regional Citizens Advisory
Regional Coordination                                          •       Creation of a CCC web site
                                                               •       Publication of newsletters and brochures
Hernando County is within the Withlacoochee                    •       Public input data sharing among CCC member                              Page 10                                            October 2000
Public Involvement Process                                                                            Hernando County MPO

        organizations                                         will hold public hearings on the results of these updates
•       Media outreach activities                             and on any suggested modifications to its public
                                                              involvement strategies.

Additionally, during the recent Year 2020 LRTP                Review and action items included related to the annual
Update, Citrus County was included in FDOT’s                  review of strategies include:
Regional Transportation Analysis process. MPO staff
will again        schedule meetings with adjacent             Action Item: Continue to conduct an annual review and
governments during the Year 2025 LRTP Update                  update of its adopted public involvement strategies.
process, and will notify adjacent governments that are
not part of the CCC or Regional Transportation                Action Item: Hold a public hearing prior to adopting any
Analysis process prior to taking actions that may             recommended changes to the public involvement
affect their jurisdictions.                                   strategies.

                                                              Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC)
PROCEDURES                                                    Creation of the Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC) was
                                                              the MPO’s first actual step toward conferring additional
The MPO expanded its public participation                     public input into the planning process. The CAC’s
procedures in 1994 to allow for additional public input       composition takes into account the type of representation
and to ensure that the public take its place as a key         which addresses the county's population, race, gender, and
player in the planning and decision-making process.           area of residence. The CAC is now firmly established as
As mentioned earlier, this process has been reviewed          the lead committee for providing citizen input for
on a regular basis to ensure its continued                    subsequent long range plan updates and for other planning
effectiveness.                                                studies. All CAC recommendations are given final review
                                                              before the MPO Board review. Action items related to
                                                              establishing and maintaining the CAC included:
Policy Regarding Public Access to the Planning
                                                              Action Item: The CAC will be committed to seeking out
                                                              representation which reflects the County’s demographic
The following constitutes the MPO’s general policy
                                                              composition. On a regular basis the CAC will review its
when implementing the public participation program:
                                                              membership and procedures in order to strengthen
                                                              community participation.
All segments of the population of the County will have
reasonable access to the technical and policy
processes which support the development of plans,
                                                              Plans and Documents
programs and policies of the MPO. The MPO will
endeavor to directly involve the public in the decision-
                                                              The MPO has consistently held public hearings prior to final
making process during all phases of the planning
                                                              adoption and amendments of the TIP, UPWP, LRTP, and
                                                              all other documents pertaining to transportation-related
                                                              issues each year. All documents have been made
Annual Review of Public Involvement Strategies
                                                              available in a location accessible to all members of the
                                                              community for public review and comment fifteen (15) to
To ensure that its public involvement strategies are in
                                                              thirty (30) days prior to the hearing. Unless federal or state
line with the current profile of the citizenry of
                                                              adoption timetables dictate otherwise, the 30 day review
Hernando County, the MPO will annually perform an
                                                              period will continue to be used. All documents are
update of its public involvement strategies. The MPO
                                                              available to the public at no cost. Action items related to                             Page 11                                             October 2000
Public Involvement Process                                                                         Hernando County MPO

plans and documents of the MPO include:                     Action Item: Each year review the public participation and
                                                            hearing process and potentially revise the process for its
Action Item: The public will have access to all             effectiveness in disseminating information to the public and
planning documents for review and comment                   soliciting an adequate response.
throughout the year 15 to 30 days prior to each
meeting and/or public hearing, if permitted by              Action Item: Population and economic characteristics of
federal/state adoption deadlines.                           the community will be reviewed to ensure that segments of
                                                            Hernando County’s population which have been
Action Item: Ensure full participation by all affected      traditionally under-served are brought into the
agencies and provide a review period for FHWA and           transportation planning process.
FTA during the annual MPO certification process.
                                                            MPO Newsletter
Public Hearings/Workshops
                                                            The MPO Newsletter is the principal document which is
Development of the Year 2025 Long Range                     distributed within the community. As such, it is one of the
Transportation Plan will earmark target dates for each      primary means through which individual citizens and
step of Plan development. Upon completion of each           community groups are made aware of MPO activities. For
major milestone of plan preparation, a public hearing       this reason, the previous document format was revised to
or workshop will be held to inform the public of the        make it more readable and informative. Distribution should
progress to date. These workshops allowed for               be periodically reviewed to determine its effectiveness in
regular updates on the progress of the plan and also        providing community awareness of the planning process,
allowed continuous public input into the planning           particularly to segments of the community that may have
process.                                                    been under-served in the past. Action items related to
                                                            publication of the MPO Newsletter include:
Ample public notification will be provided to ensure
that all segments of the county are notified and able       Action Item: The distribution/mailing list for the Newsletter
to review and comment on the Plan. The county is            will be reviewed on a regular basis to ensure adequate
currently divided into three main population centers;       coverage for all segments of the community.
Spring Hill (west side); Downtown Brooksville
(central); and Ridge Manor (east side). Action items
related to public hearings and workshops include:           Action Item: The content, format and frequency of the
                                                            MPO Newsletter will be reviewed periodically to ensure that
Action Item: Review the current policy for the              standards of readability and thoroughness of coverage of
notification and advertisement of public hearings for       issues are being properly followed.
its effectiveness. Review alternative methods for cost
and population type/size targeted.                          Action Item: Alternative formats will be used to determine
                                                            suitability of application on a regular or as-needed basis,
Action Item: Local public hearings will serve to            including publication of an Annual Report, or special
promote active citizen participation if held in each        newsletters/brochures.
respective area. Target areas will be identified to
hold meetings at suitable locations.                        Long Range Transportation Plan (LRTP)
Action Item: All substantial revisions or concerns of
the public will be documented for later discussions.        The MPO adopted its Year 2015 LRTP in 1995 and
Public issues and concerns raised at previous               updated the Plan to the Year 2020 in 1998. The CAC will
meetings will be addressed at the following meeting.        continue to be on the leading edge of community review for
                                                            the Year 2025 Plan Update, and will be called upon to                           Page 12                                            October 2000
Public Involvement Process                                                                           Hernando County MPO

review all plan processes and products as they are             Regional Coordination
available. As in the past, the CAC will meet on a
regular basis in order to meet the completion                  Coordination of planning programs among the four MPOs
schedule for the updated LRTP.              The public         in the Tampa Bay area has been an important emphasis
participation process will begin in November 2000              area in the region.        Hernando County’s regional
with a comprehensive review of the MPO’s goals,                coordination efforts have been augmented through
objectives and policies that will guide the plan update        additional notification being sent to the Withlacoochee
process.                                                       Regional Planning Council and the Tampa Bay Regional
                                                               Planning Council (TBRPC).
The MPO will also develop a schedule of milestone
activities. Public input will be sought in regards to the      The MPO has been extensively involved in the Tampa Bay
impact of proposed roadway improvements on the                 MPO Chairmen’s Coordinating Committee (CCC)
community. Special attention will be paid to involving         consisting of MPO Directors and staff within the FDOT
segments of the community that have been                       District Seven region, as well as representatives of FDOT
traditionally under- represented in the planning               District Seven and TBRPC. Recently, the CCC was
process, and the impact that highway widenings will            expanded to include the Sarasota/Manatee and Polk
have on those groups.                                          County MPOs. Subsequently, the organization was
                                                               renamed the West Central Florida MPO Chair’s
The role of mass transit and the means for securing            Coordinating Committee (still known as the CCC).
needed revenues will also be an emphasis area for
community involvement. A large portion of Hernando             FDOT also provides staff liaisons that are continually
County’s population has been identified as being               coordinating activities of the state with those of local
potential mass transit users. The MPO will further             agencies concerning major planning projects of the MPO.
identify the mobility needs of the population that             Action items related to regional coordination include:
would be best served by modes other that the private
automobile. Action items for the Year 2025 Long
Range Transportation Plan Update include:                      Action Item: See involvement of regional organizations at
                                                               all stages of plan development.
Action Item: Keep the CAC in the forefront of
community involvement during all phases of the                 Action Item: Adjacent counties and communities will be
Plan’s development and seek review of all plan                 notified of projects within the Tampa Bay Area which
processes and products as they are available.                  impact their areas, and will be ensured participation in the
                                                               planning process.
Action Item: When appropriate, schedule joint
committee meetings and workshops to review Year                Action Item: Participate in activities defined in the CCC’s
2025 LRTP activities and products.                             recently adopted Public Involvement Program.

Action Item: Work closely with the FDOT District
Seven Office during the Year 2025 LRTP Update.

Action Item: Develop a schedule of milestone
activities; particularly for the public workshops to be
held prior to the adoption of plan elements.

Action Item: Design public involvement activities
that will further identify the mobility needs of the
County’s transit dependent population.                              Page 13                                           October 2000
Public Involvement Process                               Hernando County MPO


If you have any questions or comments
concerning this document, the MPO’s public
involvement program or other MPO activities,
please call.

The MPO offices are located at:

Hernando County Planning Department
20 North Main Street, Room 262
Brooksville, FL 34601
(352) 754-4057 (Phone)
(352) 754-4420 (Fax)                 Page 14          October 2000