Make us your home page

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 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

  1. Once 'angry' about Obamacare, Republican David Jolly came to see it as 'safety net'


    Former Congressman David Jolly, who ran against Obamacare in 2013, said in an interview Monday night that he now considers it a "safety net."

  2. Five children hospitalized after chlorine release at Tampa pool store


    Five children were sickened at a pool store north of Tampa on Monday after a cloud of chlorine was released, according to Hillsborough County Fire Rescue.

  3. Deputies find unidentified decomposing body in Dunedin canal

    Public Safety

    DUNEDIN — Pinellas County sheriff's deputies found an unidentified male body floating in a Dunedin canal Monday afternoon, the Sheriff's Office said.

  4. Rays acquire slick-fielding shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria from Marlins

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Chaim Bloom said the Rays weren't necessarily in the market for a shortstop. The team has a number of those. But when the Marlins recently began shopping Adeiny Hechavarria, well, that was too much to pass up.

    Adeiny Hechavarria has emerged as one of baseball’s top defensive shortstops in the past three seasons with the Marlins.
  5. Lightning journal: Forward Yanni Gourde agrees to two-year deal

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — Just three years ago, Yanni Gourde was fighting to stay in pro hockey.

    Tampa Bay Lightning center Yanni Gourde celebrates after scoring against the Florida Panthers during the second period of an NHL hockey game, Saturday, March 11, 2017, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara) TPA108