The Countywide Plan for Pinellas County guides land use planning among the 25 local governments of Pinellas County. Closely coordinated with Advantage Pinellas, the long range transportation plan for 2045, the Countywide Plan directs higher-density redevelopment into a network of transit-oriented centers and corridors, while preserving and enhancing the suburban character of established neighborhoods. It also protects land needed to support employment, helping to keep high-wage jobs in our community, and limits growth in areas vulnerable to coastal flooding.
Designs that Inspire Us
Map Amendments & Consistency
Map Amendment Process
Local future land use map amendments must be submitted for countywide review, and may require public hearings by Forward Pinellas and the Board of County Commissioners in its role as the Countywide Planning Authority. The amendment process is detailed in our Guide to Countywide Plan Map Amendments.
All Countywide Plan Map amendment requests must include a completed Countywide Plan Map Amendment Application form. Submittal deadlines and meeting dates are set forth in the Forward Pinellas Meeting Calendar.
Please contact us if you have any questions or need assistance with the application process.
Consistency Review Process
Local comprehensive plans and land development regulations are required to be consistent with the future land use categories and standards set forth in the Countywide Rules. Before a local government makes a text amendment to its comprehensive plan or land development code that addresses a topic covered in the Rules, it will need to be submitted to Forward Pinellas for a staff review and consistency determination.
Certain text amendments to regulations governing the Activity Center, Multimodal Corridor, or Planned Redevelopment District categories are treated as map amendments rather than consistency reviews. See the Guide to Countywide Plan Map Amendments for more information.
Countywide Plan FAQs
What is the Countywide Plan?
The Countywide Plan is a document created with input from the 25 local governments (cities, towns, and the unincorporated County) within Pinellas County. It establishes general rules for land use, and includes a Countywide Plan Map designating where certain types of development can occur within the county. 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 maps” because they regulate what can be built on land in the future.
Where can I find the Countywide Plan?
There are three separate parts to the Countywide Plan, which can be found on our website:
- The Countywide Plan Strategies provide the policy basis for the plan
- The Countywide Rules contain the standards for each land use category
- The Countywide Plan Map shows the land use category for each parcel of land
Why do we need a Countywide Plan?
While Pinellas County has many different local governments, in many ways, we function as a single metropolitan area, with thousands of residents, visitors, tourists, shoppers, and commuters passing back and forth across community borders every day. We share the same major roads, the same economy, and the same environment; and decisions made in one community can have a profound effect on others. The Countywide Plan provides a means for local governments to cooperate on land use issues that affect us all.
What land use standards does the Countywide Plan include?
The Countywide Plan has 18 land use categories that govern the type of development allowed, such as residential or commercial; the maximum residential density, which determines the number of houses, apartments or condominium units that can be built on a parcel of land; and the maximum intensity, which determines how large of a building can be built on a parcel. There are also additional standards that apply to topics of countywide concern, such as limiting development in areas at the highest risk from major storms, preserving land needed to attract high-wage employers, creating affordable housing, and creating development that can support an improved transit system.
Aren’t land use decisions up to my local government?
The Countywide Plan doesn’t tell local governments how their communities should look or exactly how they should be developed, but does provide standards 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. Local plans can always be more restrictive than the Countywide Plan.
Why does the Countywide Plan Map have different land use categories from my local government’s future land use map?
Because local governments can be more restrictive than the Countywide Plan, they may have different names for their land use categories, allow less density or intensity, or allow fewer land uses on a parcel of land. If you have a question about what can be built on a parcel of land, please contact your local government.
How does the Countywide Plan work?
The Countywide Plan works with local government land use planning in two major ways: When a local government updates their land use policies and regulations, they are submitted to Forward Pinellas for review to make sure they’re consistent with the Countywide Plan. And when a local government makes a major change to their future land use map, such as amending the category of a parcel from residential to commercial, or significantly increasing residential density on a parcel, then corresponding amendments to the Countywide Plan Map must be approved at countywide public hearings.
Who approves changes to the Countywide Plan Map?
Countywide Plan Map amendments require two countywide public hearings. The first is held by the Forward Pinellas Board, which makes a recommendation for approval or denial. The second is held by the Board of County Commissioners, in their role as the Countywide Planning Authority (CPA), which makes the final decision. In order to overturn a Forward Pinellas recommendation, a supermajority vote of the CPA is required.