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from  Bob Hunter, FAICP, Executive Director 

   eNews Issue 2011.38       

 Planning to Reach Our Economic Potential 

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Planning for Economic Prosperity continues to be the focus of our region today and as we look forward and imagine 2035The Planning Commission has made it our top priority to assess and develop strategies to promote and support economic prosperity through good planning.  Taking a countywide approach, we have recently completed three interrelated studies to build an economic development strategy in the Comprehensive Plan that complements various public and private efforts with the common goal of aggressive economic growth.     


The first of three studies is an Economic Potential Evaluation of the Future of Hillsborough County Comprehensive Plan.  Conducted by consultants with extensive expertise in both comprehensive planning and economic development, the study identified more than 300 policies relating to economic development.  Since our current plans were developed during better economic times and are growth management driven, there are many opportunities to streamline the Plan and boost our economic development competitiveness. 


Another component of this study was a review of the Tampa, Temple Terrace and Plant City Comprehensive Plans to identify areas for increased inter-jurisdictional coordination.  Other reports rounding out this impartial analysis include:


  • Economic Development Case Studies: 
    • Austin/ Travis County - Texas
    • Charlotte/ Mecklenburg County - North Carolina
    • Jacksonville/ Duval County - Florida
  • Market Sensitivity/ Flexibility Policy Strategy Recommendations

So what did this economic potential evaluation tell us?  First and foremost, we need to embrace our quality of life as key to a thriving region.  As we look to streamline and remove impediments to economic activity, we need to protect and enhance the attributes that make Hillsborough County a desirable place to live, work and play.  We offer a diversity of lifestyle choices - urban, suburban and rural - that are preserved and highlighted through our vision, principles, and even accentuated in our Community Plans.

To promote a more definitive business image for Hillsborough County and the Tampa Bay region, the analysis also recommends consideration of a standalone Economic Prosperity Element in the Comprehensive Plans.  Our neighbors in Pinellas, Polk, Pasco, Sarasota are among 25+ counties in Florida that already have such standalone economic elements in their plans.  We will work closely with local, regional and state economic development partners as well as our local governments to consider implementation of the best possible strategy.

With the slowing economy and shift of responsibility to the local level, we need to refocus on elements with the greatest potential for positive economic impact, like: quality of life; strong industries; creation and retention of high paying jobs; investments in our communities; capacity to fund public services; and flexibility to adapt with change.  By using the plan amendment process as a tool to achieve a balance between managing growth and promoting economic prosperity, we can better ready ourselves to be wide open for business.  How can our local governments do this?
  • Make smart use of underutilized land areas
  • Provide infrastructure to support businesses & housing for employees 
  • Design places that encourage collaboration and fuel innovation


In coming weeks, The Weekly Planner will delve into the three economic development success stories.  The Austin, Charlotte and Jacksonville areas are thriving by being able to do these things.  We'll also look at two other studies - the Urban Service Area Capacity Study and the Economic Development Area Strategy Study.  Earlier this week, we presented these studies to the Planning Commissioners and the Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development CorporationUsing the results as guidelines, we will continue to work together with the community and jurisdictions to streamline and make the plans job-and-economic-development-friendly, while maintaining and promoting livability with emphasis on quality of life - two of our greatest community and economic assets in Hillsborough County.

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In This Issue
Planning to Reach Our Economic Potential
What's Going On
Take A Survey
Watch Our Videos
New Officers Elected


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What's Going On

November 17th | 6:30pm - 8:00pm

Keystone-Odessa Community Plan Update Special Meeting 


November 22nd | 12 noon - 1:00pm

Planning Commission Executive Committee Meeting   


December 12th | 2:00pm  

Planning Commission Meeting & Workshop


December 12th | 5:30pm

Public Hearing on Amendments to the Hillsborough County Comprehensive Plan


December 13th | 6:00pm - 8:00pm

Balm Community Plan Workshop 



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




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Take A Survey

University Area Community Plan Update Survey


Watch Our Videos

Planning Commission Purpose & Vision video

Planning Commission

Purpose & Vision

'Feeling Good' about Hillsborough County

'Feeling Good' about

Hillsborough County 

Partnering For The Future Workshop -- May 6 2011Partnering For The Future Workshop -- May 6 2011


 New Officers Elected

At our November 14th meeting, the Planning Commissioners elected officers for the upcoming year:


Frank M. Chillura - Chair

Derek L. Doughty - Vice Chair

Jill Buford - Member-at-Large


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.