The Gateway/Mid-County Planning area is 30-square miles and is centrally located within Pinellas County and the Tampa Bay region. Far from the white sand beaches and tourism related industries that Pinellas County is known for, the Gateway supports a wide range of job sectors including manufacturers in aviation/aerospace, defense/national security, medical technologies, business and financial services, and information technology. With many employers, including multiple Fortune 500 Companies, the area has more than 114,000 jobs. Yet with all its locational advantages, the Gateway suffers from disconnected, car-centric development patterns that lack identity and make connections difficult.

Vision & Goals

The Gateway Master Plan provides a vision and an action-oriented redevelopment strategy to guide the area’s growth towards a more socially, environmentally, and economically sustainable future where multi-modal transit is well integrated with land uses to support resident’s quality of life, retain jobs and attract future investment. The master plan for the Gateway area focuses on building partnerships to guide future development and multimodal connectivity, both regionally and throughout the district.

The Gateway Master Plan was a collaborative effort led by Forward Pinellas, the countywide land use and transportation planning agency, along with funding partners Pinellas County, the City of St. Petersburg, the City of Largo, the City of Pinellas Park, and FDOT. The agencies participated in the planning process through the Study Management Team and now the Gateway Partnership, meeting regularly to provide direction and coordination for the project activities.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Master Plan and why is it important?

A Master Plan is a comprehensive, action-oriented plan for an area that addresses land use, mobility, urban design, environment, infrastructure, housing, economy, tourism, community health, and resiliency. When adopted, the Master Plan becomes the community’s framework for development and other improvements in the area (e.g., preservation of open space or changes to existing regulations).

What are the Goals of the Master Plan?

The Gateway Master Plan provides a vision and an action-oriented redevelopment strategy to guide the area’s growth towards a more socially, environmentally, and economically sustainable future where multi-modal transit is well integrated with land uses to support resident’s quality of life, retain jobs and attract future investment. The master plan for the Gateway area focuses on building partnerships to guide future development and multimodal connectivity, both regionally and throughout the district.

What are the roles of the agencies participating in the master planning process?

The Gateway Master Plan was a collaborative effort led by Forward Pinellas, the countywide land use and transportation planning agency, along with funding partners Pinellas County, the City of St. Petersburg, the City of Largo, the City of Pinellas Park, and FDOT. The agencies participated in the planning process through the Study Management Team and now the Gateway Partnership, meeting regularly to provide direction and coordination for the project activities.

What was the role of the public in the development of the Gateway Master Plan?

The public was an integral part of developing the Master Plan. The planning process was guided by public engagement activities that include open house sessions, stakeholder interviews, charrettes, community briefings, roundtable discussions, and online surveys. All presentations and summary of community events are posted on the project website.

How was this Master Plan process funded?

The Master Plan was a priority for the region and was jointly funded by Forward Pinellas, Pinellas County, St. Petersburg, Pinellas Park, and Largo.

How did the already planned and funded FDOT projects (Gateway Intermodal study) fit into the Master Plan Process?

The Gateway Area was included in the FDOT study as one of five areas to be studied. This planning process was closely coordinated with the Gateway Intermodal Center Study through joint public engagement activities, review of interim findings, and draft recommendations.

How does the plan take into account previous plans and other agency projects currently under way or under development?

One of the early steps in the planning process was to review and create a concise summary of all existing plans and policies within the Gateway area. The review included the relevant plans and policies in place from St. Petersburg, Pinellas Park, Largo, Pinellas County, Forward Pinellas, FDOT, and the Regional Planning Council. The recommendations from these plans were used to inform public meetings and stakeholder discussions. Planning for the Gateway Area was coordinated and informed with these parallel efforts.

What specific elements will be included in the master plan?

  • Land Use
  • Multi modal access and connections (transit, streets, bike and pedestrian, parking)
  • Resiliency
  • Utilities and Public Facilities
  • Environment
  • Capital Projects and Financing

The plan includes frameworks for development that ultimately organize the study area and sub-areas into a cohesive development strategy including:

What does intermodal mean?

Intermodal refers to multiple modes of transportation working together (e.g., air, cargo, water, rail, bus, bicycle). FDOT is studying the location of regional intermodal centers in the Tampa Bay area, including in the Gateway area. That study is looking at the Gateway area to identify a hub location where all types of transportation modes and technology can converge.

How was the Master Plan approved, and by whom?

A critical part of the Gateway/Mid-County Area Master Plan was the extent to which the plan was endorsed or adopted as a policy by the Study Partners and key stakeholders. A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was drafted for signature by a representative of the Study Partners (local governments and Forward Pinellas) and was signed by the Partners in October 2020 and by the Forward Pinellas Board in November 2020. The MOU commits the local governments and Forward Pinellas to working in partnership to fulfill the goals and guiding principles of the Master Plan rather than any single specific action.

What is the timeline for development and adoption of the Master Plan?

The Master Plan was developed over a 2.5-year timeframe. The process kicked off in March 2018 and was completed in September 2020.

What is a regulatory tool?

Local governments in Florida are required to adopt land development regulations that are consistent with the comprehensive plan. Regulatory tools include a community’s zoning and development ordinances, subdivision regulations, design standards, public facility requirements, community redevelopment areas (CRAs), and other special districts.

How will this plan be implemented?

The Master Plan includes a detailed plan for phasing and implementation of the plan, addressing changes to policy, regulatory, and educational activities. The implementation section clearly defines roles and responsibilities for each of the study partners, as well as key stakeholders in the public or private sector, in implementing the plan. In addition, the final plan outlines a multi-year implementation process by which Forward Pinellas and Study Partners agree to report on their actions taken to advance the Master Plan, and document how the performance indicators identified as measures of effectiveness are being achieved on a year to year basis.

How will projects included in the master plan be funded?

Projects will be funded through a variety of means, including local, regional, state, and federal funds. In addition, the implementation plan addresses ways to tap into potential funding sources and opportunities for public-private partnerships that can leverage the use of federal, state or local funds.