RECREATION, OPEN SPACE AND CULTURE [ROS]

Pinellas County has a rich history of providing a large network of parks, preserves and cultural resources. As a highly urbanized community, these resources play a vital role in residents’ and visitors’ health and overall quality-of-life, offering access to social and recreational opportunities. The policies introduced in this chapter stress the County’s commitment to an outstanding system of resource-based regional parks and environmental lands; facility-based, active recreation programs and facilities; cultural events and activities; and the recognition and protection of the County’s historic and archaeological past.

Everyday Actions

Pinellas County maintains more than 20,000 acres of parks and preserves. Picnic shelters, camping, playgrounds, boat ramps and trails are among the many amenities you can enjoy. Find out more information about these amazing places: County’s Parks & Preserves.

Goals, Objectives, Policies & Strategies 

ROS GOAL 1 (Protection):  

PROTECT THE OPEN SPACE VALUE AND PUBLIC PURPOSE OF REGIONAL PARKS, ENVIRONMENTAL LANDS AND OPEN SPACES.

ROS OBJECTIVE 1.1:  

Protect open spaces and scenic vistas for their contributions to quality of life.

ROS POLICY 1.1.1:  

Establish incentives and regulations that promote the protection of open spaces and retention of scenic vistas.

ROS STRATEGY 1.1.1.1:  

Utilize the Land Development Code to provide incentives, criteria, standards and procedures for the retention of recreation and open space acreage.

ROS STRATEGY 1.1.1.2:  

Prohibit the conversion of dedicated recreation and open space land uses and encourage the retention of non-dedicated recreation and open space land use.

ROS STRATEGY 1.1.1.3:  

Address the need for incentives, criteria, standards and procedures that support the retention of recreation/open space land use designations on golf course properties, parks and other privately-owned open space properties.

ROS POLICY 1.1.2:  

Establish incentives, regulations and programs that promote the retention and reestablishment of scenic vistas.

ROS STRATEGY 1.1.2.1:  

Coordinate with local governments and other governmental agencies to protect scenic vistas along causeways and bridges.

ROS POLICY 1.1.3:  

Protect environmental lands and resource-based regional parks from the impact of incompatible uses.

ROS POLICY 1.1.4:  

Proactively pursue the acquisition and management of environmental lands, resource-based park lands and open space.

ROS STRATEGY 1.1.4.1:  

The land acquisition and management program will focus on:

  • Distributing parks and environmental lands throughout the county;
  • Filling gaps in the system;
  • Connecting existing properties;
  • Impacts are avoided or mitigated;
  • No (re)development or fill is allowed within the 100 year floodway;
  • There is no increase in base flood elevation within the 25 year and 100 year floodplain resulting from the activity and flood hazard reduction provisions are met;
  • Comparable compensation is provided to offset a reduction in floodplain storage; and
  • Wetland portions of sites within 100 year floodplains are designated as conservation easements.
ROS STRATEGY 1.1.4.2:  

The Department of Parks and Conservation Resources will evaluate the recreational and/or environmental benefit of acquiring identified properties.

ROS GOAL 2 (Sustainable Systems):  

PROVIDE OUTSTANDING COUNTYWIDE RECREATIONAL, OPEN SPACE AND ENVIRONMENTAL SYSTEMS THAT ARE SUSTAINABLE, FOSTER ENVIRONMENTAL AND HERITAGE STEWARDSHIP AND ENHANCE THE COUNTY’S ECONOMIC VITALITY AND QUALITY OF LIFE.

ROS OBJECTIVE 2.1:  

Provide and manage a system of regional resource-based parks and environmental lands to balance recreational activities and opportunities with environmental and heritage stewardship.

ROS POLICY 2.1.1:  

Establish a level of service (LOS) to meet the park and environmental land needs of the resident population.

ROS STRATEGY 2.1.1.1:  

Maintain a minimum LOS standard of 14.0 acres of parks and environmental lands for every 1,000 residents.

ROS POLICY 2.1.2:  

Develop and implement individual management plans for resource-based parks and environmental lands with a focus on the conservation, protection, restoration, management and interpretation of natural and historic resources.

ROS STRATEGY 2.1.2.1:  

Develop and implement management plans to:

  • Implement best management practices and strategies;
  • Emphasize the commitment to linking open spaces and creating a network of greenways and green spaces;
  • Recognize the importance of protecting the system’s value to wildlife and natural resources;
  • Protect and restore critical wildlife habitat;
  • Protect and restore native vegetative communities;
  • Manage historic tree canopies and emphasize the use of native shrubs and trees in park landscaping (target utilization of 85%);
  • Incorporate public art consistent with the Pinellas County Public Art and Design Master Plan;
  • Promote and require low waste events at County-owned recreational facilities;
  • Incorporate environmental, historical, and archaeological exhibits to foster public education; and
  • Foster environmental and heritage stewardship through the education of adjacent property owners.
ROS STRATEGY 2.1.2.2:  

Resource-based regional park management plans will include:

  • Overall objectives, policies and strategies;
  • The identification of critical resources and strategies for resource protection and management;
  • A suitability assessment method to evaluate compatibility and impact of proposed uses;
  • The allocation of land for conservation/preservation, open space and development;
  • Permitted uses and restrictions within each land use category;
  • Relationships with adjacent or nearby public facilities;
  • The identification of areas for potential expansion;
  • Resource monitoring and mitigation procedures;
  • A determination of the capacity to accommodate daily use and special events; and
  • The identification of desired visitor experiences.
ROS POLICY 2.1.3:  

Implement and enhance an equitable countywide system of greenways, blueways and trails.

ROS STRATEGY 2.1.3.1:  

Develop and maintain a greenways, blueways and trails master plan to:

  • Support the protection, enhancement and restoration of functional and connected natural systems;
  • Contribute to watershed protection;
  • Provide resource-based recreational opportunities;
  • Identify existing and potential components of the greenways, blueways and trails system;
  • Provide for connectivity between established resource-based parks and preserves;
  • Identify opportunities for expansion of greenways, blueways and trails;
  • Provide for connectivity between neighborhoods and workplaces as a mobility alternative to the automobile; and
  • Coordinate with local governments, other agencies and the private sector to develop an integrated system of greenways, blueways and trails.
ROS STRATEGY 2.1.3.2:  

Utilize the Land Development Code to establish procedures and incentives for providing public access to greenways, blueways and trails.

ROS POLICY 2.1.4:  

Maintain and enhance equitable public access to recreational facilities to instill an appreciation of resources, their value and contribution to quality of life.

ROS STRATEGY 2.1.4.1:  

Cooperate with Forward Pinellas, the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) and local governments to enhance multi-modal access to parks and recreational areas.

ROS STRATEGY 2.1.4.2:  

Maintain a countywide wayfinding/directional signage system to identify the location of resource-based parks, cultural facilities and environmental lands.

ROS STRATEGY 2.1.4.3:  

Locate, design and develop park facilities to provide equitable access.

ROS POLICY 2.1.5:  

Seek citizen input regarding the facilities and services to be provided in County parks.

ROS STRATEGY 2.1.5.1:  

The Parks and Conservation Resources Advisory Board will review and make recommendations regarding proposed uses or activities in County parks.

ROS OBJECTIVE 2.2:  

Make facility-based recreation accessible to unincorporated residents to enhance public recreational opportunities.

ROS POLICY 2.2.1:  

Support and encourage the provision of facility-based recreational facilities by public agencies, private enterprise and private developers.

ROS STRATEGY 2.2.1.1:  

Utilize the Land Development Code to provide incentives and requirements for the provision of onsite recreational amenities.

ROS STRATEGY 2.2.1.2:  

Support the assembly of land and assist in the development and improvement of neighborhood recreational facilities.

ROS STRATEGY 2.2.1.3:  

Consistent with the Pinellas School Facilities Interlocal Agreement, coordinate with the Pinellas County School Board regarding the co-location, operation and maintenance of recreation uses.

ROS POLICY 2.2.2:  

Support the equitable development of recreation/community centers to meet social, wellness, fitness and facility-based needs.

ROS STRATEGY 2.2.2.1:  

Recreation/community centers should be designed as multi-purpose facilities that can serve local needs such as meeting space, public health programs, special events, emergency shelters and/or post-disaster comfort stations, and should be designed to provide waste reduction and recycling opportunities.

ROS POLICY 2.2.3:  

Take a lead role in the development of a regional sports complex.

ROS POLICY 2.2.4:  

Facility-based recreation facilities will be compatible with surrounding land uses.

ROS STRATEGY 2.2.4.1:  

Utilize the Land Development Code to ensure that facility-based recreation sites and activities are compatible with surrounding land uses and do not conflict with the protection of critical or significant natural systems.

ROS GOAL 3 (Waters/Waterways):  

STRENGTHEN PUBLIC CONNECTIONS TO WATERS AND WATERWAYS THROUGH THE MAINTENANCE, PROMOTION AND ENVIRONMENTALLY SENSITIVE EXPANSION OF RECREATIONAL ACCESS.

ROS OBJECTIVE 3.1:  

Acquire coastal properties to provide public connections to water and waterways.

ROS POLICY 3.1.1:  

Acquire coastal properties consistent with the goals of the State’s land acquisition program and the Tampa Bay Estuary Program.

ROS STRATEGY 3.1.1.1:  

identify and prioritize coastal properties for acquisition addressing the following concepts:

  • Environmental significance and pristine condition;
  • Consistency with hazard mitigation requirements; and
  • Beach access and management opportunities.
ROS STRATEGY 3.1.1.2:  

Collaborate with coastal governments and agencies to acquire coastal properties.

ROS POLICY 3.1.2:  

Acquire beach access sites that enhance equitable public access.

ROS STRATEGY 3.1.2.1:  

Prioritize public access acquisitions based on need.

ROS STRATEGY 3.1.2.2:  

Seek to obtain perpetual easements for public beach access for privately-owned beach property located landward of the erosion control line in conjunction with beach renourishment.

ROS POLICY 3.1.3:  

Provide for adequate beach access for post-disaster maintenance, clean-up and beach sand replacement.

ROS OBJECTIVE 3.2:  

Maintain, enhance and expand public beach and shoreline access.

ROS POLICY 3.2.1:  

Establish standards to guide the location and improvement of public beach access sites.

ROS STRATEGY 3.2.1.1:  

Collaborate with the coastal municipalities to maintain and enhance primary beach access in accordance with Florida Administrative Code, Chapter 62b-36.

ROS POLICY 3.2.2:  

Coordinate with state and federal agencies regarding beach restoration and inlet management.

ROS STRATEGY 3.2.2.1:  

Coordinate with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to manage beach restoration and inlet management projects.

ROS STRATEGY 3.2.2.2:  

Public monies will be expended for beach renourishment/restoration only where the amount of public access meets the minimum standard by Florida Administrative Code, Chapter 62b-36.

ROS POLICY 3.2.3:  

Maintain and enhance safe pedestrian public beach access.

ROS STRATEGY 3.2.3.1:  

Coordinate with the Forward Pinellas and the Florida Department of

  • Transportation to:
    Evaluate the joint use of off-beach parking facilities and shuttle services;
  • Evaluate the provision of facilities for fishing on new or rebuilt bridges; and
  • Address safe pedestrian movement near beach access points.
ROS STRATEGY 3.2.3.2:  

Collaborate with coastal municipalities to identify and maintain vehicular access to beach access sites.

ROS STRATEGY 3.2.3.3:  

Use consistent beach access signage.

ROS STRATEGY 3.2.3.4:  

Provide bicycle parking facilities at County-maintained beach access sites.

ROS OBJECTIVE 3.3:  

Retain and expand water-dependent/recreation-related land uses.

ROS POLICY 3.3.1:  

Maintain and enhance the operation and efficiency of boat ramp facilities.

ROS POLICY 3.3.2:  

Encourage and support the retention, acquisition and expansion of water dependent/recreation related land uses including marinas, boat ramps and other means of public water and waterway access.

ROS GOAL 4 (Historic Places/Resources):  

PRESERVE PINELLAS COUNTY’S HISTORY THROUGH THE PROTECTION OF ITS SPECIAL PLACES AND RESOURCES.

ROS OBJECTIVE 4.1:  

Identify and document the County’s historic resources and evaluate their significance.

ROS POLICY 4.1.1:  

Use established professional criteria and procedures for the identification and evaluation of historic resources.

ROS POLICY 4.1.2:  

Maintain a countywide inventory of historic structures and archeological sites.

ROS STRATEGY 4.1.2.1:  

Track individual properties as reports and resources surveys are completed.

ROS STRATEGY 4.1.2.2:  

Share information available on all documented properties with municipalities and the Florida Master Site File, as maintained by the Florida Division of Historical Resources.

ROS STRATEGY 4.1.2.3:  

Restrict access to archeological site information consistent with policy established by the Florida Division of Historical Resources.

ROS STRATEGY 4.1.2.4:  

Information shall be kept on buildings and structures constructed before 1977 and information shall be retained in the inventory for buildings and structures that are demolished.

ROS STRATEGY 4.1.2.5:  

Maintain the archaeological predictive model and sensitivity map to identify areas that should be subject to an archeological survey when development is proposed.

ROS POLICY 4.1.3:  

Maintain a countywide register of historically significant properties.

ROS STRATEGY 4.1.3.1:  

Include buildings, structures, objects and sites as historic resource types eligible for consideration.

ROS STRATEGY 4.1.3.2:  

All properties listed on the National Register of Historic Places, or as designated as historically significant by local ordinance, shall be listed on the countywide register with no further action required by the respective jurisdiction or property owner.

ROS OBJECTIVE 4.2:  

Implement the County’s historic preservation program to protect historic resources and to inform the public on the value of those resources to the community.

ROS POLICY 4.2.1:  

The Pinellas County Historic Preservation Board shall advise the Board of County Commissioners on matters of historic preservation activities, policies and programs.

ROS POLICY 4.2.2:  

Implement regulatory standards, guidelines and procedures to preserve significant historic structures and archeological sites and ensure that development is compatible with historic landscapes and streetscapes.

ROS STRATEGY 4.2.2.1:  

Utilize the County Code to provide standards for the identification, protection and preservation of historic resources, including:

  • The identification of historic structures and archeological sites on site plans for (re)development;
  • An assessment of the impact of proposed development on historic structures and archeological sites; and
  • A strategy for mitigating negative impacts on historic structures and archeological sites and resources.
ROS STRATEGY 4.2.2.2:  

Determine the thresholds for when land development proposals require archaeological surveys prior to the issuance of County permits and establish the associated approval process.

ROS POLICY 4.2.3:  

Implement established criteria for historic resource assessments for County utility and transportation projects, in order to mitigate negative impacts on significant historic resources.

ROS POLICY 4.2.4:  

Provide incentives and programs to encourage the protection and restoration of significant historic resources.

ROS STRATEGY 4.2.4.1:  

Offer the historic preservation ad valorem tax exemption for eligible properties.

ROS STRATEGY 4.2.4.2:  

Consider implementation of a locally-funded façade grant program for designated historic structures.

ROS STRATEGY 4.2.4.3:  

Partner with property owners, land trusts and other qualified organizations/agencies to implement and promote historic preservation and archeological easements to protect significant historic resources.

ROS POLICY 4.2.5:  

Protect, preserve, manage, and interpret historic resources held in public trust.

ROS STRATEGY 4.2.5.1:  

Create and maintain a list of significant historic resources owned/managed by the County and identify undocumented historic resources on County-owned properties.

ROS STRATEGY 4.2.5.2:  

Nominate County-owned/managed historic resources deemed eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places and for designation by municipal or County historic preservation ordinances.

ROS STRATEGY 4.2.5.3:  

Provide programming and interpretation for significant historic resources located within the system of regional parks and environmental lands.

ROS STRATEGY 4.2.5.4:  

Maintain and operate interpretive centers that tell the significant stories of Pinellas County.

ROS STRATEGY 4.2.5.5:  

Identify and provide public infrastructure improvements that contribute to the protection and preservation of significant historic resources.

ROS STRATEGY 4.2.5.6:  

Archeological artifacts, objects, or features located on property owned by or held in trust for Pinellas County shall not be relocated, altered, or removed without proper written authorization by the County and shall be professionally documented and curated.

ROS OBJECTIVE 4.3:  

Coordinate with historic preservation programs and initiatives at the local, state and federal level.

ROS POLICY 4.3.1:  

Maintain the designation as a Certified Local Government (CLG) in good standing and encourage municipalities to participate in the CLG program.

ROS POLICY 4.3.2:  

Support citizen-initiated efforts to protect and preserve historic structures and archaeological sites as the County deems appropriate and resources allow.

ROS POLICY 4.3.3:  

Partner with municipalities, historical organizations, museums and libraries in the conservation of significant artifact collections and archival materials and in the telling of stories important to the history of Pinellas County.

ROS STRATEGY 4.3.3.1:  

Maintain repositories for the curation of archaeological, archival and historical collections.

  • The archeological laboratory at Weedon Island Preserve shall be recognized as the repository for artifacts recovered as a result of archeological excavations sponsored by the County.
  • The archives at Heritage Village shall be recognized as the repository for significant documents and objects relating to the history of Pinellas County.
ROS POLICY 4.3.4:  

Consider entering into contractual arrangements with municipalities that request historic preservation planning services.

ROS OBJECTIVE 4.4:  

Increase awareness, appreciation and opportunities for public engagement with the County’s historic resources.

ROS POLICY 4.4.1:  

Provide public education and outreach, support activities, and develop plans to increase awareness and promote the preservation of historic resources.

ROS STRATEGY 4.4.1.1:  

Participate in the Florida Historic Markers Program.

ROS STRATEGY 4.4.1.2:  

Participate in the creation of a publicly-accessible master catalog with museums, libraries and historical organizations.

ROS POLICY 4.4.2:  

Encourage the private sector to provide for the protection and preservation of historic resources and the adaptive reuse of historically significant structures.

ROS POLICY 4.4.3:  

Coordinate a multi-agency cooperative marketing and advertising program.

ROS STRATEGY 4.4.3.1:  

Partner with the Convention and Visitor’s Bureau to promote awareness of historic resources and their contribution to quality of life.

ROS STRATEGY 4.4.3.2:  

Plan and sponsor heritage tourism activities that emphasize interpretation and foster appreciation of historic resources.

ROS GOAL 5 (Cultural Resources/Arts):  

RECOGNIZE THE DIVERSITY OF CULTURAL TRADITIONS AND FOSTER ARTISTIC EXPRESSION IN PINELLAS COUNTY TO ENRICH QUALITY OF LIFE FOR RESIDENTS AND VISITORS.

ROS OBJECTIVE 5.1:  

Support and raise awareness of cultural arts facilities and programs.

ROS POLICY 5.1.1:  

Allow arts and cultural events, programs and exhibits at County buildings, outdoor spaces, and parks.

ROS STRATEGY 5.1.1.1:  

Create a standardized permit application for use at all appropriate County facilities.

ROS STRATEGY 5.1.1.2:  

Certain facilities may be identified whereby such activities are not appropriate for reasons of safety and security.

ROS POLICY 5.1.2:  

Equitably support cultural arts programs and access to these resources across the County.

ROS POLICY 5.1.3:  

Support the designated local arts agency in its mission to develop and promote the county as a vibrant, integrated, collaborative and sustainable arts community and cultural destination.

ROS POLICY 5.1.4:  

Encourage cooperation and coordination among the County’s cultural institutions, facilities, programs and events.

ROS OBJECTIVE 5.2:  

Use art and design in public spaces to enhance sense-of-place.

ROS POLICY 5.2.1:  

Prepare a public art and design master plan for County facilities, and use the plan to:

  • Identify opportunities and locations for public art;
  • Establish priorities for public art; and
  • Establish an implementation/funding strategy and schedule.
ROS STRATEGY 5.2.1.1:  

Integrate public art into County project designs.

ROS POLICY 5.2.2:  

Encourage the integration of public art into development project designs.

ROS STRATEGY 5.2.2.1:  

Consider the use of the Land Development Code to include incentives to integrate public art into project designs.

ROS OBJECTIVE 5.3:  

Consider the development of a cultural arts overlay district concept.

ROS POLICY 5.3.1:  

Partner with municipalities in targeting areas for redevelopment as cultural arts districts.

ROS POLICY 5.3.2:  

Encourage artists, galleries, cooperatives and related venues and support services to locate in targeted areas.

ROS POLICY 5.3.3:  

Advance mixed-use projects that combine affordable live-work space for creative sector workers and their families with non-residential indoor and outdoor spaces for fabrication, sales, display and storage.

ROS POLICY 5.3.4:  

Explore incentives in cultural arts districts to further community and economic development objectives.

ROS GOAL 6 (Best Practices):  

PROMOTE SUSTAINABLE BEST PRACTICES TO ENSURE THAT ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS ARE CONSIDERED IN DECISIONS AND DESIGNS AFFECTING HISTORIC, CULTURAL, RECREATION AND OPEN SPACE PLANNING.

ROS OBJECTIVE 6.1:  

Provide quality recreational opportunities and open spaces that support and facilitate the realization of livable urban communities.

ROS POLICY 6.1.1:  

The design and functionality of regional parks and environmental lands will further the ideal of quality communities, with emphasis on:

  • The value of connectivity;
  • Safe and attractive gathering places;
  • Functional and attractive design; and
  • Scenic vistas and open spaces.
ROS STRATEGY 6.1.1.1:  

Integrate green design strategies into park and environmental land facilities and structures.

ROS POLICY 6.1.2:  

Provide safe, equitable access to recreational and open space assets.

ROS STRATEGY 6.1.2.1:  

Access needs for all members of the community will be considered in the planning for recreational facilities.

ROS STRATEGY 6.1.2.2:  

Implement programs that support bicycle lanes, trails and other alternatives to automobile travel.

ROS POLICY 6.1.3:  

Ensure that programming activities will not compromise the environmental, historical, archaeological and resource-based integrity of regional parks and environmental lands.