Pinellas by Design
Pinellas by Design

Redevelopment FAQ

Quick Links

What is redevelopment? Why does it happen?

Redevelopment is a process in which deteriorated or obsolete houses and buildings are altered or replaced to accommodate new, and sometimes different, land uses. Redevelopment is a natural, inevitable process. But it can, and should, be guided by the community according to a vision and plan.

return to top

What are some common redevelopment terms?

  • Brownfield: Land that has been used for industrial or commercial purposes, which is contaminated or perceived to be contaminated.
  • Greenfield: Vacant land that has never been developed.
  • Grayfield: A deteriorating or abandoned mall or shopping center, or other vacant land that is mostly paved over.
  • Developer: A person or company who builds or significantly alters a permanent building.
  • Density: The number of residences (houses, apartment units, or condominium units) permitted on an acre of land, e.g., 15 units per acre.
  • Future Land Use Plan: A local government regulatory document and map that govern the types of development (such as residential or commercial) that are allowed on each parcel of land in the community.
  • Intensity: The amount of non-residential development on a parcel of land. There are two measures of intensity. Floor area ratio (FAR) is based on the amount of building square footage relative to the area of the parcel. For example, a five-story office tower would have a higher FAR than a one-story office building on the same size parcel. Impervious surface ratio (ISR) is based on the square footage of the buildings, pavement, and anything else that covers the ground, relative to the area of the parcel. For example, on the same size property, a large surface parking lot would have a higher ISR than a compact parking garage surrounded by grass.
  • Infill Parcel: A vacant or underutilized lot in the middle of a built-up area.
  • Land Development Code: A local government regulatory document that governs the way land can be developed or redeveloped, including how dense or intense it can be, how far away from other buildings it must be, and other characteristics.
  • Livability: A collection of qualities that make a community an attractive, safe, and enjoyable place to live.
  • Mixed-Use: A type of development or redevelopment in which different land uses are placed close together, sometimes in the same building. For example, retail shops with apartments located above them are considered mixed-use.
  • New Urbanism: A style of urban planning that imitates the design of downtowns and neighborhoods built before World War II. New urbanist communities are higher-density than modern suburbs, have more mixed-use development, and are designed to encourage more walking, bicycling, and transit use.
  • Redevelopment Districts: Areas designated by local governments, in which investments are made to attract certain types of redevelopment.
  • Smart Growth: A philosophy of regional development that advocates higher-density development and redevelopment of existing cities, limits on sprawl development, and protection of rural open space.
  • Sprawl: The outward expansion of low-density, automobile-dependent suburban development from existing urban areas.

What regulations govern redevelopment?

  • All developments and redevelopments must adhere to state, county, and local regulations, including future land use plans and land development codes. Exceptions or changes to these regulations can be made, but only after a thorough review by local government staff, citizen planning boards, and/or elected officials at a public hearing.
  • Additional guidance is provided by Pinellas by Design: The Economic Development and Redevelopment Plan for the Pinellas Community, a countywide document produced by the Pinellas by Design effort, which is designed to help local governments create regulations and make decisions that meet the goals of their communities.

return to top

Are all redevelopments the same?

  • No. Most redevelopments are initiated, and paid for, entirely by a private developer who is acting independently.

    However, some redevelopment projects that would be beneficial to a community may be too expensive or risky for developers acting alone. Therefore, many local governments sponsor partnered redevelopment, in which a developer agrees to provide a certain kind of redevelopment in cooperation with one or more public agencies. Examples might include a movie theater complex in a struggling downtown, or a housing development for low-income residents. Because public resources are used, these projects are open to greater input and scrutiny from the community.

Will redevelopment change my community?

  • All communities change and evolve over time, some for the worse, through age and neglect and others for the better, through ongoing investment and revitalization. A community's efforts are best spent taking actions to ensure that the resultant changes are ones that contribute positively to the community.

  • Careful planning will help ensure that new buildings and redevelopments are attractive and fit the character of their surroundings, help make our streets safer for pedestrians and bicyclists, and create new amenities such as parks, recreational trails, and pleasant downtown streets.

  • It will take a combination of plans, regulations, and incentives to guide redevelopment in a way that benefits the public. That's where Pinellas by Design comes in.

What is economic development? What does it have to do with redevelopment?

Economic development takes place when local governments work with the business sector to attract and retain employers by marketing the community to new companies and addressing the needs of existing businesses. The goal is to create and maintain well-paying jobs, produce higher average incomes, and allow local governments to maintain a healthy tax base without unfairly burdening either residents or employers.

As we approach buildout, redevelopment is becoming a vital component of economic development. The lack of greenfield land makes it more difficult for new businesses to locate here, or for existing ones to expand. If this situation is not addressed through redevelopment, over time, existing businesses may be forced to move to other counties - taking well-paying jobs with them - and few new ones will move in to replace them. With planned redevelopment, aging buildings can be upgraded or replaced, and land can be recycled to accommodate the needs of new or expanding employers, helping ensure that high wage employers continue to come to, and remain in, the county.

return to top

What are the goals of the Pinellas by Design plan?

  • To protect and improve quality of life for residents, visitors, and businesses.
  • To help Pinellas County compete with other regions for the high wage jobs and skilled workers we need to sustain and grow our economy.
  • To ensure that there is sufficient land to accommodate new businesses, and allow existing ones to expand.
  • To balance the employment, housing, and transportation needs of the local workforce.
  • To help Pinellas County remain an attractive and competitive tourist destination.
  • To preserve the character of our residential neighborhoods.
  • To support a variety of transportation options, including walking, biking, and efficient transit.
  • To provide more residential options, such as downtowns and transit corridors, to complement our established neighborhoods.
  • To direct redevelopment to places where it is most appropriate.
  • To encourage public/private redevelopment partnerships.
  • To protect our beautiful beaches, maintain scenic views, and reward tree preservation.
  • To create places of special value to the community, such as town centers, arts districts, and public plazas.
  • To build a community that invites creativity, innovation, and entrepreneurship.

How can I get involved in the redevelopment of my community?

The best way to get involved is to keep informed of local redevelopment projects and issues through the newspaper, TV, radio, and local government websites. Other options include joining neighborhood associations, participating with civic groups, and attending public hearings. You can also express your views on redevelopment issues by calling, writing, or emailing your elected officials, and by writing to your local newspaper.

To learn more about redevelopment and Pinellas by Design, visit our library of reports, surveys, slideshows, and other publications. For specific information contact us.

Most importantly, you can join in the Pinellas by Design effort by attending our events, keeping up with the latest news, and signing up for our mailing list. We need your input, so get involved today!

return to top