Emerald Coast Section

Christopher Wallace, AICP, the Planning Director in the City of DeFuniak Springs, Florida, invites all Section members to come to the Chautauqua Hall of Brotherhood located at 95 Circle Drive, DeFuniak Springs, Florida 32435, at 2 pm CST on Friday, December 10, 2021, to meet his staff and learn what is happening in the City of DeFuniak Springs.

Afterwards, stay for the Christmas Reflections on Lake DeFuniak, an annual favourite for locals and visitors alike!

DeFuniak Springs Library

Randall Woodruff, AICP, the Section President, invites you all to come out to Louis Louis in Santa Rosa Beach, Florida, for a holiday get-together.

Christmas Party

December 17, 2021 at 6:00 PM CST

Ugly Sweater....may get you a prize!

Food, drinks, and social. 

Louis Louis (click for the location in google maps)

Come out to Pensacola for a meeting and stay for the Winter Lighting Expo and Happy Hour!  

Join us at Sesco Lighting on December 20, 2021, at 3 PM for a Section Meeting but stay for the winter lighting expo at 5 PM! Get in the spirit of the season at this fun holiday event!

Miami Hard Rock Cafe

Emerald Coast Section Social at APA FL Annual Conference

September 1, 2021 @ 7 PM

Join us at the Miami Hard Rock Cafe for a social hour.

Google Map Directions (Here)

Coordinate with our Section Chair, Randall Woodruff, AICP, via text. Cell: (850) 826-0784

We were so glad to see all those that attended the Law & Ethics Program in Pensacola!

Law & Ethics Program

If you are interested in reviewing the presentation, please click Law & Ethics Presentation.  

A big thank you to Nabors Giblin & Nickerson and especially Kerry A. Parsons, Esq. for such an informative presentation for our section members.

Afterwards the group enjoyed a ballgame! 


Pensacola Blue Wahoos against the Boluxi Shuckers

Emerald Coast Section hosted a “Law & Ethics” Program at Pensacola City Hall on August 17, 2021.  

The program was well attended with over 20 attendees and was followed up with a social at the Union Public House

They capped off the event by taking in a Pensacola Blue Wahoos minor league baseball game .


Webinars for CM Credits Available.

AICP CM Credits by Webinar


The Emerald Coast Section is offering five (5) webinars to AICP members for CM credits free to the first 25 AICP members to sign up.  If you need some CM credits and would like to view the list of webinars, click the link for the selected webinar to e-mail our Professional Development Officer, Tina Ekblad, to reserve your spot.

Please be sure to mention if you are registering just for you (i.e. 1 AICP member) or multiple.

Once you register, Tina will provide you with an access code for the webinar.  Below is a list of webinars:

  1. How to Play Well with Others (25 free spots/26 and up may purchase for $25 ea. viewer) Click here to register.
  2. Deregulatory Trends in land Use (25 free spots/26 and up may purchase for $25 ea. viewer) Click here to register.
  3. Economic Outlooks for Planning and Recovery (25 free spots/26 and up may purchase for $25 ea. viewer) Click here to register.
  4. Infrastructure Policy Now (25 free spots/26 and up may purchase for $25 ea. viewer) Click here to register.
  5. The Future of Zoning (25 free spots/26 and up may purchase for $25 ea. viewer) Click here to register.

NOTE: For those AICP members that need CEUs that click the links for the 5 webinars but the link does not pull up a new email, then your pop-ups are blocked.  Please e-mail or PDO Tina Ekblad at tekblad@m-da.com.  She will email you the access codes.  Please list the webinar you want to view.

Click here to learn more: 

Freeport Meet N Greet

Last June, Emerald Coast Section had our first post-covid Meet N Greet with the planning department of the City of Freeport.  The City of Freeport Planning Department provided attendees an overview of current and future planning projects for the growing city.  In attendance were the Robert Thompson, City Manager for the City of DeFuniak Springs and their Planning Director, Chris Wallace, AICP.

Thanks to all who attended and check back for an update on our next Meet N Greet Event!

Emerald Coast Transportation Symposium

We look forward to the Emerald Coast Transportation Symposium! Make sure to mark your calendar for November 4 and 5, 2021.

Below is a link to check out the website for more details.  The area is growing! Will our transportation facilities be ready?

For further questions or inquiries regarding this, please email publicinvolvement@ecrc.org or call 850-332-7976.

For more information, click (here).

Gulf Power Symposium

The 24th Gulf Power signature Economic Symposium will be held in person at the beautiful Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort.

This year’s symposium will feature nationally-known speakers who will motivate, excite and “change up” the way we think and do business to ensure continued success for the future of Northwest Florida.

Register Here

Law and Ethics CM Program Coming Up!

Law and Ethics CM Program

Law and Ethics CM Program

August 17, 2021 (11:30 AM to 4:00 PM)

Click and Register here!

Pensacola City Hall, Hagler Mason Conference Room, 222 West Main Street, Pensacola, Florida 32502 (Map)

Catered Lunch at 11:30 AM / Program starts at Noon.

Happy Hour to follow:  Union Public House located at 309 South Reus Street, Pensacola, Florida 32502 (Map)

Welcome to the Emerald Coast

The Emerald Coast Section of the American Planning Association Florida Chapter is comprised of local planners, architects, city and county officials, developers, engaged citizens and others interested in the planning professional within Escambia, Santa Rosa, Okaloosa, Walton, Bay, Washington and Holmes counties. The section is dedicated to promoting excellence in local planning through the provision of professional development and networking opportunities as well as educating  the community on the important role of planning. 

Randall Woodruff, AICP,  Section Chair

Contact Randall here.

Rebuilding After Hurricane Michael

By Kristen Shell, AICP

Beyond any doubt Hurricane Michael was one of the worst storms in Florida history. The storm was devastating in terms of wind speeds and storm surge. While still early, the University of West Florida has estimated the economic impact of Hurricane Michael at $1.5 billion just based on timber industry losses in 11 counties and insured storm surge losses in Bay and Gulf Counties.

More than 1,300 people are currently living in FEMA housing in Bay County alone and the death toll due to this storm is 35 in Florida and 45 total. As many are aware, the Panhandle is home to several large military installations including Naval Air Station Pensacola, Hurlburt Field, Eglin Air Force Base and Tyndall Air Force Base. These military operations make up a large portion of our economy.

Tyndall, located on the eastern side of Panama City was devastated and the rebuilding of Tyndall is critical to that area’s economy, especially to the cities of Lynn Haven and Parker.

While the national news has focused on Mexico Beach, which sustained the worst damage, other areas where also affected heavily. Many people do not think about the City of Panama City when they hear “Panama City”, instead what comes to mind is the City of Panama City Beach which is a major tourism destination.

The City of Panama City, which was hit very hard by the storm, is a historical Florida downtown complimented by series of unique communities or places.  The city has a diverse population with a historical African-American community that was contemplating place-making based on cultural heritage. These places where and are special. Rebuilding will be long and arduous. Displacement is a real concern.

In general, planners I have spoken within the region feel that the disaster response and organization on the front end was good. The loss of life could have been much greater, and recovery of critical infrastructure has been remarkably fast for the most part.

Some of our Emerald Coast Section members did sustain property damage and lives have in general been turned upside down with schools out or changing, jobs also changing. As a community of planners we are just beginning to formulate how we can work together.

I am sure there will be political debates about how and where to rebuild. Panama City had a strong citizen based new urbanist movement underway before the storm. The Panhandle has lower new construction wind load standards than other areas of the state that I am sure will be debated.

In addition, resilience will no doubt move to the forefront of our conversations more so than it previously was. Right now, though, the focus is still on helping those displaced and getting critical services, such as schools, operational.

If you want to help, please consider a donation to an organization on the ground in the Panhandle or consider purchasing a Shore Up t-shirt, these shirts are a co-effort of the Walton County TDC and are made from 100% recycled materials with 100% of the profits going to hurricane victims. These shirts have been hugely successful and are one county’s way of helping its neighbor.