The Plan for Walton 2040 Charting Course For Walton County's Future

April 23, 2024 by SoWal Staff

Locals have known for years that Walton County has it all - rich agricultural lands, untouched forests, serene waters, beautiful white sand beaches, unique historical significance, the highest point in Florida, top-notch schools, and more.

The county is planning for the future and has many opportunities for citizens to participate. Visit for more info.

Walton County is experiencing record growth, which means increased economic opportunities for businesses and the community through increased tax revenue, but it is not without challenges.

The Plan for Walton 2040 is your chance to guide the future growth, development, and preservation of Walton County.
You can have a voice in:

    What type of development would be acceptable in your community?
    What types of open spaces, recreational uses, or services would you like to see in your neighborhood? In Walton County?
    What building types would be acceptable in your neighborhood, and in Walton County?
    What types of buildings or services are missing your part of Walton County?
    Where would you like to see more development happening in Walton County?
    Whare would you like to see more preservation happening in Walton County?

If you haven’t already, please fill out this brief initial survey online - then make plans to participate in upcoming Community Engagement Workshop: May 1-8, 2024.

 Marina Khoury of DPZ CoDesign, Lead Consultant for the Plan for Walton 2040, presented the project scope, timeline, and preliminary existing conditions analysis to the Walton County Commission - Click here for the presentation. 

Workshops Schedule

These week-long planning and design workshops—sometimes referred to as a “Charrette”—are an important way you can share your input on the future of Walton County. We know you’re busy, so we’ve got a variety of times and options for you to attend.

For location details and so that we can make sure we’ve got space for everyone, please RSVP for all presentations and workshops you plan to attend. (RSVPs are not required to attend pop-ups or open studio and open house events).  



Public Presentations

Public Presentations give community members the opportunity to hear about the data and information the Plan for Walton 2040 team has collected, review different options for development and preservation, and have the chance to share feedback along the way.

Walton County Courthouse Annex
31 Coastal Centre Blvd
Santa Rosa Beach, FL 32459

Event Details:
Thursday, May 2, 5:30 pm: Opening Presentation
Wednesday, May 8, 5:30 pm: Closing Presentation



Working Sessions

Working Sessions are interactive meetings focused on specific issues or aspects of the Plan for Walton 2040. These meetings are usually more technical in nature and involve conversations with local subject matter experts and the consultant team, though they are open to the public.

Location (all except Community Services & Amenities): 
Walton County Courthouse Annex

31 Coastal Centre Blvd
Santa Rosa Beach, FL 32459

Event Details:
Wednesday, May 1, 3:00 pm: Land Use & Zoning
Thursday, May 2, 10:00 am: Countywide Growth Planning
Friday, May 3, 10:00 am: Economics of Land Use
Monday, May 6, 10:00 am: Transportation & Infrastructure
Monday, May 6, 5:30 pm: Community Services & Amenities*

*The Community Services & Amenities Working Session will take place in the Freeport Commons Boardroom located at 842 State Highway 20 East, Suite 118, Freeport, FL 32439).



PopUps and Open Studios

PopUps and Open Studio Times are opportunities for residents and stakeholders to interact one-on-one with members of the planning team, either at the Planning Studio or in the community pop-up locations. These offer people the chance to share their own ideas, watch the planners at work, or even draw out their own suggestions with the consultants in a more casual, conversational setting. 

Open Studio 
(Seaside Assembly Hall, 168 Smolian Circle, Santa Rosa Beach, FL 32459)

Wednesday, May 1, 1:00 pm – 7:00 pm 
Thursday, May 2, 10:00 am – 12:00 pm
Friday, May 3, 10:00 am – 12:00 pm & 1:00 pm – 7:00 pm
Sunday, May 5, 1:00 pm – 7:00 pm
Monday, May 6, 10:00 am – 12:00 pm & 1:00 pm – 7:00 pm
Tuesday, May 7, 10:00 am – 12:00 pm

Wednesday, May 1, 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm: Miramar Beach Pop-up 
(location tbd)
Tuesday, May 7, 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm: DeFuniak Springs Pop-up 
(location tbd)

Open House

The Open House will include a brief overview of the progress made during the first half of the week. This will also be an opportunity to meet the planning team, ask questions, share ideas and feedback. 

Open House
Saturday, May 4, 9:30 am – 12:00 pm
Seaside Assembly Hall, 168 Smolian Circle, Santa Rosa Beach, FL 32459


What is the Plan for Walton 2040?

The Plan for Walton 2040 is an effort sponsored by the Walton County Board of County Commissioners to develop a Vision Plan for the future development and preservation of Walton County. Technically, this process will create what is called an Evaluation and Appraisal Report (EAR), which will guide future amendments to the Walton County Comprehensive Plan.

What is a Comprehensive Plan?

Under Florida Law, every municipality (including Walton County) must submit a long-range growth plan to the State every seven years. This plan, known as a Comprehensive Plan or “Comp Plan,” includes an inventory of current conditions and identifies long-range needs, goals, and policies to balance future economic, social, physical, environmental, and fiscal development of the area.

How does the Plan for Walton 2040 impact the Comprehensive Plan?

The next update to Walton County’s Comprehensive Plan will begin in 2025. At the request of the County Commission, the Plan for Walton 2040 will collect community input and opinions on the future growth and development of Walton County. Your feedback will be combined with state-of-the-art technical analysis and community planning practices to create a vision that guides the Comp Plan amendments and updates, and thus the future development and preservation of Walton County into the next two decades.  The Plan builds upon the existing 2011 Comprehensive Plan and subsequent amendments that were filed over the past few years.

Why should I participate in the Plan for Walton 2040?

If you live, work, own property, or have a business in Walton County, you should have a voice in the future of this community! Your input can help determine where growth should happen, what type of growth should be allowed, and where growth should be limited. This plan will also identify infrastructure and transportation needs to support future growth, areas to be preserved, and guidelines for ensuring that future growth is compatible with the surrounding neighborhoods and communities.

What is a Charrette?

A “charrette” is a fancy French word meaning “cart.” In the late 1800s, the Paris School of Fine Arts would send a cart to students’ apartments for them to turn in their art projects. Not unlike today, some students were cramming at the last minute to finish their work, so they would jump into the cart and finish the project while on their way back to school. Today, we use the term “charrette” in a similar fashion – we are collaborating and working together on the project on our way to the destination of a Vision Plan.   

The Plan for Walton 2040 charrette will be a seven-day workshop held here in Walton County. During that time, the entire consultant team will work side-by-side with the community to create options and ideas for the Vision Plan. You can see the preliminary schedule for the charrette here. The charrette schedule includes public presentations, topic-focused workshops, open houses, design sessions, and “open studio” time, where the public can interact directly with members of the consultant team in a more informal, conversational format.
What else should I know about the Plan for Walton 2040?

We aim for this process to be open, transparent, inclusive, and grounded in reality. This means that everyone will have the opportunity to participate and share their opinions through surveys, emails, workshops, etc. Walton County’s growth will continue, but it can and should be managed in a way that supports property rights, enhances surrounding areas, respects existing communities, and improves the quality of life for everyone.


SoWal Staff's picture

Offering news, features, insider tips & info, photos and video all across the South Walton area.