Hello and welcome to the Upside of Paradise! The Emerald Coast Section is pleased to host the APA Florida Annual Conference in Sandestin! We will be meeting Sept. 10-13, 2019 at the Baytown Conference Center in Sandestin. Located less than 4 miles from the acclaimed CR 30-A corridor, the resort totals more than 2,400 acres with a collection of 1,250 vacation rentals. Resort amenities include bicycles, boogie boards, kayaks, tennis, fitness center and resort-wide tram service. Spectacular activities that have made the area so popular include championship golf courses, the Village of Baytowne Wharf (containing boutiques, eateries, and nightlife), and 7-miles of powdery white sand beaches.

The Emerald Coast is comprised of Escambia, Santa Rosa, Okaloosa, Walton, Bay, Washington, and Holmes counties. We are home to a wide array of unique environmental features including world renowned beaches, 15 rare coastal dune lakes, and over a dozen state parks. Our municipalities ranges from rural communities to urban cities including a multitude of acclaimed new urbanist communities. The region is a strong economic engine focused on aerospace, technology, manufacturing, distribution / logistics, retail, and tourism development. And, we are incredibly proud of the six military installations located throughout the section.

This regional planning area confronts and defies many of the same topics reflected throughout the state including post hurricane and hurricane readiness, economic development obstacles, affordable housing, mobility and mass transit challenges, environmental concerns, military planning challenges, and the search for innovative design. This year we call on you to reflect on the upside of planning.