‘A progressive way to look at planning’: City to use visual computer models

Matt Algarin

There is a big difference between black and white words on a page and a computer-generated visual model that can be seen.

“Words are words and pictures are pictures,” Community Development Director Ken Gallander told The Log Friday morning. “They (pictures) can speak so many more words about what a building or community will look like.”

With a unanimous vote during Monday night’s City Council meeting, city leaders authorized City Manager Greg Kisela to issue a request for proposal (RFP) seeking a professional land planner to develop  a visualization planning analysis for the Harbor District, Holiday Isle, Crystal Beach and the Town Center.

This overall goal is to hire a firm that will work hand-in-hand with the city and its residents/business owners to develop a consensus on amendments to the Comprehensive Plan 2020 and the land development code.

Based on RFP documents, the conceptual 3D modeling/renderings will be designed to help visualize and reach a consensus “on the built environment” in these specific areas of the city.

“Some companies have their own proprietary software that can be very detailed, while others can be more generic, but that’s what we want to find out through the proposal,” Gallander said.

Over the past few years, there has been much discussion at city meetings about what types of developments would be ideal in the different areas of Destin, whether along the harbor, on Holiday Isle or north of Highway 98.

Residents along Holiday Isle have been quite outspoken of late as it pertains to development along the patch of land off of Gulf Shore Drive.

Part of the debate along Holiday Isle is the fact that the Improvement Association has its own set of development guidelines and restrictions that were put in place before the city was incorporated. But not all of the areas along Holiday Isle fall under these guidelines.

“The input from the community will help say ‘hey, maybe it could look like this,’ then we can take that input and try and write policy based on it,” Gallander said.

Firms interested in submitting a proposal can obtain a copy of the RFP from the city clerk’s office at Destin City Hall between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. Sealed proposals must be received by the city no later than mid-to-late February. RFPs can be submitted beginning Monday.

As for the new approach, Gallander said it is welcomed.

“It’s a progressive way to look at planning,” he said.