Frequently Asked Questions

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Plan Hillsborough is a planning agency that provides staff support to the Hillsborough County City-County Planning Commission, the Hillsborough Metropolitan Planning Organization, and the Hillsborough River Interlocal Planning Board. We serve Unincorporated Hillsborough County and the cities of Tampa, Temple Terrace, and Plant City.

Plan Hillsborough conducts long-range land use, transportation, infrastructure, and environmental planning that guides how and where the community will grow, what transportation choices we will have, and how to protect community assets.

We are responsible for developing state-mandated Comprehensive Plans as well as a Long-Range Transportation Plan spanning a planning horizon of 20+ years. The agency also oversees plan amendments and conducts specialized studies and consistency reviews for requested changes to the comprehensive plans.

Hillsborough Television (HTV) broadcasts the MPO Board and Planning Commission meetings. Live meetings can be seen on Frontier: Channel 22; Comcast: Channel 22; Spectrum: Channel 637. Watch HTV online.

Hillsborough County Center, 601 E Kennedy Blvd, 18th floor, Tampa, FL, 33602

The Planning Commission prepares reports on building permit activity throughout Hillsborough County every quarter to track development trends. The data is available in a series of spreadsheets with all data currently tracked by the Planning Commission.

The Hillsborough County Health Atlas is a living tool intended to provide communities and planners a baseline profile of the chronic diseases, demographics, transportation, emergency preparedness, and environmental indicators within our communities.

The Hillsborough County City-County Planning Commission, the official local planning agency for all jurisdictions in Hillsborough County, provides planning services and makes independent recommendations to the Board of County Commissioners, Plant City Commission, Tampa City Council, Temple Terrace City Council, and other agencies regarding smart growth and development of Hillsborough County.

The Planning Commission is made up of ten citizen appointees from all four jurisdictions and two ex officio members representing MacDill Air Force Base and the Hillsborough County Public School District. View your current Planning Commissioners here.

The State of Florida requires all counties and municipalities to adopt comprehensive plans. The Planning Commission developed the Comprehensive Plans for unincorporated Hillsborough County and the cities of Tampa, Temple Terrace, and Plant City with the input of the citizens. The plans were first adopted in 1989. The three cities’ plans were last updated in 2016. The unincorporated County plan was last updated in 2008. All land use decisions made by the local jurisdictions must be in conformance with the Comprehensive Plan.

The Comprehensive Plan is a twenty-year (20) blueprint for future growth of the local jurisdictions. It includes a Future Land Use Map that regulates the general type of land use that is allowed (commercial, industrial, residential, etc.) and the maximum density (living units per acre) or intensity (square feet of building area) of those uses.

The Comprehensive Plan examines relevant information such as population projections, the pattern of existing development, the suitability of land for development, the capacity of public facilities to serve future growth, and the financial capacity of the County to make improvements to those facilities.

The Comprehensive Plan provides policy direction to the local jurisdiction on issues that affect the quality of life for the community such as the protection of the public welfare and investment in the community.

The Comprehensive Plan is required by state law to have certain components or elements. Elements cover specific subject areas and include background information and data, as well as Goals, Objectives, and Policies.  By law, the Comprehensive Plan must include the following elements:

  • Future Land Use
  • Transportation
  • Infrastructure (water, wastewater, drainage, etc.)
  • Recreation and Open Space
  • Conservation
  • Housing
  • Intergovernmental Coordination
  • Capital Improvements

Also, the Plan can include optional Elements based on the Communities’ interests.

There are several ways the plan gets updated:

  1. Annual updates and changes based on locally initiated requests for changes. Certain components, like the Capital Improvements Program, are updated annually.
  2. The plan can be revised or amended up to four times per year. These amendments can be initiated by private citizens and property owners or by the local government. The Planning Commission utilizes these amendment “cycles” to proactively bring forward amendments as needed to keep the plans current with trends and the needs of the community.
  3. Every six to ten years, it is the best practice that the plan is comprehensively evaluated and updated to include the next time horizon period (20 Years).

There are two types of Comprehensive Plan amendments which include Text Amendments and Map Amendments. Text amendments can modify, add or delete the text of the local government’s Comprehensive Plan.  A Map Amendment can change the land use category on the Future Land Use Map within a specific jurisdiction.

Map and Text Amendment requests are described as follows:

  • Small Scale Map Amendment refers to a Map Amendment 10 acres or less in size and may include Text Amendments if specifically associated with a Small Scale Map Amendment.
  • Plan Amendment (Large scale) refers to a Text Amendment or a Map Amendment larger than 10 acres in size.

A Plan Amendment may be initiated by a private property owner or organization (Privately initiated), or by a Local government or the Planning Commission (Publicly initiated).

The Future Land Use Map (FLUM) is a community’s visual guide to future planning serving as a blueprint for growth which reflects both existing patterns of land use as well as the desired use of land. It also represents the future demand for land based upon past trends and projections. The FLUM classifies all land within a jurisdiction into general types of land use categories as described for each of the four jurisdictions. The FLUM is color coded with each color assigned to a specific land use category. These categories are called “Future Land Use Designations.” Future Land Use Designations are supported and governed by the Goals, Objectives, and Policies of the jurisdictional Comprehensive Plans. The Plans describe each land use category’s intended purpose and character and define allowable densities and intensities of development.

Under Florida law, all comprehensive plans must have a FLUM and all land use regulations and capital improvements must be consistent with that FLUM. In short, the FLUM is a legally binding prescription for future growth, as well as a guide to provide for land use consistency and change.

Search for your property’s future land use designation by entering your address in our Planning Information Map App (PIMA).

View a description of each future land use category in the FLU Reference Guide.

  1. Pre-Application Review
  2. Application submittal
  3. Planning Commission staff review
  4. Planning Commission Public Hearing
  5. Small Scale Amendment adoption stage
  6. Plan Amendment (Large scale) transmittal stage
  7. Transmittal to the State Land Planning Agency
  8. Plan Amendment (Large scale) adoption stage

Typically, Plan Amendments (Large scale) can take from 7-8 months from submittal of a complete application to adoption. Plan Amendments (Large scale) require three public hearings and are reviewed by State and Regional Agencies.

Small scale amendments can take 5-6 months and require two public hearings.

The Hillsborough County Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) is a transportation policy-making board comprised of representatives from local governments and transportation agencies. According to federal and state laws, the Hillsborough County MPO is responsible for establishing a continuing, cooperative and comprehensive transportation planning process for Hillsborough County. Committed to meaningful public engagement throughout this process, the MPO is responsible for the creation of the twenty-year Long-Range Transportation Plan (LRTP) and the five-year Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) to meet the multi-modal transportation needs for Tampa, Temple Terrace, Plant City, and unincorporated Hillsborough County.

The LRTP is the long-range planning document that covers a 20-year time frame and must be updated at least every five years.  The LRTP must include existing transportation facilities, performance measures and targets, a transportation system performance report, operational and management activities, any environmental mitigation activities that may be necessary, and a financial plan to ensure that reliable and reasonable funding sources are identified to implement the LRTP.

One of the first steps in the process is to develop a forecast of the geographic distribution of the county’s population and employment over the 20-year time frame. These socioeconomic data show where population and employment concentrations are anticipated and are used to forecast future travel patterns. For more information, view the Long Range Growth Forecasts (Socioeconomic Data).

The Transportation Improvement Program is a five-year plan that identifies, prioritizes and allocates funding for transportation projects. The TIP is the “short-range” component of the MPO’s Long Range Transportation Plan.  The TIP is updated annually with adoption by the MPO Board in June of each year.  Development of the TIP is a continuous process involving agency staff and public involvement.  The MPO Board adopts TIP priorities the preceding September. Adoption of both documents occurs after the public has an opportunity to comment in advertised public hearings.

The TIP mapping tool can be used to view transportation projects that will receive funding over the next five years. This tool enables users to see the location of future projects, to identify the type of project, who is responsible, and when it will receive funding. The tool can also be used to search for a project by description or project number.

View transportation planning projects that are currently under development or are in draft status.

Sunshine Line can be reached at 813-272-7272.

The Bicycle Suitability Map portrays on-road and off-road routes suitable for travel by cyclists of adequate skills and sufficient age to assume the risks.

The MPO and the BPAC disclaim all responsibility for the safety, design, and construction of the facilities and any negligent, intentional or criminal acts related to them. Travel routes are color-coded based on the identified categories. A route may be considered less suitable for bicycling due to one or more of the following: high traffic volume, high speeds, narrow road width, and construction.

The Hillsborough River Interlocal Planning Board is a Board and Council established by the Florida Legislature to monitor activities and actions in the Hillsborough River Corridor. Mandated by state law, the River Board and Council developed a Master Plan for the Hillsborough River and coordinate the plan’s implementation between the jurisdictions along the river.

The board consists of three elected officials representing the geographic location of the river. The Hillsborough River Technical Advisory Council supports the Board and is comprised of eight agency representatives and three citizen members. View the current representatives.

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