FUTURE LAND USE [FLU]
Responding to the needs of our community with the intent to improve our citizens’ health and quality of life, we must equitably plan for the built and natural environments in which they interact. The Future Land Use Element (FLU) considers the needs of the community and defines the distribution of the many use categories while considering the relationships among them. These uses and development pattern influence the transportation network; the types and amount of housing that can support the population; and the need to provide jobs, services and public facilities. The development of the built environment must be balanced with the need to protect the natural environment to ensure the County’s sustainable future.
Did you know that there are several opportunities for you to hear about and share your opinion regarding land use and zoning decisions in the County? There are many boards and committees that hold public meetings/hearings. Here are just a few:
- Local Planning Agency (LPA) – recommends changes to the Comprehensive Plan, Future Land Use, the Land Development Code, etc.
- Board of County Commissioners (BCC) – reviews changes to the Comprehensive Plan, Future Land Use, the Land Development Code, the Zoning map, etc.
- Board of Adjustment and Appeals (BAA) – reviews variance requests for setback reductions, lot area reductions, parking requirement reductions, Type 2 Use review, etc.
- Historic Preservation Board – countywide policy to address historical protection and redevelopment issues among local communities.
- Development Review Committee (DRC) – makes recommendations to the Board of Adjustment and Appeals (BAA), the Local Planning Agency (LPA), and to the Board of County Commissioners (BCC) regarding public hearing items such as land use and zoning changes, Type 2 and Type 3 use approvals, right of way/easement vacations, variances, plats and non-conforming use modifications.
Check out the County’s website for meeting schedules and agendas.
Goals, Objectives, Policies & Strategies
PROVIDE A VARIETY OF LAND USE CHARACTER AREAS TO MEET THE NEEDS OF A DIVERSE POPULATION AND SUPPORT THRIVING, RESILIENT, QUALITY COMMUNITIES.
Establish Future Land Use Categories that respond to the unique challenges of infill and (re) development within Unincorporated Pinellas County.
Future Land Use Categories established by Pinellas County will be consistent with the Countywide Plan Map.
Future Land Use Categories will be established to prescribe (1) the purpose and intent, (2) standards pertaining to the density and intensity of development, (3) use characteristics, (4) locational characteristics.
Future Land Use Categories and the standards associated with each category will be described in the Future Land Use Category Descriptions and Rules to be made a part of this chapter.
Future Land Use Categories will provide a range of housing types and densities. The following residential Categories are established:
- Residential Rural (RR)
- Residential Estate (RE)
- Residential Suburban (RS)
- Residential Low (RL)
- Residential Low Medium (RLM)
- Residential Medium (RM)
- Residential High (RH)
Future Land Use Categories will provide for mixed-use development. The following mixed-use Categories are established:
- Activity Center – Major (AC-M)
- Activity Center – Community (AC-C)
- Activity Center – Neighborhood (AC-N)
- Mixed-use Corridor – Primary (MUC-P)
- Mixed-use Corridor – Secondary (MUC-S)
- Mixed-use Corridor – Supporting (MUC-Su)
- Planned Redevelopment District (PRD)
- Residential/Office Limited (R/OL)
- Residential/Office General (R/OG)
- Residential/Office/Retail (R/O/R)
- Resort Facilities Overlay-Permanent (RFO-P)
- Resort Facilities Overlay-Temporary (RFO-T)
Future Land Use Categories will provide for commercial development. The following commercial Categories are established:
- Commercial Neighborhood (CN)
- Commercial Recreation (CR)
- Commercial General (CG)
Future Land Use Categories will provide for industry and places of employment to diversify the economy and provide a broad range of employment opportunities. The following industrial / employment Categories are established:
- Employment (E)
- Industrial General (IG)
- Target Employment Center Overlay (TEC)
Future Land Use Categories will provide for public and semi-public uses. The following public/semi-public Categories are established:
- Preservation (P)
- Preservation-Resource Management (P-RM)
- Resource Management Overlay (RMO-1 And RMO-2)
- Recreation/Open Space (R/OS)
- Institutional (I)
- Transportation/Utility (T/U)
Maintain a Future Land Use Map (FLUM) that reflects the land use and growth strategy for Unincorporated Pinellas County.
Maintain a planning sector map that will identify areas with similar development characteristics for the purpose of conducting analysis, restricting urban sprawl, and conducting other planning efforts.
Maintain a Land Development Code that responds to the unique challenges of infill and (re)development within Unincorporated Pinellas County.
Utilize the Land Development Code to regulate the use, intensity and design of (re)development in a manner consistent with the Future Land Use Categories and FLUM.
The Local Planning Agency and the Board of County Commissioners will ensure that use, density, intensity and other relevant standards of the Land Development Code are consistent with the Future Land Use Chapter.
Provide criteria through the Future Land Use Category Descriptions and Rules defining the relationship of Future Land Use Categories and the Land Development Code.
Consider creative regulatory solutions to support (re)development.
Support the use of form-based codes as a holistic approach for applying land development regulations to defined planning areas.
Consider opportunities to adopt performance-based regulatory solutions.
CREATE SAFE, HEALTHY PLACES THAT PROVIDE A SENSE OF COMMUNITY FOR OUR RESIDENTS, WORKERS AND VISITORS.
Implement a community planning process to address growth and design challenges at a variety of scales, (e.g.: neighborhoods, centers, corridors, and districts).
Enable local communities to engage in focused planning efforts to define a vision that guides future decisions regarding (re)development and creates or enhances a unique identity for the defined area.
Develop a community-based planning framework that identifies specific goals, public outreach requirements, departmental coordination, and other elements to be included in neighborhood planning efforts as determined by the scope of the project.
Prioritize areas (e.g.: neighborhoods, activity centers, corridors, etc.) for the creation of community plans and associated implementation methods.
Encourage new population and employment growth in areas where existing infrastructure, housing, jobs, and services are available to support (re)development.
Utilize the Countywide Plan Land Use Strategy Map to identify corridors and centers for future population growth and (re)development prioritization.
Prioritize specific corridors and activity center locations for the designation of areas using the Activity Center and Mixed-Use Corridor Future Land Use designations through the development of focused community plans.
Promote the location of commercial, mixed-use and office (re)development within prioritized corridors and centers.
Promote the location of medium- and high-density residential development within prioritized corridors and centers.
Promote mixed-use projects and areas that have both residential units and places of employment within prioritized corridors and centers.
Utilize the Land Development Code to address standards for (re)development within prioritized corridors and centers.
Encourage (re)development that promotes ‘placemaking’ and development patterns that advance accessibility and affordability (i.e., location efficiency) to advance community identity and create a sense of place.
Implement urban design standards and other regulations to ensure that development outcomes are consistent with the vision of a walkable and aesthetically pleasing area with diverse uses, especially in mixed-use areas.
Concentrate highest intensity development in focused areas with access to transit.
Place housing in proximity to employment opportunities, services and amenities.
Incorporate well-designed public spaces that fit the context and character of the neighborhoods they serve.
Utilize design standards coupled with transportation infrastructure and service improvements to support mobility choices.
Within areas designated for mixed-use, provide policy and regulation to support the development of a range of housing opportunities and choices, including the provision of affordable housing.
Provide adequate buffering and land use/development transitions to minimize incompatibility of uses.
Update the Land Development Code consistent with the requirements of the Countywide Rules to support use of the mixed-use density/intensity bonus.
Encourage vertical (re)development in appropriate locations to provide development densities/intensities supportive of a mix of uses and transit uses.
Implement Land Development Code updates to enable the use of the Mixed-Use Density/Intensity Bonus included in the Countywide Rules.
Maintain the integrity and viability of existing neighborhoods by promoting high-quality development patterns and forms.
Utilize design standards and the Land Development Code to enhance a neighborhood’s identity and unique sense of place by protecting existing character and promoting context sensitive infill and (re)development.
Encourage single-family attached and multi-family housing to orient the front door to a neighborhood sidewalk or street.
Encourage residential building design with street-level elements oriented to the pedestrian along the right-of-way.
Promote living areas of the structure that are closer to the street than garage areas.
Allow reduced setbacks for front porches in subdivision design.
Manage land use compatibility and building scale and character transitions between established residential neighborhoods and adjacent non-residential uses.
Identify and manage non-conforming land uses.
Utilize the Land Development Code to eliminate or reduce non-conforming uses.
Increase healthy food access by encouraging healthy food purveyors near residential areas and transit facilities.
Improve access to healthy food in communities not served by a grocery store or another retail food establishment.
Address regulatory barriers limiting access to healthy foods.
Utilize the Land Development Code to assist in the support of healthy food access.
Identify potential incentives to encourage the development of grocery stores or other establishments that provide access to healthy food.
Consider implementing incentives for establishments providing access to healthy foods in Activity Centers and Mixed-Use Corridors.
Support the development of neighborhood-oriented, specific sources of healthy foods, such as farmers’ markets and local outlets.
Support food banks, pantries, and other sources that help provide federal food assistance to low income residents.
Create and implement a food access strategic plan, that addresses equitable access to healthy foods, considering such factors as appropriate land use categories; regulatory tools; and incentives.
Support the preservation and development of urban agriculture on public and private lands throughout the County.
Identify neighborhoods underserved by healthy eating opportunities, including access to existing urban agriculture resources.
Utilize the Land Development Code to support urban agriculture development in underserved neighborhoods, (e.g., criteria and incentives for the provision of farmers markets; community gardens and/or farms, and other similar sources of healthy foods).
PROMOTE MIXED-INCOME COMMUNITIES THAT PROVIDE A RANGE OF HOUSING TYPES AND COSTS TO MEET THE NEEDS OF OUR RESIDENTS.
Increase development and design flexibility to encourage a greater diversity of housing types in Unincorporated Pinellas County.
Encourage development of accessory dwelling units (ADUs).
Utilize the Land Development Code to support an increase in the number of ADUs built.
Consider development of non-regulatory (e.g., low interest loans, grants, reduced fees) programs and incentives to support ADU development.
Implement tracking of ADU production to maintain inventory and measure effectiveness of policies.
Encourage the implementation of missing middle housing as defined in the Countywide Plan.
Update the Land Development Code consistent with the requirements of the Countywide Rules to support missing middle housing and permitted density bonuses.
Encourage the implementation of affordable housing development (AHDs) as defined in the Land Development Code.
Maintain preferred locational criteria for AHD’s, to support mixed-income neighborhood development, transit access, and proximity to neighborhood services, employment and educational opportunities.
Implement a density bonus for AHDs in the Land Development Code consistent with the Countywide Plan. The density bonus shall not be allowed for affordable housing developments located within the Coastal Storm Area (CSA).
Support manufactured home community enhancement and redevelopment transition projects to increase the inventory of quality affordable housing. These communities are defined as:
- Manufactured home developments within a designated Community Redevelopment Area (CRA) and existing prior to January 30, 1990; and
- Documented by existing site plans on file.
Manufactured home redevelopment transition projects may be granted affordable housing development bonuses as per the Land Development Code.
Encourage innovative approaches to housing design and delivery.
Utilize the Land Development Code to respond to innovations in housing type, construction, and site design (e.g., micro-apartments, tiny homes, shipping containers, manufactured homes, cohousing, etc.)
Support economic development by providing housing options for the local workforce, (or affordable to households making less than 120% area median income based on household size).
Implement policy and regulatory tools that encourage market-rate developers to provide workforce housing.
Implement land use/development criteria and assess existing county-owned properties to identify those that might be used for the purpose of providing workforce housing.
Actively market sites and available resources (e.g. Penny for Pinellas affordable housing and economic development monies) to encourage the provision of workforce housing.
PROMOTE LAND USE AND DEVELOPMENT PATTERNS THAT SUPPORT EQUITABLE ECONOMIC GROWTH.
Support the retention, expansion, and attraction of target industries.
Provide land supportive of office and industrial uses to support target industries and broaden the range of employment opportunities.
Complete an analysis of areas designated with an Industrial or Employment Future Land Use category to identify available/underutilized land.
Complete an updated analysis of existing areas with Future Land Use designations supportive of office development to identify available/underutilized land.
Coordinate with Forward Pinellas and the municipalities to assess and propose enhancements to the development potential of target employment centers designated on the Countywide Plan Map.
Utilize the Land Development Code to restrict the impact of industrial development upon surrounding land uses and the natural environment.
Coordinate investments with desired land use patterns to more effectively plan for the interdependence of housing, employment centers, commercial uses, education/workforce training, and for public services.
Provide quality siting opportunities for primary employers by maintaining and enhancing industrial and employment center lands within Pinellas County. The following criteria guide the location of industrial and employment center uses, as applicable, and will be used to evaluate conversion of industrial and employment center designated lands to other uses:
- Site Characteristics: the size, configuration and physical characteristics of the site, including potential for expansion or consolidation with adjoining properties, in relationship to its potential utility to support employment opportunities.
- Locational Characteristics: the location of the property in relationship to adjoining similarly-classified property, its compatibility with adjoining and nearby uses and plan classifications that would be similar to or serve the site, and any adjoining residential or incompatible use or plan category.
- Transportation and Infrastructure Features: the location of the property in relationship to arterial and major highways, public transit, airport and rail access, as well as other infrastructure and service facilities, including water, sewer, stormwater, solid waste, and parking, and their respective capacities.
- Unique Features: whether the property is now, or is proposed to be, used for unique and high-priority functions such as water-dependent, working waterfront, runway access, and transit-oriented uses.
- Contribution to the Economy: the number and type of jobs, and corresponding wage scale(s), to be provided within the proposed plan designations as compared to those now provided, or potentially available, within the existing plan category.
- Redevelopment Plans: whether the property is included as part of a special area plan or other community plan that has evaluated and addressed the effect on the number and type of jobs and wage scale of persons to be employed in the redevelopment area proposed to be reclassified;
- Related Comprehensive Plan Policies: whether the amendment furthers key policies of the comprehensive planning process, consistent with the County’s Comprehensive Plan, in order to enhance the manufacturing, high-tech and targeted industry employment base.
Enable supportive uses in the Target Employment Center Overlay (TEC) and the Employment (E) land use category to complement the associated employment use(s) and intensity, without decreasing the capacity for employment generation of the primary uses.
Support existing office/industrial uses in need of redevelopment and revitalization.
Include development standards in the Land Development Code to enable adaptive reuse of existing industrial/commercial buildings to encourage private sector investment and business activity.
Support the development of new housing in proximity to existing employment centers.
Encourage a balanced land use pattern that provides employment opportunities in proximity to housing.
Include economic development strategies/incentives in community plans for prioritized centers and corridors.
Utilize the Penny for Pinellas Economic Development and Affordable Housing Programs to support revitalization and construction of new employment and residential projects.
ADVANCE LAND USE AND DEVELOPMENT PATTERNS THAT SUPPORT MOBILITY FOR ALL USERS AND PROVIDE SUSTAINABLE TRANSPORTATION INFRASTRUCTURE.
Facilitate the development of activity centers and mixed-use corridors that support transit use and multimodal connectivity.
Identify and prioritize potential activity center and mixed-use corridors for more detailed transportation planning and investment efforts.
Activity center and multimodal corridor planning efforts should be conducted consistent with the Countywide Plan Rules and Strategies and coordinated with affected jurisdictions where appropriate.
Coordinate the location of transit stations and their station typologies through a multiagency process for transit corridor planning.
Utilize the Activity Center and Multimodal Corridor designations and associated processes to develop community plans for future transit station areas.
Align land use and Land Development Code changes with planned street improvements to maximize development efficiency.
Encourage (re)development patterns to include pedestrian friendly design features that encourage the use of transportation modes other than single occupancy motor vehicles.
Encourage complete streets and (re)development that includes pedestrian friendly design features.
Utilize the Land Development Code to ensure pedestrian friendly design features are consistent with national best practices.
Update prioritization criteria for sidewalk improvements, to maximize safety and mobility impacts.
Provide safe, convenient and comfortable transit stops.
Where feasible, provide transit stops with amenities including weather protection, ample paved walkways, sidewalks, lighting, and landscaping, and ancillary uses that provide conveniences to transit patrons.
Utilize the Land Development Code to ensure that parking, landscaping, or other design requirements do not contain barriers to accessing transit stops/stations.
Encourage the provision of landscaping and shade trees near transit stops to maximize passenger comfort.
Enhance aesthetics along key roadway corridors throughout the County.
Pursue an overall beautification program for the landscaping of roadway corridors.
Implement a landscaping program for the public rights-of-way along arterial and collector roadways.
Support water conservation through the use of native and drought tolerant vegetation.
Identify, prioritize and program funding for landscaping projects.
Manage land uses along Scenic Non-Commercial Corridors to preserve their scenic nature and traffic capacity.
Utilize the Land Development Code to manage land uses, development form and other standards along designated Scenic Non-Commercial Corridors (SNCC).
Low-density residential development in the range of 0 – 5 units per acre will be the preferred land use along designated SNCCs.
If a low-density residential use is determined to be untenable, nonresidential Future Land Use Map (FLUM) categories may be applied if:
- The proposed category is compatible with surrounding Countywide Rules provisions for Scenic Non-Commercial Corridors, FLUM categories and the existing land use pattern.
- The density/intensity of the proposed category is consistent with the intent of this policy.
PROMOTE A BALANCED RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE BUILT AND NATURAL ENVIRONMENT.
Proactively manage the impacts of (re)development on the County’s natural resources.
Protect the County’s wellfields, coastal areas, wetlands, and other natural areas by limiting allowable densities/intensities.
Utilize a maximum density of 0.5 units per gross acre in the northern portion of Planning Sector 2.
Within the constraints imposed by approved major projects and developments of regional impact, maintain a gradient of decreasing residential densities from west to east and south to north within Planning Sector 2.
To protect the floodways and natural recharge areas and extensive natural systems in northeast Pinellas County, no amendment to the Future Land Use Map (FLUM) within 100 year floodplains located in Planning Sector 2 (East Lake Tarpon Planning Sector) will be approved that increases residential density above 5.0 dwelling units per acre.
Apply the Preservation (P), Preservation-Resource Management (P-RM), Recreation Open Space (R/OS) and Residential Rural (RR) Future Land Use Categories to protect and conserve natural resources.
Protect wetlands and floodplains for wildlife and vegetative habitat through the Future Land Use Map.
The Preservation (P) category will be applied to protect and conserve:
- Environmentally sensitive lands;
- Significant wetlands and 25-year floodplains, floodways, drainageways;
- Shorelines; and
- Habitat for endangered or threatened species.
Within the area east of East Lake Road and north of Keystone Road in the vicinity of the Eldridge-Wilde wellfield, only the Preservation (P), Preservation-Resource Management (P/RM), Recreation/Open Space (R/OS) and Residential Rural (RR) categories may be applied.
Designate undeveloped coastal barrier islands as Preservation (P), Recreation/Open Space (R/OS), or Preservation-Resource Management (P/RM) on the Future Land Use Map.
Designate environmentally sensitive areas as Preservation (P) or Preservation-Resource Management (P-RM) on the Future Land Use Map.
(Re)development will be required to preserve and enhance environmentally–sensitive lands and shorelines, and protect and conserve wetlands, floodplains, watersheds, and groundwater.
Utilize the Land Development Code to:
- Provide for a variety of methods to protect and conserve open space and natural resources;
- Ensure that environmentally sensitive lands designated by the Preservation (P) Future Land Use Category are protected. Designated preservation areas will be retained as undeveloped land suitable for passive recreation, conservation or aesthetic uses;
- Ensure the preservation of natural drainage and retention areas;
- Allow the transfer of development rights and density averaging in accordance with the Future Land Use Category Descriptions and Rules to protect and conserve open space and natural resources;
- Ensure that (re)development delineates and protects wetlands and floodplain resources;
- Provide mitigation solutions and practices to compensate for the loss of natural system function, where impact is unavoidable;
- Ensure that (re)development adheres to the County’s groundwater protection program to include:
- The regulation of borrow pits; and
- The prohibition of landfills and additional commercial and industrial uses within zones of protection.
- Ensure that (re)development protects shorelines by:
- The delineation and protection of aquatic lands;
- The establishment of setbacks; and
- The establishment of design standards that protect the integrity and natural function of coastal resources.
Prohibit development over natural water areas unless indicated as a recognized use on the FLUM.
Amendments to the FLUM or (re)development projects within a watershed will be reviewed for consistency with any approved respective watershed management plan.
Acquire open space and environmentally sensitive areas evaluated and identified as such by Pinellas County.
Encourage low impact development (LID) alternative design methods for (re)development projects.
Advance programs and policies that encourage the remediation and restoration of contaminated properties.
Implement the Brownfield Program to maximize the beneficial reuse of vacant and abandoned properties in a manner that contributes to economic vitality, community revitalization, community health and environmental improvement.
Encourage land use patterns and (re)development standards that increase development resiliency, minimizing impacts from sea level rise, major storm events, and hazards identified in the Local Mitigation Strategy.
Limit (re)development in hurricane velocity zones and flood-prone areas.
Require (re)development within hurricane velocity zones and flood-prone areas to comply with or exceed the National Flood Insurance Program, and County Floodplain Management Standards.
Integrate resiliency planning considerations into land use and development planning.
Coordinate with County departments, municipalities, and outside agencies to integrate resiliency strategies into the Comprehensive Plan and Land Development Code.
Support policies, programs, and initiatives to reduce carbon emissions and improve air quality.
Encourage the use of clean and renewable alternative energy sources to reduce dependency on fossil fuels and conserve energy.
Assess and update the Land Development Code to facilitate the implementation of localized alternative energy solutions.
Consider implementing density/intensity bonuses for (re)development that provides on-site power generation.
PROVIDE A LAND USE PATTERN THAT CAN BE SUPPORTED BY COMMUNITY AND PUBLIC FACILITIES AND SERVICES.
Ensure that the land use pattern established by the Future Land Use Map (FLUM) is supported by adequate public infrastructure and facilities.
When making decisions to amend the FLUM or zoning atlas, the adequacy of existing and planned public infrastructure and facilities to support the amendment will be considered.
Decisions to amend the FLUM or zoning atlas will consider the impact on transportation infrastructure and facilities to include:
- The ability of the surrounding existing and planned transportation network to meet the mobility needs;
- The capacity of the surrounding existing and planned transportation network to accommodate projected additional demand; and
- The projected impact on traffic patterns resulting from mixed-use development and an emphasis on pedestrian activity, existing and planned/programmed transit service and non-motorized modes of travel.
Decisions to amend the FLUM or zoning atlas will consider the impact on utility infrastructure and facilities and associated master plans, including water, wastewater, solid waste and stormwater management.
Decisions to amend the FLUM or zoning atlas will consider the impact on community-serving infrastructure and services including parks, recreation and public schools.