Pasco County, Florida: Advisory Services Panel

Pasco County

Date: October 6-11, 2013

Location: Pasco County, FL

Sponsor: Pasco County and the Pasco Economic Development Council

Subject Area:  Economic growth and development, Metropolitan and Regional strategies

Panel Chairs: John L. Knott, Jr. & Charles Long

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Background and Panel Assignment

From 2000 to 2006, Pasco County experienced unprecedented levels of growth, primarily in the residential sector. Since then, growth stagnated, unemployment climbed above state averages, and the property tax base eroded by nearly $9 billion, or 25 percent. In 2008, Pasco County recognized the changing conditions of the economy and the need to increase employment in the county to provide a balanced long-term mix of uses, a healthier tax base, and a more efficient transportation system.

Pasco County and the Pasco Economic Development Council jointly funded an Advisory Services panel from the Urban Land Institute to\ evaluate progress since the 2008 panel visit and to look at what’s next as the county implements the Board of County Commissioners’ strategic plan and economic development plan. They asked the panel to identify the concerns the county faced from the recent period of high growth. In addition, the sponsors sought recommendations that included alternative organizational structures and processes that would make the development process more efficient.

Summary of Recommendations

The panel’s recommendations included the following:

  • Complete the process for plan approval that leads to construction in order to generate a transparent and competitive business cycle
  • Transform the development services branch into one that focuses on long-term strategic decisions just as often as it focuses on short-term decisions
  • Create a new, consolidated, and well-organized development code to serve as a guide for all new development and redevelopment activity in the county
  • Create market areas with their own vision, mission, and strategies and improve organizational structure, codes and standards, decision processes, and customer service
  • Change the allocation in redevelopment to fund land assembly, enact a five-cent gas tax, and raise the room tax with explicit and clear expenditure programs for parks, culture, libraries, and eco-tourism.
  • Focus economic development on the medical sector and workforce development
  • Work to create a Tampa Bay regional metropolitan planning organization to plan and fund transportation
  • Channel development into urban service areas and areas served by transit to increase value, since approved growth far exceeds market demand, including Route 19 and Route 54
  • Create an open space and agriculture preservation trust and use Penny for Pasco funding to acquire development rights to create ecological linkages from the Gulf of Mexico to the Green Swamp, and to foster agricultural uses

 

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