Frequently asked questions about the Pinellas Planning Council (PPC):
- What is the PPC?
- Why is the PPC needed?
- Who are the PPC representatives, and who chooses them?
- Is the PPC responsible for all countywide planning?
- Does the PPC make all the land use decisions for my community?
- What is the Countywide Plan?
- What are the Countywide Rules?
- What are the procedures for PPC public hearings?
- Where can I get more information about PPC activities?
Frequently asked questions about Pinellas County:
- How many people live in Pinellas County?
- Why are there so many local governments?
- Who is my local government?
- I have a question about planning in my community. Who should I call?
Questions about the
Pinellas Planning Council (PPC)
What is the PPC?
The PPC provides a forum for representatives of Pinellas County’s 24 cities and towns, the unincorporated county, and the Pinellas County School Board to address countywide land use issues. The thirteen members (some representing groups of communities) provide policy advice and recommendations to the Board of County Commissioners, who are authorized by the county charter to act as the Countywide Planning Authority (CPA).
Although the PPC has existed in some form since 1965, it was reconstituted in its current form in 1988 by a special act of the State Legislature (Chapter 88-464, Laws of Florida), and approved by countywide referendum as an amendment to the Pinellas County Charter.
The PPC representatives are assisted by a professional staff, composed of the Executive Director and support personnel, which conducts research, provides technical assistance to smaller communities, and administers the Countywide Plan and Countywide Rules. PPC projects are also reviewed by the Planners Advisory Committee (PAC), a panel comprised of local government planning directors.
Why is the PPC needed?
Pinellas County is made up of many different local governments -- 24 cities and towns, plus the unincorporated county. In many ways, these communities function independently from one another. Each has its own elected council or commission, passes its own laws, and is responsible for the well-being of its own citizens.
In many other ways, however, these communities are connected. They share a single school board, the same major roads, and a handful of water and sewer systems. They face similar problems, from code enforcement to hurricane evacuation. And they are connected economically, as thousands of residents, visitors, tourists, shoppers, and commuters pass back and forth across community borders every day. Because decisions made in one community can have a profound effect on others, the PPC provides a forum for local governments to cooperate on issues that affect more than one jurisdiction, and to work out any disputes that may arise. It also strives to bring consistency to the planning and regulatory efforts of the 25 local governments.
Who are the PPC representatives, and who chooses them?
Each of the thirteen PPC representatives is an elected official from a local government or the Pinellas County School Board. One is a County Commissioner, one is a School Board Member, and eight are officials (mayors, commissioners, or councilmembers) from larger municipalities. The remaining three are officials from smaller municipalities, each representing a group of communities in addition to his or her own.
Local governments appoint their own representatives, based on the interest and experience of available candidates. For the smaller communities represented in groups, the local governments take turns providing representatives, subject to the approval of the other group members and appointment by the Board of County Commissioners.
Is the PPC responsible for all countywide planning?
The PPC is primarily responsible for land use planning, which governs such issues as where development may go and how intensely it may be used; and intergovernmental coordination, or cooperative planning between otherwise independent local governments. Many other issues, such as transportation, economic development, and schools, overlap these categories and are also addressed by the PPC.
Responsibility for countywide planning is shared by many agencies and levels of government (see our guide at the bottom of this page). However, because virtually all areas of planning are interrelated, the PPC strives to work cooperatively with others and provide a forum to discuss common issues.
Does the PPC make all the land use decisions for my community?
Most land use decisions, covering topics such as building permits and code enforcement, are made by local governments. PPC staff sometimes provide planning assistance to smaller communities, but only by request, and the local government remains the decision-making authority.
However, when making these decisions, all communities must follow the guidelines contained in the Countywide Plan and Countywide Rules. Any local government decisions that would require a change or exception to these guidelines must be reviewed by the PPC and CPA for approval.
What is the Countywide Plan?
The Countywide Plan is a document created with input from the 25 local governments and the Pinellas County School Board. It establishes general rules about land use, and contains a map designating where certain types of development can occur within the county. The purpose of the plan is to help communities maintain quality of life; it keeps factories out of residential neighborhoods, sets aside places where schools and churches can be built, and protects wetlands from being developed. Local governments are required to maintain land use plans and maps that are consistent with the Countywide Plan. These are also called future land use plans and future land use maps because they regulate what can be built on land in the future.
More detailed information about this document is available on the Countywide Plan information page.
What are the Countywide Rules?
The Countywide Rules are contained in another document, also created with input from the 24 municipalities, the unincorporated county, and the Pinellas County School Board. They establish more specific standards for land use, such as the maximum number of homes or apartments that can be built on a residential parcel, or how much of a commercial lot can be covered with pavement. The Countywide Rules do not tell local governments how their communities should look or exactly how they should be developed, but they do provide guidelines that may not be exceeded. This process ensures that consistent development standards are maintained throughout the county, while allowing local community character to be preserved.
An online, searchable version of this document is available on the Countywide Rules information page.
What are the procedures for PPC public hearings?
The PPC meets on the third Wednesday of each month at 1:00 p.m., in the Board of County Commissioners Chambers of the Pinellas County Courthouse (315 Court Street, 5th Floor) in downtown Clearwater. Meetings are open to the public. They are also televised live on Pinellas County Connection TV (PCC-TV) on Bright House, Knology, and Verizon cable systems, and rebroadcast the following Friday at midnight.
A schedule of upcoming meetings for the PAC, PPC, and CPA are posted online, along with the most current agendas, on our Agendas & Meetings page. New agendas are posted as they become available, usually at least two to three days before each meeting.
If you plan to attend, please be aware of the Public Hearing Procedures established by PPC Resolution No. 96-2, which govern public comments as well as other aspects of the public hearing process.
Where can I get more information about PPC activities?
The following documents contain more detailed information about PPC activities. They are in .pdf format, and require the free program Adobe Acrobat Reader to view or download.
- PPC Annual Report, 2012
- PPC Annual Work Program 2012-13 and Five-Year Work Program, 2013-17
- PPC Strategic Plan, 2005
- A Special Act Establishing the Pinellas Planning Council and Countywide Planning Authority for Pinellas County, Florida (Chapter 88-464, Laws of Florida)
Questions about Pinellas County
How many people live in Pinellas County?
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the permanent population of the county in the year 2010 was 916,542.
For a breakdown by local government, and to see how the population has changed in the last twenty years, see the 1990-2010 Census Population Comparison page.
Why are there so many local governments?
When it was first established as a county in 1912, Pinellas County consisted mainly of citrus orchards, which used the local railroad to ship fruit to the rest of the nation. The county’s few residents lived in small, isolated towns along the tracks. Following World War II, when northern retirees began to flock to the area, the towns expanded and began to grow together. While some residents consolidated their towns into larger cities, others viewed themselves as distinct communities, and chose to keep their own governments.
As we begin the 21st century, Pinellas County has grown into a single, continuous metropolitan area with 25 different local governments. This arrangement is valued by many residents, who believe it allows their communities to retain small-town character within an urban setting.
For a more detailed account of the county’s development, see the About Pinellas page on the Board of County Commissioners’ web site.
Who is my local government?
For many residents, this is an entirely valid question. The boundaries between local governments in Pinellas County are jagged and confusing, and many cities and towns surround enclaves, small pockets of land that are technically part of the unincorporated county. Mailing addresses, based on ZIP codes rather than governmental boundaries, add to the confusion: most residents of unincorporated areas are assigned to the nearest city or town, and some recently-annexed areas have addresses listing a different municipality than the one in which they now reside.
How can you determine what jurisdiction you live in? If you know the general location of your residence within the county, you can consult the Municipal Boundaries Map on this web site. If this map does not provide enough detail, contact the city or town nearest to you and ask if your address falls within their boundaries. You can also contact the Pinellas County Property Appraiser’s Office with the same question.
I have a question about planning in my community. Who should I call?
Each local government makes different arrangements for providing public services. It is possible, for example, to live in the unincorporated county, receive fire service from one neighboring city, sewer service from another, solid waste pickup from a private provider, and water from the County. Because of this complicated system, there is no master list of phone numbers to call for specific topics. However, this is a general guide that may help you find information more quickly.
Phone numbers and mailing addresses for local governments, along with links to web sites for those that have them, are available on our Local Government Information page.
|Topic||Who to Call|
General community planning is the responsibility of local governments. If you live in a city or town, call there for information. If you live in the unincorporated county, contact the Pinellas County Planning Department at (727) 464-8200.
|Arts & Culture||
Cultural facilities and programs are administered by a variety of nonprofit, municipal and county agencies. The Pinellas County Arts Council, at (727) 453-7860, serves as a resource for cultural development countywide. For additional information, contact your local government.
|Building Permits and Inspections||
These services are the responsibility of local governments, but some contract with Pinellas County to perform them. If you live in a city or town, call there for information first. If you live in the unincorporated county, or you know that the county handles permitting and inspections for your community, contact the Pinellas County Building Department at (727) 464-3176.
|Coastal Construction Control Line (CCCL)||
The CCCL, which regulates how coastal property may be developed, is designated by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection at (850) 488-1554.
Code enforcement is adminstered by your local government. If you live in a city or town, call there for information. If you live in the unincorporated county, contact County Information at (727) 464-3000. You will be routed to the correct department (Building, Highway, or Environmental Management) for the information you need.
For your convenience, all of the local governments have published their land development codes online through services such as Muncipal Code Corporation and LexisNexus. You can access these codes from our Local Government Information page.
Countywide economic development is adminstered by the Pinellas County Economic Development Department at (888) 759-5627. Tourism promotion is administered through another county agency, the St. Petersburg/Clearwater Convention and Visitors Bureau at (727) 464-7200.
Some municipalities have their own economic development programs; contact your city or town for information. The area also has many private-sector Chambers of Commerce working to attract and promote local businesses.
Depending on the arrangements made by your community, fire services may be provided by your municipal fire department, another city or town, or an independent fire district. The county does not have its own fire department, but contracts with other districts for that service. Call your local government for information.
Ambulance services throughout the county are coordinated by Pinellas County Emergency Medical Services at (727) 582-2000.
Countywide planning for hurricanes and other large-scale disasters is provided by the Pinellas County Emergency Management Department at (727) 464-3800, and the Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council at (727) 570-5151.
Or, for any immediate emergency, dial 911.
Affordable housing assistance for much of the county is adminstered by Pinellas County Community Development & Housing Finance Authority at (727) 464-8210. The cities of St. Petersburg, Clearwater, and Largo maintain their own affordable housing programs; contact their local governments for information.
|Landscaping & Beautification||
Landscaping and beautification projects are commonly associated with road improvements, and depend on who has jurisdiction over the roadway. Many such projects are administered by the Florida Department of Transportation, District 7 at (813) 975-6060, or the Pinellas County Highway Department at (727) 464-8900. However, many other landscaping and beautification projects are administered by municipalities; contact your city or town for information.
Public libraries are owned individually by municipalities and non-profit organizations, but are centrally administered through the Pinellas Public Library Cooperative at (727) 441-8408.
|Parks & Recreation||
County parks, including the Pinellas Trail, are administered by the Pinellas County Parks & Recreation Department at (727) 464-3347. Many other parks and recreational facilities are provided by municipalities; contact your city or town for information.
|Population & Other Statistics||
Statistics on population, employment, housing, and other county trends are published each year by the Pinellas County Planning Department at (727) 464-4751. Some cities and towns also maintain these data for their own jurisdictions.
Regional statistics for the Tampa Bay area are published periodically by the Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council at (727) 570-5151.
Official statistics for the State of Florida are published annually by the University of Florida’s Bureau of Economic and Business Research (BEBR) at (352) 392-0171.
All public schools in the county are administered through the Pinellas County School District at (727) 586-1818.
Planning and administration of countywide transportation systems, including roadways, mass transit, and pedestrian/bike paths such as the Pinellas Trail, are the responsibility of the Pinellas County Metropolitan Planning Organization at (727) 464-4751. However, some highways are under the jurisdiction of the Florida Department of Transportation, District 7 at (813) 975-6060.
Bus service is provided by the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority. The InfoLine phone number for bus route information is (727) 540-1900, and the main phone number is (727) 540-1800.
Repair and maintenance of local neighborhood streets is the responsibility of local governments. If you live in a city or town, call there for information. If you live in the unincorporated area, contact the Pinellas County Highway Department at (727) 464-8900.
|Water and Sewer||
Depending on the arrangements made by your community, these services may be adminstered by your local government, another city or town, the county, a private contractor, or some combination thereof. If you live in a city or town, call there for information. If you live in the unincorporated county, contact Pinellas County Utilities at (727) 464-3438.
This service is adminstered by your local government. If you live in a city or town, call there for information. If you live in the unincorporated county, contact Pinellas County Development Review Services at (727) 464-3888.