The Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners (“BOCC”) and the Hillsborough County City-County Planning Commission (“Planning Commission”) have been busy workshopping and voting on various policy initiatives and Plan Amendments that will likely affect landowners and developers’ rights and options for their properties. This alert recaps some important recent meetings and provides updates to several of the policy items discussed here.
Some of these proposals could provide significant density increases for certain projects, while others could significantly limit the ability to develop commercial intensity. These proposals are moving forward quickly; one has already been transmitted to the BOCC for approval. For that reason, landowners and developers need to stay informed of pending changes and get involved in upcoming stakeholder meetings and public hearings.
September 14, 2022, BOCC LDC Workshop
LDC 22-1113 Rezoning and Land Use Meeting Procedures
The BOCC discussed a Proposed Amendment that revises the rezoning Land Use Meeting procedures. The Proposed Amendment provides information on the qualifications and procedures for Land Use Hearing Officers (“LUHOs”), who hold a position similar to what was previously known as a Zoning Hearing Master. The Proposed Amendment allows for a very expansive “Open Record Period” between a LUHO hearing and BOCC review, which may prove unpredictable for landowners and developers. This item will be revisited at a Public Hearing on October 20.
LDC 22-1115 Affordable Housing Development Standards
The BOCC further workshopped Affordable Housing Development Standards in the Urban Service Area. The Proposed Amendment allows for density bonuses when certain AMIs are achieved. “Affordable Housing” is defined as a dwelling unit that is available at a cost not exceeding 30 percent of a household’s income at or below 120% AMI. 20% or more of the dwelling units must fall under that definition, and certain portions of those units must be set aside for lower AMIs to qualify for density bonuses. The Proposed Amendment also relaxes setback requirements for developments that contain affordable housing. This item will be revisited at a Public Hearing on the evening of October 13 (today).
LDC 22-1406 Gopher Tortoise Habitat
The last item the BOCC workshopped provides further protection for gopher tortoise habitats. The Proposed Amendment includes additional procedural steps that must be completed before an applicant can make any alterations to land that has evidence of gopher tortoise presence. Additionally, the Proposed Amendment creates the Significant Wildlife Habitat Protection and Preservation Fund (“Fund”); if a landowner with gopher tortoise presence engages in unpermitted, irreversible land alterations, the landowner must pay $7,000 per affected acre to the Fund. This item will be revisited at a Public Hearing on the evening of October 13 (today).
Planning Commission September 12, 2022, Regular Meeting
Commercial Locational Criteria
The Planning Commission voted to find consistent a contract extension for the Commercial Locational Criteria Study (“CLC”). This extends the contractual relationship between the Planning Commission and S&M, Inc., an engineering firm, to March 31, 2023. The modification to the contract allows for additional stakeholder meetings and outreach. The latest draft retains many burdens and limitations on landowners and developers’ rights. Draft #6 of the CLC will be available for review sometime in October. There will be an in-person community meeting on October 18, 2022, and a Planning Commission Public Hearing on December 12, 2022.
Plan Amendment Procedures Manual
The Planning Commission voted to find the new Plan Amendment Procedures Manual consistent. The most significant change from previous drafts is an overhaul of the neighborhood meeting requirement; they are now structured so that only one neighborhood meeting can be requested, regardless of whether it was applicant-initiated or citizen-initiated. The latest draft retains a mail notification requirement of 500 feet found in previous drafts. This was approved by the BOCC on October 12, 2022.
TDRs and Bus Emphasis Corridors
The Proposed Amendments covering Transfers of Development Rights and Bus Emphasis Corridors are both currently on hold—there have been no significant movements on either item.
We encourage attendance at the upcoming workshops and public hearings. Our Land Development, Zoning & Environmental team has been involved since the beginning of this process and is continuing to monitor the effects that changing land use and development policies will have on ongoing, proposed, and future projects in Hillsborough County. Please contact us should you have any questions.