City of Freeport Urban Service Area
In 2006 the City approved an Urban Service Area Map which designated the areas where the City desired to direct particular types of growth and which established the finite future boundary of the City of Freeport as a result of annexations. The map takes into account the Citys water and service area, the established historic community of Freeport, the neighboring community of Portland, the location of Eglin Air Force Base and the Nokuse Plantation conservation area. The map was created for planning purposes only and is not meant to replace or supplant the existing current Freeport Future Land Use Map and the Freeport Zoning Map. The Urban Service Area Map will serve as a vision or benchmark for directing redevelopment and new development as the City experiences new growth. An important component of this effort is the Citys commitment to preserving its history and character, as established through the 2005 Freeport Design Charrette.
Character of Freeport:
1) Waterfront Community, associated with the historic port area and the many water related/water dependent uses present (shipyards, port facilities, marinas, water vessel services/storage, commercial fishing); Freeport is adjacent to many creeks, rivers, bayous, and direct access to the Choctawhatchee Bay. This waterfront association is the most prevalent in the character of Freeport.
2) Sawmill Town, associated with the sawmill industry in the 1800s and 1900s. Several of the founding families of Freeport came to this area directly as a result of this industry. While sawmills are no longer active in the City, this characteristic is mostly clearly seen in the mind-set and industrious nature of the descendents of the founding families of this area.
3) Farming Community, associated with farms, silviculture, ranches, and the pre-requisite farmers market, fruit & vegetable stands. This characteristic, while very visible, makes up a small percentage of the industry within the City.
4) Intangible Qualities:
Patriotism: the City is highly patriotic; a goodly number of its families either work or have worked at Eglin AFB as active military, contractors or civil service.
Tree Preservation: Majestic oak trees are a defining characteristic of Freeport.
Family/Community Pride: The Citys foremost goal is to provide jobs and industry for the community; to break the pattern of young people leaving the area to find work; only returning to visit and retire. The City supports on-the-job training programs and internships for its students and young people.
The City encourages developers to design their developments to compliment the character of historic Freeport; minimizing the removal of the large old trees; to form community partnerships by supporting the local industry and businesses, and by contributing to local community services/non-profit organizations and through participation in seasonal community events.
Urban Service Area Boundary:
The Urban Service Area boundary was the result of several public hearings and much discussion. The City is naturally bounded by Eglin AFB and the Nokuse Plantation to the north and the Choctawhatchee Bay to the south. The boundary line to the east was the result of the requests of a number of property owners in that area to be included in the City of Freeports boundaries at some future date and the naturally occurring boundary of Nokuse Plantation. The boundary to the west stops short of the Portland Community which is a historically well-established community. Portland residents requested that the City not overlap their established area and the City respects that wish, by having the boundary follow the east bank of Alaqua Creek.
The original historic community of Freeport is centered on the Highway 20/Business 331 intersection and the town has grown around this center. The majority of City buildings and many of its businesses are located in the original downtown area. The City directs its highest densities and intensities to locate within this 1-mile radius area. The City strongly encourages design and development activities that will compliment the old downtown and bring needed services and industry to the City.
Gateway Activity Centers:
The City is geographically divided into quarters by the intersection of State Road 20 and US Highway 331. The City has four (4) gateways by which the City can be entered; north at Owls Head, south at Ramsey Creek, east at the Black Creek/Highway 20 intersection and west at Hammock Bay. The City has established Gateway Activity Centers (1/2 mile radius) which will serve to establish aspects of the character of Freeport through architecture, landscaping, and design. The City encourages incorporation of details and design components reminiscent of those characteristics of historic Freeport and directs medium/high densities/intensities in these areas which will serve as gateways into the City, and will provide services for the residential neighborhoods in these areas.
Community Activity Centers:
The City has established community activity centers (1/4 mile radius) at strategic intersections and within the commercial centers of larger planned developments within the City. These community activity centers tend to be more neighborhood commercial in nature and serve the vicinity with neighborhood commercial uses of low/medium intensity and density.