Pinellas by Design
Pinellas by Design
A Shared Future

More Countywide Planning and Redevelopment Efforts

Pinellas by Design is a major countywide effort that has brought together planning for land use, economic development, housing, transportation, and intergovernmental relations. But there are several other countywide projects working toward similar goals, by focusing on specialized topics:

Condo Conversion Study in progress

The Condo Conversion Study

Tourism has been a mainstay of the Pinellas County economy since the mid-20th century. Because of the inherent attractiveness of the beaches, the barrier island communities are experiencing heavy demand for residential redevelopment. Many older hotels are being torn down and replaced with condominiums, decreasing the supply of tourist accommodations. In 2005, the Board of County Commissioners, working through its Economic Development Department, partnered with the beach communities to study the long-term effect of this trend, and to devise approaches to help preserve the tourist industry.

A final report was issued in February 2005. Its findings will be used to guide changes to land development policies on the barrier islands.

The Community Housing Workgroup

In July 2005, the Board of County Commissioners convened a community housing workgroup as part of a larger effort to examine and address issues of  housing affordability within the county. Initial membership included staff from Pinellas County Community Development and several other departments. Due to countywide interest in housing issues, the group was later expanded to include staff from the Pinellas Planning Council and the cities of St. Petersburg, Clearwater, Largo, and Dunedin. The group has recommended specific strategies that can be used to encourage the creation of housing that meets the needs of a broad range of residents. One such recommendation, for the creation of a housing trust fund where certain local government revenues are dedicated to resolving community housing issues, was adopted by the Board in March 2006.

The Historic Preservation Task Force

In June 2005, The Board of County Commissioners established a Historic Preservation Task Force to examine the issue of preservation policies for historically significant structure, neighborhoods, districts and improvements throughout the county. In addition to private-sector professionals with expertise in historic preservation, the task force includes staff from the cities of Tarpon Springs, Dunedin, St. Petersburg, and Indian Rocks Beach. The task force recommendations will be used to guide land development policies in the unincorporated county and serve as a model for other local governments.

The Updated Countywide Plan for Pinellas County

Established by a special act of the Florida Legislature (Chapter 88-464, Laws of Florida), the Countywide Plan is maintained by the Pinellas Planning Council, and adopted by the Board of County Commissioners in its role as the Countywide Planning Authority. In May 2005, the document was updated to address the physical and social changes experienced by Pinellas County in the past two decades. It is designed to provide guidance for both local and countywide planning efforts by exploring issues not addressed in traditional comprehensive plans, such as the benefits of redevelopment, the relationship between land use and transportation, and the need for economic sustainability.

The Planning to Stay Element

In December 2003, the Board of County Commissioners adopted the Planning to Stay Element into the Pinellas County Comprehensive Plan. Although it is part of the comprehensive plan for the unincorporated county, the element takes a countywide perspective, and is intended to guide planning decisions for the county as a whole. Taking an approach similar to the Updated Countywide Plan for Pinellas County, the document focuses on topics such as urban design, economic development, housing, and transportation. The central goal is to improve overall quality of life by creating an environment where families and businesses will want to stay.

The Pinellas Assembly

The Pinellas Assembly, held in May 2002, was a two-and-a-half-day event that brought together more than 130 people, representing virtually all segments of the private and public sectors in Pinellas County, to talk about issues of concern to local communities. Seven task forces created during the Assembly have continued to meet and discuss new concepts and approaches to topics such as annexation, countywide and municipal taxation, fire and emergency services, health care, law enforcement, recreation, and transportation.

The Pinellas Mobility Initiative

The Pinellas Mobility Initiative is a transit task force, created by the Pinellas County Metropolitan Planning Organization to study ways of enhancing the transportation system in a built-out environment. After several years of research and public outreach, the task force has concluded that an elevated monorail system is the preferred long-term solution. The effort is currently examining the costs, projected ridership, and other requirements for pursuing this solution, while also evaluating other alternatives.

The Gulf Boulevard Improvements Project

To address concerns about the long-term health of the local tourism industry, Pinellas County joined with eleven beach communities to create a master plan to beautify and improve the main beach roadway. The Gulf Boulevard Project calls for a multi-million dollar investment in buried utility lines, landscaping, benches, streetlights, signs, improved transit, and other amenities. A new trolley route linking all of the beach communities was launched in December 2000, and has been highly successful. The project is currently examining financing options for the remainder of the plan.