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eNews Issue 2011.4

from Robert B. Hunter, FAICP

                                           Executive Director

Planning Works! 

Robert B. Hunter, FAICP

Some interesting trends can be gleaned from the recently published 2010 Census data.  Hillsborough County grew by a staggering 23 percent to almost 1.3 million persons.   It would have been higher had the economy not slowed down.  The exciting news is that the growth happened according to the plans.  


Ninety percent of the County's population growth occurred within the Urban Service Area (USA) boundary.  The USA was delineated in 1993 at a time when massive population and housing growth had been left uncontrolled.  The USA, by policy, brings growth into geographic areas where urban services such as water, sewer, and transportation are available or planned over the next 20 years.  This concept has helped local governments prioritize limited funding choices to maximize infrastructure needs while accommodating current and future residents.


front doorClearly the Urban Service Area concept is working.  Nonetheless, maintaining a variety of residential lifestyle options is important to County residents.  The Planning Commission's 2009 Quality of Life Survey showed respondents overwhelmingly (86%) believe "it is important for a community to have a choice of living styles" such as rural, suburban, and urban. 


The 2010 Census showed the trend has been moving further out where homes were bigger and cheaper, even though commuting costs were higher.  But that trend has ended.  Residents now are demanding more than a big backyard.  They want a sense of community, a feeling of belonging.  In other words, they want to be part of a neighborhood, where walking the dog and running into neighbors is the norm - where the grocery store, the dry cleaner, restaurants and other services are not only convenient but become places to get together with fellow residents.  Nurturing these types of communities, while keeping residential options, is crucial for continued sustainable growth.  The Comprehensive Plans for Hillsborough County, Tampa, Temple Terrace, and Plant City are the blueprints to develop these neighborhoods and communities, while managing growth and maintaining residential choices.


The suburban lifestyle provides a community with nearby amenities.  Riverview, an area in southern Hillsborough County, experienced the most growth since 2000.  Recent newspaper articles provided insight from some of the residents of that area.  Residents said their neighborhood is peaceful and clean and they felt a strong sense of community.  A similar sentiment was heard from citizens of Lakewood Ranch, a suburban development just south of Hillsborough County.  Residents feel safe and part of a community.  There is a monthly Main Street event that brings out thousands of people.  Lakewood Ranch is self-contained, clustered, and has mixed uses which attract residents wanting nearby amenities.  Located within the development are a medical center, fire stations, and more commercial development than some downtowns.  The only thing lacking is a variety of employment opportunities - you find that in our urban areas.


Traditionally appealing to the younger generation, the urban lifestyle across the country is increasing.  Our local urban opportunities are emerging and appear to be strong and sustainable - close to jobs and activities and providing a sense of place.  Higher gas prices may rapidly shift even more growth back into the urban core with its reduced commute distance.  Residential development in downtown Tampa over the past decade has attracted families and workers wanting convenience, as evidenced by a Channelside high rise condominium in downtown Tampa being nearly sold out and other residential buildings seeing more signs of life.


We can't forget those who prefer open space and distant neighbors.  They are attracted to the northwestern and eastern, rural parts of Hillsborough County.  Population in the rural areas accounted for 10 percent of the County's growth over the decade, as was identified in the development of the rural/urban service areas.  If we don't preserve areas for rural lifestyles, we will forsake future growth and lifestyle choice.  Pinellas County lost population over the decade.  It is essentially built-out, meaning there are no major rural options left.  


Providing choices for our current and future residents, fostering communities, and maintaining the Urban Service Area boundary are the keys to attracting meaningful growth, efficiently using our limited resources, and providing quality of life for all citizens of Hillsborough County.   As we approach the future with less private and public income, growth and economic development decisions based on well-founded, fully costed data used to maximize services is paramount.


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In This Issue
Planning Works
Imagine 2035 Public Workshop
Teleworking Works
What's Going On


4/2  8:00 am Hillsborough County

                    Neighborhoods Conference


4/7  2:00 pm   EAR Scoping Meeting

       5:00 pm   EAR Public Meeting


4/12 6:15 pm  Keystone-Odessa

                      Community Plan Update

                      Advisory Committee


4/18 2:00 pm  Planning Commission

                     (rescheduled from 4/11)


4/21 6:15 pm

Planning Commission 29th Annual Community Design Awards  


For more information on meetings and events, please visit our website:




Imagine 2035


little girl in a sundress watering flowers

Have a vision for how you'd like to see Hillsborough County grow?


We want to hear from you!


Please join us for an interactive workshop


 Thursday, April 7th

5pm - 7pm


County Center Building

601 E Kennedy Boulevard

26th Floor

Downtown Tampa


For more information, please contact

Allison Yeh at 813/272-5940 or email yeha@plancom.org.



Teleworking Works 

Teleworking is a business tool which benefits employers and employees by maximizing the bottom line while at the same time adapting to the increasingly complex lifestyles and needs of workers.  46% of households in Hillsborough County have children (American Communityman on couch working on laptop & drinking coffee Survey, 2010).  Teleworking can decrease personal leave taken during work hours, reduce stress, and provide distraction free blocks of time to concentrate on complex tasks.  This flexibility increases overall productivity and improves employee morale, increasing employee retention.  For the Planning Commission, retaining skilled planners with specific experience with land use, transportation, community planning, and environmental planning, can decrease the significant cost associated with hiring and training new employees.


Energy savings and independence is something that is a concern for everyone.   According to the 2010 American Community Survey, 80% of workers in Hillsborough County drive alone to work.  Teleworkers can reduce the amount of time they spend idling their vehicles in rush hour traffic or eliminating altogether several commute trips every week.  This not only translates into a personal savings for workers at the gas pump, but also helps improves our community's health by lowering the carbon dioxide and nitrogen oxide emissions into the air which cause a host of respiratory problems.


Recognizing the need to find new solutions to save dollars, promote energy savings, and meet employee needs, the Planning Commission is implementing a teleworking program modeled after the Telework Tampa Bay program.  Teleworking has been successfully implemented in organizations and companies in the Tampa Bay area including, the Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council, the Center for Urban Transportation Research, and MetLife.


In accordance with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and other nondiscrimination laws, public participation is solicited without regard to race, color, national origin, age, sex, religion, disability or family status.