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.
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
PROTECT THE OPEN SPACE VALUE AND PUBLIC PURPOSE OF REGIONAL PARKS, ENVIRONMENTAL LANDS AND OPEN SPACES.
Protect open spaces and scenic vistas for their contributions to quality of life.
Establish incentives and regulations that promote the protection of open spaces and retention of scenic vistas.
Utilize the Land Development Code to provide incentives, criteria, standards and procedures for the retention of recreation and open space acreage.
Prohibit the conversion of dedicated recreation and open space land uses and encourage the retention of non-dedicated recreation and open space land use.
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.
Establish incentives, regulations and programs that promote the retention and reestablishment of scenic vistas.
Coordinate with local governments and other governmental agencies to protect scenic vistas along causeways and bridges.
Protect environmental lands and resource-based regional parks from the impact of incompatible uses.
Proactively pursue the acquisition and management of environmental lands, resource-based park lands and open space.
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.
The Department of Parks and Conservation Resources will evaluate the recreational and/or environmental benefit of acquiring identified properties.
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.
Provide and manage a system of regional resource-based parks and environmental lands to balance recreational activities and opportunities with environmental and heritage stewardship.
Establish a level of service (LOS) to meet the park and environmental land needs of the resident population.
Maintain a minimum LOS standard of 14.0 acres of parks and environmental lands for every 1,000 residents.
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.
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.
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.
Implement and enhance an equitable countywide system of greenways, blueways and trails.
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.
Utilize the Land Development Code to establish procedures and incentives for providing public access to greenways, blueways and trails.
Maintain and enhance equitable public access to recreational facilities to instill an appreciation of resources, their value and contribution to quality of life.
Cooperate with Forward Pinellas, the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) and local governments to enhance multi-modal access to parks and recreational areas.
Maintain a countywide wayfinding/directional signage system to identify the location of resource-based parks, cultural facilities and environmental lands.
Locate, design and develop park facilities to provide equitable access.
Seek citizen input regarding the facilities and services to be provided in County parks.
The Parks and Conservation Resources Advisory Board will review and make recommendations regarding proposed uses or activities in County parks.
Make facility-based recreation accessible to unincorporated residents to enhance public recreational opportunities.
Support and encourage the provision of facility-based recreational facilities by public agencies, private enterprise and private developers.
Utilize the Land Development Code to provide incentives and requirements for the provision of onsite recreational amenities.
Support the assembly of land and assist in the development and improvement of neighborhood recreational facilities.
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.
Support the equitable development of recreation/community centers to meet social, wellness, fitness and facility-based needs.
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.
Take a lead role in the development of a regional sports complex.
Facility-based recreation facilities will be compatible with surrounding land uses.
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.
STRENGTHEN PUBLIC CONNECTIONS TO WATERS AND WATERWAYS THROUGH THE MAINTENANCE, PROMOTION AND ENVIRONMENTALLY SENSITIVE EXPANSION OF RECREATIONAL ACCESS.
Acquire coastal properties to provide public connections to water and waterways.
Acquire coastal properties consistent with the goals of the State’s land acquisition program and the Tampa Bay Estuary Program.
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.
Collaborate with coastal governments and agencies to acquire coastal properties.
Acquire beach access sites that enhance equitable public access.
Prioritize public access acquisitions based on need.
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.
Provide for adequate beach access for post-disaster maintenance, clean-up and beach sand replacement.
Maintain, enhance and expand public beach and shoreline access.
Establish standards to guide the location and improvement of public beach access sites.
Collaborate with the coastal municipalities to maintain and enhance primary beach access in accordance with Florida Administrative Code, Chapter 62b-36.
Coordinate with state and federal agencies regarding beach restoration and inlet management.
Coordinate with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to manage beach restoration and inlet management projects.
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.
Maintain and enhance safe pedestrian public beach access.
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.
Collaborate with coastal municipalities to identify and maintain vehicular access to beach access sites.
Use consistent beach access signage.
Provide bicycle parking facilities at County-maintained beach access sites.
Retain and expand water-dependent/recreation-related land uses.
Maintain and enhance the operation and efficiency of boat ramp facilities.
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.
PRESERVE PINELLAS COUNTY’S HISTORY THROUGH THE PROTECTION OF ITS SPECIAL PLACES AND RESOURCES.
Identify and document the County’s historic resources and evaluate their significance.
Use established professional criteria and procedures for the identification and evaluation of historic resources.
Maintain a countywide inventory of historic structures and archeological sites.
Track individual properties as reports and resources surveys are completed.
Share information available on all documented properties with municipalities and the Florida Master Site File, as maintained by the Florida Division of Historical Resources.
Restrict access to archeological site information consistent with policy established by the Florida Division of Historical Resources.
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.
Maintain the archaeological predictive model and sensitivity map to identify areas that should be subject to an archeological survey when development is proposed.
Maintain a countywide register of historically significant properties.
Include buildings, structures, objects and sites as historic resource types eligible for consideration.
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.
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.
The Pinellas County Historic Preservation Board shall advise the Board of County Commissioners on matters of historic preservation activities, policies and programs.
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.
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.
Determine the thresholds for when land development proposals require archaeological surveys prior to the issuance of County permits and establish the associated approval process.
Implement established criteria for historic resource assessments for County utility and transportation projects, in order to mitigate negative impacts on significant historic resources.
Provide incentives and programs to encourage the protection and restoration of significant historic resources.
Offer the historic preservation ad valorem tax exemption for eligible properties.
Consider implementation of a locally-funded façade grant program for designated historic structures.
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.
Protect, preserve, manage, and interpret historic resources held in public trust.
Create and maintain a list of significant historic resources owned/managed by the County and identify undocumented historic resources on County-owned properties.
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.
Provide programming and interpretation for significant historic resources located within the system of regional parks and environmental lands.
Maintain and operate interpretive centers that tell the significant stories of Pinellas County.
Identify and provide public infrastructure improvements that contribute to the protection and preservation of significant historic resources.
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.
Coordinate with historic preservation programs and initiatives at the local, state and federal level.
Maintain the designation as a Certified Local Government (CLG) in good standing and encourage municipalities to participate in the CLG program.
Support citizen-initiated efforts to protect and preserve historic structures and archaeological sites as the County deems appropriate and resources allow.
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.
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.
Consider entering into contractual arrangements with municipalities that request historic preservation planning services.
Increase awareness, appreciation and opportunities for public engagement with the County’s historic resources.
Provide public education and outreach, support activities, and develop plans to increase awareness and promote the preservation of historic resources.
Participate in the Florida Historic Markers Program.
Participate in the creation of a publicly-accessible master catalog with museums, libraries and historical organizations.
Encourage the private sector to provide for the protection and preservation of historic resources and the adaptive reuse of historically significant structures.
Coordinate a multi-agency cooperative marketing and advertising program.
Partner with the Convention and Visitor’s Bureau to promote awareness of historic resources and their contribution to quality of life.
Plan and sponsor heritage tourism activities that emphasize interpretation and foster appreciation of historic resources.
RECOGNIZE THE DIVERSITY OF CULTURAL TRADITIONS AND FOSTER ARTISTIC EXPRESSION IN PINELLAS COUNTY TO ENRICH QUALITY OF LIFE FOR RESIDENTS AND VISITORS.
Support and raise awareness of cultural arts facilities and programs.
Allow arts and cultural events, programs and exhibits at County buildings, outdoor spaces, and parks.
Create a standardized permit application for use at all appropriate County facilities.
Certain facilities may be identified whereby such activities are not appropriate for reasons of safety and security.
Equitably support cultural arts programs and access to these resources across the County.
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.
Encourage cooperation and coordination among the County’s cultural institutions, facilities, programs and events.
Use art and design in public spaces to enhance sense-of-place.
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.
Integrate public art into County project designs.
Encourage the integration of public art into development project designs.
Consider the use of the Land Development Code to include incentives to integrate public art into project designs.
Consider the development of a cultural arts overlay district concept.
Partner with municipalities in targeting areas for redevelopment as cultural arts districts.
Encourage artists, galleries, cooperatives and related venues and support services to locate in targeted areas.
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.
Explore incentives in cultural arts districts to further community and economic development objectives.
PROMOTE SUSTAINABLE BEST PRACTICES TO ENSURE THAT ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS ARE CONSIDERED IN DECISIONS AND DESIGNS AFFECTING HISTORIC, CULTURAL, RECREATION AND OPEN SPACE PLANNING.
Provide quality recreational opportunities and open spaces that support and facilitate the realization of livable urban communities.
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.
Integrate green design strategies into park and environmental land facilities and structures.
Provide safe, equitable access to recreational and open space assets.
Access needs for all members of the community will be considered in the planning for recreational facilities.
Implement programs that support bicycle lanes, trails and other alternatives to automobile travel.
Ensure that programming activities will not compromise the environmental, historical, archaeological and resource-based integrity of regional parks and environmental lands.