Byway resources should be visible from the roadway, which means these resources must be within the viewshed. In certain cases, however, having the resource adjacent to the roadway may satisfy this criterion.
Simply put, every roadway designated as a Florida Scenic Highway must tell a story that may include information about history, culture, industry, ecology or recreational opportunities, all meant to provide an educational experience for the traveler.
To ensure travelers a safe-driving environment, the roadway must be a paved public road accommodating two-wheel drive automobiles. In addition, recreational and emergency vehicle access should be provided to all segments of the roadway. In some cases, unpaved portions of roadways may be added to a corridor as spur or loop roads off the main corridor. These unpaved portions of road must lead to or provide access to resources valuable to the corridor’s designation and be safe for vehicle travel.
4. The corridor should exhibit significant, exceptional and distinctive features of the region it traverses.
Having resources that are significant, exceptional and distinctive is considered the cornerstone of the Florida Scenic Highways Program and is necessary for receiving designation. Significant is viewed in the context of whether or not the resource is regionally recognized (meaning more than one county) and valued by the surrounding communities. Exceptional implies the resource(s) is outstanding in its quality and composition within the landscape. Distinctive means the resource(s) is representative of the geographical region in which it is located; in other words, the resource is associated with an appropriate characteristic of a particular area of the state.
5. The roadway should be more than one mile in length and, if appropriate, provide access to the resource(s).
The roadway generally should be more than one mile in length. Ideally, the length of a candidate corridor should be determined by the resources present along that corridor. This length may also satisfy visitor expectation, for many travelers might often make a substantial diversion in their travel route to experience the roadway’s intrinsic qualities.
For a Scenic classification, a majority of the corridor must exhibit natural, recreational or scenic qualities. For a Heritage classification, a majority of the corridor must exhibit at least one of the following qualities: historic, archaeological or cultural. For either designation classification, resources must be as continuous as possible throughout the corridor. These resources must be as continuous as possible for the present and for the future. This may be the criterion most difficult to determine, but the intention is to ensure that intrinsic resources are consistently apparent and of significant quality for the majority of the roadway Corridor limits, with minimal gaps and intrusions on the traveler’s experience.
Just as an athletic team has a team captain, so too must a scenic highway have a leader in the form of a Byway Organization which acts as initial catalyst for the eligibility phase, organizing meetings, building constituency and preparing for detailed evaluation and planning during the designation process. The Byway Organization that should include residents, business owners, and representatives of local governments, agencies, nonprofits, and other organizations. Once designated, the Byway Organization is responsible for the long-term implementation of all scenic highway management plans, and complying with FHSP requirements in perpetuity. Florida Scenic Highways must possess resources that are representative, unique, irreplaceable, or distinctly characteristic of an area in order to be designated, but designation is just the first step. In order for byway communities to realize the benefits of designation, an effective Byway Organization must exist for the long-term management of the corridor.
A scenic highway depends upon the community for the management and exposure of the designated corridor; therefore, the Byway Organization must demonstrate this commitment in order to gain input and support from the public. In order to receive designation as a Florida Scenic Highway, substantial support for designation from a diverse group of stakeholders must be demonstrated, as well as an assessment of available human and financial resources for implementation. Together, this is referred to as Community Commitment. The purpose of the Community Commitment documentation is to:
- Demonstrate that all stakeholders have been notified and involved in the designation process.
- Identify who has committed to doing the work and that the commitment is adequate.
- Identify what human and financial resources are being made available from stakeholders to ensure the success of the byway.
- Identify how partnerships will be developed that benefit byway stakeholders.
Once the Byway organization has built community consensus for a project, it must demonstrate that the community supports the vision and goals for the proposed scenic highway. Such support can be demonstrated through letters from citizens, businesses and civic groups, surveys, partnering agreements, proclamations, resolutions, ordinances or other methods. Additionally, a letter of support (or statement that there is no objection) must be submitted from every local government entity with jurisdiction over the proposed route as a requirement to be included in the Community Commitment document.
10. A Byway Management Plan (BMP) must be developed along with a Year-One Work Plan as a planning tool for the Byway Organization.
A Byway Management Plan is a multi-year plan that describes actions to be taken by the Byway Organization and its stakeholders that will result in benefits to the scenic highway community and compliance with FSHP requirements. All byway stakeholders should be involved in developing plans to maintain the organization, protect and promote resources, and deliver a quality experience to visitors. Byway Organizations are encouraged to think of the BMP as a “Users Guide” for the byway. It should clearly convey to Byway Organization members, local elected officials, business owners, potential funders, and other stakeholders exactly why designation was sought and what is hoped to be accomplished over time. The document should also serve as an orientation tool that helps new Byway Organization members and volunteers quickly get up to speed. Important aspects of the BMP include a Vision, Intrinsic Quality Inventory, Byway Story, Goals and Objectives, Byway Organization details and Visitor Experience planning. As an additional planning tool, a Year-One Work Plan must be developed to specify the projects, activities, and/or programs a Byway Organization will undertake the first year after designation. It should include a timeframe for completion of each task and/or project, a lead or responsible party for each task, project, activity, and/or program, and the expected funding source (if applicable) for each project, activity, and/or program.