When the American Planning Association Florida Chapter hosts its annual conference in Jacksonville this year, one local official will be taking home a special honor.
City Council member Lori Boyer was selected as the chapter’s “Outstanding Public Official of the Year” for 2014. The award is usually presented to a local government official to recognize leadership, dedication and commitment in the areas of planning issues, sustainable planning and sound public policy.
“She has done a lot in a very short term,” said Stephen Tocknell, a local certified planner who submitted Boyer’s nomination. “She’s pretty much been the go-to person for those issues … and the city is fixing a lot of things that used to be broken.”
In his letter, Tocknell mention’s Boyer’s efforts as chair of the council’s Land Use and Zoning Committee, her leadership on the Context Sensitive Streets Special Committee and her work in the redesign of San Marco Square to make it more bicycle-friendly and walkable.
That’s in addition to support she showed of the association-endorsed Mobility Plan the city instituted and her opposition to a moratorium to collect those mobility fees meant to help integrate developments.
Tocknell said Wednesday he and others especially appreciate what Boyer has done for bicycle and pedestrian improvements that “create better living environments.”
Wiatt Bowers, First Coast chapter vice chair and a senior project manager for Atkins, said Boyer is “worthy for any number of reasons,” and listed off several Tocknell had in his nomination letter. Bowers and two others also wrote letters of support for Boyer’s nomination before he submitted it to the state’s 24-member state executive committee, which votes on the awards.
The vote was unanimous.
Boyer said she found out in recent weeks and was surprised by the honor.
“It’s both humbling and really, really rewarding to be honored in a field where I have business and professional expertise,” she said Wednesday. “It’s an acknowledgement of all the efforts on those matters.”
She is the first local official to win the award since state Rep. Mia Jones in 2008, when she was on council. Past recipients include Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer, Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio and Panama City Mayor Scott Clemons.
The association will present Boyer with the award at its annual conference Sept. 3-6 in Jacksonville at the Hyatt Regency Riverfront. The conference usually brings up to 700 planners from around the state, with this year’s conference being held in conjunction with a student planning conference.
This year’s theme is “Plan in Motion” with a program that features all-day sessions and workshops highlighting areas like San Marco, the Beaches, St. Augustine, Downtown and Springfield and more. Former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell is among the conference’s speakers.