Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Panel weighs in on Pasco's development procedures

NEW PORT RICHEY — A panel of out-of-state urban planning experts, hired by the Pasco Economic Development Council and the county to review Pasco's attractiveness as a business destination, recommended wide-ranging reforms Friday, focusing on the county's development review process.

The nine-member panel from the Urban Land Institute, an association of real estate interests, wrapped up a week of interviews with about 100 local public and private-sector representatives.

Among other points, it said:

• The five divisions of the county's development services department do not work together seamlessly. There was too much "planning by variance," which means rules are set and then just as readily changed to suit individual circumstances.

• A complex development review process was worsened by an understaffed development services department, which was overwhelmed in processing applications when growth surged from the late 1990s. Those interviewed said county staff were "not conversant with current best practices."

• There were complaints that the County Attorney's Office does not draft ordinances with input from development staff.

• There were calls to reduce the role of the Development Review Committee, made up of top staff planners, in interpreting growth laws.

The panel's parting words of advice to county officials? Be prepared to invest more time and money in reform, said Martin Cramton, a panelist from North Carolina. "This is not free," he said.

Gallagher said county staff had already been working on a lot of what the panel recommended.

But he's going to look more closely at the panel's full report, due in a week's time, before he decides specifically what he wants to do.

But in one respect, he said he's already doing what the panelists recommended: reforming the set-up of the development services department.

"We're doing that," Gallagher said. "I don't know where they got that from, but that's something (assistant county administrator) Bipin Parikh and I are already doing. It's going to show up in this year's budget."

The county's growth management and zoning divisions would be combined to improve communication between the two offices, Gallagher said.

Chuin-Wei Yap can be reached at cyap@sptimes.com or (813)909-4613.

Panel weighs in on Pasco's development procedures 04/25/08 [Last modified: Friday, April 25, 2008 7:40pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. From the food editor: 'MasterChef' winner Shaun O'Neale talks cooking at Epcot's International Food and Wine Festival

    Cooking

    There are certain reliable signs that fall is on the way. Nothing in the weather department, of course, but other markers that usher in the celebratory final months of the year. One of those things is the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival, which happens annually in Orlando, seemingly longer and more jam-packed …

    Chicken Wings with Sweet Potato Puree. Photo by Michelle Stark, Times food editor.
  2. Mike Evans stands behind Michael Bennett

    Blogs

    Bucs receiver Mike Evans was signing autographs for children after Bucs practice on Saturday. As he signed, he talked about Seattle defensive and former Buc Michael Bennett, who last Friday sat during the national anthem and who says he will continue to do so to fight racial injustice.

    Mike Evans, left, hauls in a pass in front of cornerback Vernon Hargreaves.
  3. Man, I miss Planet Simeon

    Blogs

    Simeon Rice, right, works with Bucs defensive end Ryan Russell.
  4. Florida education news: HB 7069, solar eclipse, courtesy bus rides and more

    Blogs

    DISCORD: Employees of the Pinellas Classroom Teachers Association accuse the union of "less than fair and equitable" working conditions.