The Target Employment and Industrial
Land Study for the Pinellas Community (TEILS)
A major focus of Pinellas by Design is the attraction and retention of employers
that provide high-wage jobs, import money into the local economy, and are compatible
with the Pinellas County environment. These target industry businesses
include clean high-tech manufacturing, research/development, and office activities that
typically do not have the negative impacts associated with traditional heavy industrial
uses. However, many of the businesses still either require, or benefit from locating on,
land that is designated for industrial use.
As the county has become increasingly built out, the supply of industrially-designated
land needed by these businesses has dwindled. There is ongoing pressure to redevelop
parcels with residential and retail uses, which tend to return a higher short-term profit
to landowners, but are the least beneficial for the countywide economy over the long
To address these issues, in 2007, the Pinellas Planning Council and the Pinellas
County Economic Development Department, with assistance from consultant group
WilsonMiller, jointly undertook the Target Employment and Industrial Land Study
for the Pinellas Community (TEILS). The purpose of the study was to identify and
propose measures, including both business assistance techniques and revisions to
countywide land use regulations, to assist in attracting and retaining target
industry businesses. The study was approved by the Pinellas Planning Council and
Countywide Planning Authority in the spring of 2008.
View or Download the TEILS Report
View or Download the TEILS Appendices
Note: Documents require the free program
Selected findings of the study include the following:
- Pinellas County remains a strong, attractive location for business growth.
However, because the county is running out of developable vacant land, not all
of this potential growth is being realized.
- In order to maintain its current level of economic vitality into the future,
the county needs to add about 182,000 new jobs by 2025. About 25 percent of those
new jobs need to be high-wage jobs (at least 30 percent above the countywide
average) from "primary" employers, or those that import at least half of their
revenue from outside of Pinellas County.
- It would take about 8,000 acres of land to accommodate these 182,000 jobs at
the current average land development rate. But Pinellas County has fewer than 4,000
vacant acres with designations that can accommodate businesses-and some portion of
this land is only partially vacant, containing retention ponds, borrow pits,
utilities, rights-of-way, or other features that make it unusable for development.
- Industrial land remains a vital resource. One-third of existing target industry
businesses-including many offices-are located on industrial land, and more are
located on Industrial Limited than any other single future land use plan category.
Nearly 60 percent of target industries surveyed said that protecting industrial land
from conversion to other uses was important to their businesses.
- 94 percent of industrial land is found within "prime" areas, where industrial
parcels are concentrated, access to transportation facilities is good, and other
characteristics make the land appropriate for target industries. This land is most
in need of protection from conversion to other uses.
- Commercial and mixed-use land, while not as threatened as industrial land, must
also be included in any planning for target employment. Two-thirds of existing target
industries are located on land with designations such as Commercial General,
Residential/Office General, and Central Business District.
- Strategies needed to successfully accommodate target employment will include a
combination of the following:
- A balanced approach for protecting industrial/office properties
from conversion to other uses wherever feasible.
- Use vacant property classified for employment purposes to the
fullest extent possible.
- Encourage new and redeveloped property to be developed at
higher intensities in order to accommodate more jobs on less land.
- Amend the Countywide Plan Rules to include criteria for evaluating whether
industrially-designated parcels should be permitted to convert to other uses. At a
minimum, include the following criteria:
- The number, type, and wages of jobs that the existing and
proposed land use designations can support.
- The size and physical characteristics of the property,
including the potential to be combined with other parcels.
- Whether the parcel is part of a group of similar land uses,
and is compatible with other nearby uses.
- Whether the parcel has access to transportation facilities
(e.g., arterial roadways, transit, airport, rail) and other infrastructure
(e.g., water, sewer, stormwater, parking).
- Whether the parcel can support unique, high-priority uses,
such as working waterfronts or transit-oriented development.
- Whether the parcel is part of a special area plan that is
designed to support specific employment goals.
- Whether the proposed use would further the goals of approved
local and countywide plans, particularly Pinellas by Design: An Economic
Development and Redevelopment Plan for the Pinellas Community.
- Amend the Countywide Plan Rules to create new or revised plan categories and
procedures to enhance employment potential, including the following:
- Planned Redevelopment-Industrial Plan Category. This plan
category is currently available under the Countywide Plan Rules, and requires
a special area plan to be approved. It is recommended that the standards be
amended to add residential to the allowable mix of uses, in appropriate amounts
and configurations that support employers, but do not compete with them.
- Employment Center Overlay Plan Category. It is recommended that
a new plan category be created as an overlay to recognize and encourage the
creation of employment centers. This overlay category would be superimposed
on existing employment uses that are clustered and interrelated, compatible
with surrounding uses, and have sufficient infrastructure to permit intensification.
The overlay district would permit uses normally allowed by the Industrial Limited
plan category, and appropriate increases in floor area ratio.
- Target Industry Bonus System. It is recommended that a system
be created to provide incentives for target industry businesses with exemplary
characteristics, enabling them to be located on appropriate sites without amending
the plan. Points would be awarded based on certain criteria, such as the number
and wage scale of jobs created, transit-oriented development, green building
design, and overall design quality. In return, density/intensity bonuses would be
awarded, and additional uses could be allowed, as determined appropriate.
- In order to reduce the costs of site development and other aspects of doing business,
which will help the county remain competitive with its greenfield neighbors, expand economic
development assistance to target employers to include:
- Infrastructure Investment. It is recommended that public
improvements be consciously directed at meeting the roadway, transit, drainage,
water, sewer, and parking needs of target industries and employment centers. Economic
development efforts should also focus on identifying and marketing to target
industries that can benefit from the strengths of specific local areas while
overcoming their weaknesses.
- Land Assembly and Cost. It is recommended that a program
be established to assist with both the mechanics and cost of assembling the land area
necessary to accommodate the location and expansion needs of target industries.
- Other Incentives and Assistance. It is recommended that
the current "toolbox" of incentives be enhanced to include local Workforce Training
Grants, payment of relocation expenses, property tax abatement, infrastructure
improvement grants, and a Qualified Target Industry bonus allotment. Revenues to
assist in financing these incentives can be raised from various sources, such as
community development block grant funds and industrial revenue bond fees.
With their approval of the Target Employment and Industrial Land Study for the Pinellas Community,
the Pinellas Planning Council and Countywide Planning Authority have acknowledged the policy direction
set forth in the study. The next steps will be to clarify that direction through amendments to the
Countywide Plan Rules, and establishment of the financial commitments required to assist in their
implementation. Discussion of these steps is expected to begin in mid-2008.