Urban Land Institute (ULI)

Transformative Economic Development for Pasco County, Florida

An advisory services panel from the Urban Land Institute (ULI) spent the week of October 6th, 2013, in Pasco County, Florida, examining progress to date made from an original report completed in 2008 in addition to making recommendations for future strategies to meet Pasco’s vision of being “Florida’s Premier County.”

During Pasco’s latest visit, ULI panelists interviewed and gathered input from nearly 200 individuals, including community leaders, government officials, planners, preservationists, developers, economic development officials, realtors and residents.

The report recognizes that Pasco has embarked on a change through its land development patterns and policies that many communities need to make, but lack the courage to do so. ULI panelists also that Pasco’s vision is both timely and compelling as a response to fundamental changes in the market and the aspirations of people choosing a place to live.

The final report recommendations flow directly from an analysis of seven identified challenges in the areas of: Open Space and Agricultural Land Preservation; Transportation Planning and Funding; Economic Development; Shaping Development; Leadership; and Funding the Vision (PDF).

Urban Land Institute Panel Findings

Panelists from the Urban Land Institute presented their findings after a week-long study of the County. Nearly 100 people, both public and private sector representatives, listened attentively to their perspective as panelists described existing impediments and a potential work plan to emphasize on investing in the County's existing assets and investing in the future of Pasco.

In summary, Panelists recommended that the leadership in Pasco initially focus on the following work plan items:

  • Given that approved growth far exceeds market demand, the County should channel development into Urban Service Areas and areas served by transit to increase value.
  • Create the Open Space and Ag Preservation Trust and use Penny for Pasco funding to acquire development rights to create ecological linkage from the Gulf to the Green Swamp and foster agricultural uses.
  • Work to create a Tampa Bay Regional Metropolitan Planning Organization to plan and fund transportation.
  • Focus economic development on the medical sector and work force development.
  • Focus development efforts on Routes 19 and 54.
  • Complete the process for plan approval that leads to construction to allow the market to create winners and losers.
  • Maintain consistency on implementing the vision and create market area planning commissions.
  • Change the allocation in redevelopment to fund land assembly, enact the 5 cent gas tax and raise the room tax with explicit and clear expenditure programs for parks, culture, libraries and eco-tourism.

View the full presentation (PDF), and access to view the entire presentation can be found on the Board of County Commission Workshop Agenda page.

The full report from the Advisory Services Panel is anticipated to be available within the next 90 days.

2013 Pasco ULI Advisory Services Visit

Pasco County requested the return of the ULI Advisory Services Panel to assist evaluating performance from the 2008 Panel recommendations (PDF) and to help guide Pasco with "What's Next" as we implement the Board of County Commissioner's vision outlined in the Strategic Plan and in the Economic Development Plan. The panel was composed of economic development, land use, real estate development, and public and private experts from around the world who volunteer their time to help communities solve difficult development or related public policy problems.

On Monday, October 7, 2013, a briefing presentation (PDF) was given to the Advisory Panel, followed by a bus tour (PDF). On Friday, October 11, 2013 from 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. a public presentation will be made by the ULI panelists of its findings and recommendations at the West Pasco Government Center, Commissioner's Board Room, 8731 Citizen's Drive, New Port Richey. This event will also be televised through our government channel.

For a quick presentation on the past visit and about what we asked in 2013, please view the slideshow (PDF) given to the Board of County Commissioners and the interviewees.

2013 Panel Assignment

Pasco County staff and Pasco Economic Development Council worked together to develop background information for the Briefing Book (PDF). The briefing book contains demographic, land use, economic trends, and other information so that the panelists have a baseline of how we operate as a County.

Now it is time to assess progress, celebrate successes, and look to the future for the next steps to become Florida’s Premier County for new businesses and quality job creation.

For the purposes of the 2013 ULI Advisory Panel, the problem statement and questions (PDF) that have been developed are categorized under two different headings and multiple topics as follows:

1. Evaluation of Progress to Date – Last Five Years 2009-2013 (20% of Panel’s Efforts)
a. Review actions and results addressing the recommendations of the original panel report.
b. Recommendations and conclusions should be in the prescriptive style of panel reports recognizing strengths and prescribing areas of improvement and best practices needed.
2. Focus Areas or Topics for Setting A Direction for the Next Five Years 2014- 2018 (80% of Panel’s Efforts – focused on the ULI “What’s Next?” format for action in the recovery cycle):
a. Balanced Economic Growth and Competitiveness – Pasco’s Regional Economic Role
b. Place Making – Improving Pasco’s Quality of Life
c. Creating Thriving Communities – Pasco’s Residential Growth Dynamics
d. Organizational Performance --Workforce Development and Talent Attraction
e. Investment Tools- Public-Private Partnerships
f. Movement and Connectivity – Multi-modal Transportation Systems
g. Balance with Nature, Agriculture and Tourism
h. Sustainable Local Economy in Revenue and Capital Investment
i. Governance – Models and structures for Leadership and Management Focus

Resulting from the 2008 ULI Recommendations, the Planning and Development Department held a workshop with the Board of County Commissioners regarding Walkable Communities.

General Background

From 2000 to 2006, Pasco County experienced unprecedented high levels of growth, primarily in the residential sector. Since then, growth has stagnated, unemployment has climbed above state averages, and the property tax base has eroded by nearly $9 Billion (25%). In 2008, Pasco County recognized the changing conditions of the economy and the need to increase employment in the County to provide a balanced long term mix of uses, a healthier tax base, and a more efficient transportation system.

Pasco County and Pasco Economic Development Council (PEDC) jointly funded the Advisory Services Panel from the Urban Land Institute to ask the panel to help identify the concerns the county faced from the recent period of high growth. We additionally asked the panel to suggest alternative organizational structures and processes that would make the development process more efficient. Two broad themes for Pasco County came to the panels mind: 1) economic development and smart land use; and 2) county organization. The success and execution of economic development and land use were dependent on the implementation of new county organization.

The panel issued a full report with a comprehensive set of recommendations including the creation of market areas with their own vision, mission and strategies, and the improvement of the organizational structure, codes and standards, decision processes, and customer service. The Panel also recommended transforming the development services branch into one that focused on long-term strategic decisions just as often as it focused on short-term decisions. The Panel also recognized that a new consolidated and well-organized development code needed to be created as a guide for all new development and redevelopment activity in the County.

Urban Land Institute (ULI) Advisory Services Panel - More Information

Since 1947, over 600 Advisory Services teams have helped find creative, practical solutions for some of the most challenging issues facing today’s urban, suburban, and rural communities.

Communities around the world have asked ULI to convene Advisory Services panels to:

  • Get timely, candid, and unbiased input from expert land use professionals;
  • Kick-start critical conversations and move beyond deadlock; and
  • Gain fresh insights and discover innovative solutions to the most complex real estate development challenges.

For more information, visit the Urban Land Institute online.