GOVERNANCE [GOV]

The County must be transparent in the way it conducts business, plans the infrastructure, and coordinates with its public and private partners. The Governance chapter establishes policies that address the legal status of the comprehensive plan; the process for decision-making, intergovernmental coordination, and various implementation tools for the Plan. It also incorporates goals, objectives and policies for how the County addresses capital improvements and provides needed public facilities in a sustainable manner.

Everyday Actions

Learn more about how the County operates through participation in the Pinellas Citizen University. This six-week program offers a behind-the-scenes experience to learn more about how the County’s different departments serve the community. To learn more about enrollment in this program visit http://www.pinellascounty.org/CitizenU/default.htm.

Be part of the process. Attend public meetings and hearings to share your thoughts. Agendas for the many committees and boards can be found on the County’s website, by visiting: http://www.pinellascounty.org/agendas.htm.

Goals, Objectives, Policies & Strategies 

GOV GOAL 1 (Intergovernmental Coordination):  

MAINTAIN AN INNOVATIVE AND PROACTIVE PROGRAM OF INTERGOVERNMENTAL AND INTERAGENCY COORDINATION, COOPERATION AND PARTNERSHIP TO PROVIDE EFFICIENT AND EFFECTIVE SERVICES, TO PROTECT, PRESERVE AND ENHANCE SIGNIFICANT NATURAL RESOURCES AND TO PROTECT AND IMPROVE THE QUALITY OF LIFE FOR RESIDENTS AND VISITORS.

GOV OBJECTIVE 1.1:  

Coordinate planning activities with local governments and governmental agencies.

GOV POLICY 1.1.1:  

Coordinate with Forward Pinellas to maintain consistency with the Countywide Plan.

GOV STRATEGY 1.1.1.1:  

Participate in the countywide planning process through representation on the Forward Pinellas Board as prescribed by Chapter 2012-245 F.S. by:

  • Maintaining procedures to determine requisite amendments to the Countywide Future Land Use Plan; and
  • Taking the lead role for the development of coordinated population projections.
GOV POLICY 1.1.2:  

Coordinate with municipalities and adjoining counties in the update and amendment of local comprehensive plans.

GOV POLICY 1.1.3:  

Coordinate with Forward Pinellas to maintain consistency with the Long Range Transportation Plan (LRTP).

GOV STRATEGY 1.1.3.1:  

Collaborate with Forward Pinellas, the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA) and Tampa Bay Regional Transit Authority (TBARTA) to review updates and amendments to the Long Range Transportation Plan (LRTP).

GOV POLICY 1.1.4:  

Coordinate with the Tampa Bay Estuary Program (TBEP) to maintain consistency with the Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan (CCMP) for Tampa Bay.

GOV STRATEGY 1.1.4.1:  

Implement an agreement associated with the CCMP for Tampa Bay and the respective and applicable Pinellas County action plan components, consistent with provisions of the agreement.

GOV STRATEGY 1.1.4.2:  

Collaborate with TBEP to review updates and amendments to the CCMP.

GOV POLICY 1.1.5:  

Coordinate with the Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council (TBRPC) to maintain consistency with the Tampa Bay Regional Strategic Plan.

GOV STRATEGY 1.1.5.1:  

Maintain membership and participation in the TBRPC.

GOV STRATEGY 1.1.5.2:  

Collaborate with the TBRPC to review updates and amendments to the Strategic Regional Policy Plan (SRPP).

GOV POLICY 1.1.6:  

Coordinate with federal, state and regional regulatory agencies to maintain compliance with established programs and policies.

GOV POLICY 1.1.7:  

Cooperate with municipalities to establish and implement Joint Municipal Planning Areas as authorized by Section 163.3171 F.S.

GOV STRATEGY 1.1.7.1:  

Joint Municipal Planning Areas will be established by interlocal agreement with the participating municipality or municipalities.

GOV STRATEGY 1.1.7.2:  

The boundaries of Joint Municipal Planning Areas will be established in consideration of:

  • Previously established planning area boundaries;
  • Municipal and county infrastructure service areas;
  • Existing and planned jurisdiction lines;
  • Local comprehensive plans;
  • The location of unincorporated communities; and
  • The interests of unincorporated residents, property owners and businesses.
GOV STRATEGY 1.1.7.3:  

Once established by interlocal agreement, the following provisions will apply to the unincorporated area located within the Joint Municipal Planning Area:

  • An amendment to the applicable municipal comprehensive plan is required to include unincorporated areas within the municipal plan; and
  • The Pinellas County Comprehensive Plan and Land Development Code will remain in effect for annexed lands until the terms of the interlocal agreement have been met.
GOV OBJECTIVE 1.2:  

Coordinate the implementation of the Comprehensive Plan with local governments, federal, state and regional agencies and other agencies and organizations.

GOV POLICY 1.2.1:  

Coordinate with local governments and agencies with responsibilities related to land use and supporting infrastructure.

GOV STRATEGY 1.2.1.1:  

Collaborate with local governments and agencies to establish procedures for the review of land development proposals, capital improvements and public services including:

  • The sharing of development–related information;
  • The assessment of development-related impacts;
  • The siting of public facilities; and
  • The siting of locally unwanted land uses.
GOV STRATEGY 1.2.1.2:  

Utilize interlocal and interagency service agreements to facilitate and manage the provision of needed infrastructure and services in an adequate, equitable and efficient manner.

GOV STRATEGY 1.2.1.3:  

Collaborate with local governments and agencies to provide water, wastewater collection and treatment, and reclaimed water service.

GOV STRATEGY 1.2.1.4:  

Collaborate with local governments and agencies to protect and manage environmental lands and lands that serve the recreational needs of the County and region.

GOV STRATEGY 1.2.1.5:  

Maintain membership and service agreements with Tampa Bay Water.

GOV STRATEGY 1.2.1.6:  

Collaborate with local governments and agencies to manage solid waste.

GOV STRATEGY 1.2.1.7:  

Collaborate with local governments and agencies to manage surface water through the Watershed Management Program.

GOV STRATEGY 1.2.1.8:  

Coordinate with independent special districts and provide planning and technical assistance. Ensure that “special district public facility reports” are submitted to the County.

GOV STRATEGY 1.2.1.9:  

Collaborate with local governments and agencies in planning for disasters.

GOV POLICY 1.2.2:  

Coordinate with agencies and organizations responsible for the planning and management of transportation facilities.

GOV STRATEGY 1.2.2.1:  

Maintain membership in and support activities of Forward Pinellas.

GOV STRATEGY 1.2.2.2:  

Coordinate with the FDOT through the activities of Forward Pinellas.

GOV STRATEGY 1.2.2.3:  

Support the activities of TBARTA and PSTA.

GOV STRATEGY 1.2.2.4:  

By interlocal agreement administer and enforce airport protection zoning regulations.

GOV POLICY 1.2.3:  

Coordinate with agencies and organizations responsible for the conservation and management of environmental and natural resources to require a sound scientific base for the development of water policy and in setting a national standard for water resource management and conservation.

GOV STRATEGY 1.2.3.1:  

Establish procedures to ensure consistency with the policies, programs and regulations of DEP.

GOV STRATEGY 1.2.3.2:  

Coordinate with SWFWMD to:

  • Support their scientific research;
  • Share information regarding regional water resources;
  • Maintain and implement the Regional Water Supply Plan and protect the region’s water resource; and
  • Manage stormwater and surface water quality.
GOV STRATEGY 1.2.3.3:  

Support the activities of the agency on bay management.

GOV STRATEGY 1.2.3.4:  

Use the regulatory authority of the Pinellas County Water and Navigation and Control Authority.

GOV POLICY 1.2.4:  

Coordinate with agencies and organizations responsible for education services and educational facilities.

GOV STRATEGY 1.2.4.1:  

Participate in the Pinellas Schools Collaborative; pursue a partnership with the School Board of Pinellas County (SBPC); and implement the Public Schools Interlocal Agreement in partnership with the SBPC and local governments.

GOV STRATEGY 1.2.4.2:  

Maintain policies that address public school facilities within this comprehensive plan.

GOV POLICY 1.2.5:  

Establish a dispute resolution process.

GOV STRATEGY 1.2.5.1:  

Emphasize informal and efficient coordination processes to resolve disputes.

GOV STRATEGY 1.2.5.2:  

Utilize the formal dispute resolution process of TBRPC when necessary and appropriate.

GOV GOAL 2 (Property Rights):  

LAND USE DECISIONS SHALL CONSIDER ALL RELEVANT INFORMATION INCLUDING THAT OF THE PROPERTY OWNER AND THE PUBLIC HEALTH, SAFETY AND WELFARE.

GOV OBJECTIVE 2.1:  

Ensure private property rights are considered in local decision-making.

GOV POLICY 2.1.1:  

The following private property rights shall be considered:

  • The right of a property owner to physically possess and control his or her interests in the property, including easements, leases, or mineral rights;
  • The right of a property owner to use, maintain, develop, and improve his or her property for personal use or the use of any other person, subject to state law and local ordinances;
  • The right of the property owner to privacy and to exclude others from the property to protect the owner’s possessions and property; and
  • The right of a property owner to dispose of his or her property through sale or gift.
GOV OBJECTIVE 2.2:  

Promote the public health, safety, comfort, good order, appearance, convenience and general welfare through the goals, objectives, policies, and strategies of the Pinellas County Comprehensive Plan.

GOV POLICY 2.2.1:  

The Pinellas County Comprehensive Plan will promote the orderly and balanced future economic, social, physical, environmental, and fiscal development of the area through the implementation of its defined goals, objectives, policies, and strategies to guide future decisions.

GOV GOAL 3 (Capital Improvements):  

PINELLAS COUNTY SHALL UNDERTAKE ACTIONS NECESSARY TO PROVIDE ADEQUATE, NEEDED PUBLIC FACILITIES IN A MANNER THAT PROTECTS INVESTMENTS, MAXIMIZES THE USE OF EXISTING INFRASTRUCTURE, AND PROMOTES SUSTAINABLE GROWTH THAT BALANCES ECONOMIC, SOCIAL, AND ENVIRONMENTAL CONSIDERATIONS.

GOV OBJECTIVE 3.1:  

Capital improvements shall be provided to correct existing deficiencies; replace worn-out or obsolete infrastructure prior to failure and maximizing useful life; implement operational efficiencies and to accommodate desired future growth, as indicated in the Capital Improvement Program (CIP) described in the annual budget.

GOV POLICY 3.1.1:  

The capital improvement goals, objectives and policies shall be reviewed annually for any applicable changes.

GOV POLICY 3.1.2:  

A CIP plan shall be prepared by County Administration and affected departments and updated on an annual basis. The following CIP portfolio project criteria shall be utilized for evaluating and ranking projects prior to their inclusion in the CIP plan:

  • Asset preservation – the extent to which the project protects or preserves the County’s infrastructure.
  • Criticality of the project (consequences of not doing the project).
  • Economic outcome – the extent to which the project enhances economic development in the County.
  • Environmental stewardship – the extent to which the project implements green technologies or practices or otherwise serves to protect and improve the County’s natural resources.
  • Service delivery – the extent to which the project sustains or improves level of service.
  • Project coordination – the degree to which the project is linked to other existing or proposed projects managed by the County or an external partner.
  • Public demand – the extent to which the project aligns with citizen expectations.
  • Regulatory requirements – the extent to which the project helps the County meet current or future regulatory requirements.
  • Public health, safety, and welfare – the extent to which the project addresses an expert-defined health or safety condition.
GOV OBJECTIVE 3.2:  

Public expenditures that subsidize development in the Coastal Storm Area shall be limited to those improvements that are consistent with applicable goals, objectives and policies in this comprehensive plan.

GOV POLICY 3.2.1:  

County-funded infrastructure shall be prohibited within the Coastal Storm Area except for the following:

  • The expenditure is for the maintenance, repair or replacement of existing infrastructure; or
  • The expenditure is for restoration or enhancement of natural resources or public access; or
  • The expenditure is needed to address an existing deficiency identified in the Comprehensive Plan; or
  • The expenditure is for the retrofitting of stormwater management infrastructure for water quality enhancement of stormwater runoff; or
  • The expenditure is for the development or improvement of transportation infrastructure consistent with the Comprehensive Plan; or
  • Infrastructure intended to increase resiliency and minimize risk in the Coastal Storm Area; or
  • The expenditure is for public facilities of overriding public interest as determined by the Board of County Commissioners.
GOV OBJECTIVE 3.3:  

Future development shall bear a proportionate cost of infrastructure improvements necessitated by development to maintain adopted level of service standards.

GOV POLICY 3.3.1:  

Pinellas County shall continue to implement its multimodal impact fee ordinance to finance transportation management strategies necessitated by (re)development.

GOV POLICY 3.3.2:  

Pinellas County’s potable water and sewer impact fee revenues shall be allocated primarily for capital improvements related to expansion of potable water and sewer infrastructure.

GOV POLICY 3.3.3:  

Pinellas County shall continue to provide the option of using development agreements to provide public facilities to accommodate new development.

GOV OBJECTIVE 3.4:  

Pinellas County will manage its fiscal resources to ensure the provision of needed capital improvements for previously issued development orders, future (re)development in a manner that maintains adopted level of service standards.

GOV POLICY 3.4.1:  

Pinellas County shall manage its debt by only programming funds for infrastructure and programs that do not exceed the County’s fiscal capacity.

GOV POLICY 3.4.2:  

Pinellas County shall confine long-term borrowing to capital improvements that cannot be financed from current revenues on a “pay-as-you-go” basis.

GOV POLICY 3.4.3:  

Pinellas County will ensure that any bonds issued will be structured to be paid back within a period not to exceed the expected useful life of the capital project.

GOV POLICY 3.4.4:  

Efforts shall be made to secure grants or private funds whenever available to finance the provision of capital improvements.

GOV POLICY 3.4.5:  

Pinellas County shall continue to investigate funding sources and strategies to finance transportation needs consistent with the Comprehensive Plan, such as additional optional fuel taxes, and a transportation system surtax.

GOV POLICY 3.4.6:  

Pinellas County shall continue to collect a tourist development tax and shall use as outlined in the tourist development plan to implement needed improvements consistent with the Comprehensive Plan.

GOV POLICY 3.4.7:  

Fiscal policies of the Board of County Commissioners to direct expenditures for capital improvements shall be consistent with the Comprehensive Plan.

GOV POLICY 3.4.8:  

Pinellas County shall include capital improvement projects for the renewal and replacement of public facilities to maintain adopted level of service standards in the CIP.

GOV POLICY 3.4.9:  

The County shall continue to investigate other funding sources and strategies for the operation and maintenance of built and proposed capital improvements.

GOV POLICY 3.4.10:  

The County shall determine the best financial strategy(ies) to support and protect public access to water-dependent land uses.

GOV POLICY 3.4.11:  

The County shall establish explicit funding strategies and commitments to address the need for affordable or community housing.

GOV POLICY 3.4.12:  

The County shall acquire, assemble, and “bank” lands for current and future economic development needs.

GOV OBJECTIVE 3.5:  

Decisions regarding the issuance of development orders and permits shall be based upon coordination of the development requirements included in this Comprehensive Plan, the Land Development Code, and the availability of necessary public facilities needed to support such development at the time needed.

GOV POLICY 3.5.1:  

Pinellas County shall use the following level of service standards in reviewing the impacts of (re)development upon public facility provisions:

  • Stormwater – all applicable federal, state, and local regulations relating to flood control, stormwater treatment and wetland protection, shall continue to be met in public and private project design. Preference shall be given to stormwater management options that provide regional benefit, restore and enhance natural systems and floodplains, improve major conveyance systems or apply low impact development principles.
  • Recreation – 14 acres of County park and environmental lands for every 1,000 residents within the County.
  • Solid waste and resource recovery – disposal of 1.30 tons per person per year.
  • Water supply – Pinellas County shall use 115 gallons per capita per day when preparing its annual 5-year and 20-year potable water demand projections for the Pinellas County Water Demand Planning Area.
    • To determine whether adequate capacity is available for a (re)development project in the unincorporated county that is served by a municipal potable water system, Pinellas County will utilize the level of service standards adopted by the municipal service provider.
  • Sanitary sewer – Pinellas County utilities shall provide the levels of service necessary for proper wastewater treatment, reuse and disposal to ensure the protection of its citizens and the environment and to provide adequate wastewater treatment capacity for all current and projected wastewater facility demands of Pinellas County utility customers.
    • Wastewater flows associated with existing and permitted development cannot exceed the wastewater treatment plant’s permitted design capacity.
    • Treated effluent and biosolids shall meet all pertinent federal, state and local standards and regulations for treatment, reuse and disposal.
    • Pinellas County will, for concurrency management purposes, annually compare wastewater flows to permitted treatment capacity to determine the percentage of available capacity and assess whether permitted treatment capacity exceeds the needs of existing and committed development. If available, and the treatment capacity meets this standard, development can be permitted.
    • Unpredictable situations where permitted capacity is temporarily exceeded due to unanticipated situations such as limited/extreme weather conditions shall not impact the determination of level of service conditions.
    • Peak design flow capacity shall be between 1.5 and 2.5 times the average daily flow for each sanitary sewer system, based on the individual characteristics of the system.
    • If an annual assessment evidences that a capacity deficit could occur within 10 years, Pinellas County utilities will prepare a more detailed capacity analysis and determine whether facility expansion is required or if the service area is built out.
    • To determine whether adequate capacity is available for a (re)development project in the unincorporated county that is served by a municipal wastewater system, Pinellas County will utilize the level of service standards adopted by the municipal service provider.
GOV POLICY 3.5.2:  

Amendments to the Comprehensive Plan and requests for (re)development shall be evaluated according to the following guidelines:

  • Contribute to a condition of public hazard as described in the Comprehensive Plan.
  • Aggravate any existing condition of public facility deficiencies, as described in the Comprehensive Plan.
  • Generate public facility demands that may exceed capacity increases planned in the capital improvement program described in the annual budget.
  • Conform to land uses as shown on the Future Land Use Map.
  • Accommodate public demands based upon adopted level of service standards and attempts to meet specified measurable objectives when public facilities are provided by developers.
  • Demonstrate financial feasibility when public facilities will be provided, in part or whole, by Pinellas County.
  • Effect on state agencies and SWFWMD’s facility plans.
GOV POLICY 3.5.3:  

Pinellas County shall ensure that public facilities and services for which a level of service standard has been adopted and that is needed to support development will be available concurrent with the impacts of development. [16-19]

GOV GOAL 4 (County Health):  

PINELLAS COUNTY SHALL UNDERTAKE ACTIONS TO EQUITABLY IMPROVE THE COUNTY’S HEALTH.

GOV OBJECTIVE 4.1:  

Utilize best practices and health planning tools to advance the health of Pinellas County.

GOV POLICY 4.1.1:  

The County shall incorporate health considerations into decision-making.

GOV STRATEGY 4.1.1.1:  

Establish policies in the Comprehensive Plan and other County policy documents that guide decision-making to support healthy opportunities and communities.

GOV STRATEGY 4.1.1.2:  

Establish criteria for County projects to determine when Health Impact Assessments (HIAs) or other health planning tools should be used.

GOV STRATEGY 4.1.1.3:  

The County shall seek input from public health professionals when developing policies for the Comprehensive Plan.

GOV POLICY 4.1.2:  

The County should coordinate with local, state and regional partners to address health through cross-sector collaboration and public education.

GOV STRATEGY 4.1.2.1:  

The County shall participate in community collaborations focused on improving health and equity outcomes, such as the Pinellas County Health in All Policies (HiAP) collaborative.

GOV STRATEGY 4.1.2.2:  

Make educational materials on health (e.g., social determinants of health, healthy choices, etc.) available to the public.

GOV STRATEGY 4.1.2.3:  

The County should participate in the community health assessment and health improvement planning process of the local health department and hospitals.

GOV STRATEGY 4.1.2.4:  

Improve data sharing and collaboration internally and with external partners, including but not limited to schools and academic institutions, social service agencies, transportation and planning entities, health departments, and healthcare providers.

GOV POLICY 4.1.3:  

Promote accountability for community health and equity outcomes.

GOV STRATEGY 4.1.3.1:  

The County should utilize metrics to help determine the effectiveness of established policies, programs, and projects.