Countywide Housing Compact

We cannot do this alone – that’s why Pinellas County is building a coalition of municipalities, agencies, developers and community leaders committed to a common vision. The Advantage Pinellas Countywide Housing Compact offers a coordinated approach to increase affordable housing linked to transportation, jobs, schools, workforce development, and other services. Developed by Pinellas County, Forward Pinellas and staff from the four largest municipalities (St. Petersburg, Clearwater, Largo and Pinellas Park),the compact outlines a common set of policies to create more housing that’s affordable countywide.  

Pinellas County, Forward Pinellas and the four largest municipalities are expected to adopt the compact this year followed by outreach to the remaining municipalities and other agencies. After the compact is adopted, the partners will create a housing action plan specific goals for producing more affordable units that meet the community’s needs over the coming years.  

The compact is part of the Advantage Pinellas plan to address long-term, countywide needs for transportation, jobs and housing.


Forward Pinellas Board Commits to Creating an Affordable Pinellas

Advantage Pinellas Housing Compact DRAFT

May 19, 2021
This Compact is made and entered into this day of _____, 2021, by and between the municipalities within Pinellas County, the Pinellas County Board of County Commissioners, and Forward Pinellas (“the Partners”).
WHEREAS, Pinellas County is a vibrant community of nearly one million residents and 25 local governments, with a uniquely diverse array of communities and lifestyle options, and a robust local economy; and
WHEREAS, the continued quality of life and economic health of our community depends on residents being able to afford safe, quality housing with multi-modal transportation to jobs and educational opportunities; and
WHEREAS, residents living in stable, affordable housing are better able to participate in the workforce, obtain an education, meet daily needs, and remain healthy; and
WHEREAS, employers are better able to attract and retain a stable workforce when residents can find quality affordable housing close to their workplaces, avoiding burdensome commutes; and
WHEREAS, housing costs in Pinellas County are rising significantly faster than household incomes; and
WHEREAS, nearly one in five households in Pinellas County is cost-burdened, spending more than 30 percent of its income on housing; and
WHEREAS, lower-income, minority, and elderly residents are disproportionately likely to live in cost-burdened households; and
WHEREAS, local governments play a critical role in fostering social equity through housing and development policies and strategies; and
WHEREAS, Pinellas County will need an increase of nearly 1,000 affordable housing units per year this decade to keep pace with population growth; and
WHEREAS, addressing the need for affordable housing will require a coordinated strategy of housing construction, rehabilitation, mitigation, preservation, and household assistance; and
WHEREAS, affordable housing production depends on a combination of public, private, nonprofit, and citizen partners; and
WHEREAS, there are 25 local governments in Pinellas County, each with its own affordable housing needs, resources, and policies; and
WHEREAS, the citizens of Pinellas County have made a significant commitment to meeting the community’s need for affordable housing by approving the government infrastructure sales surtax in 2019 (Penny for Pinellas IV); and
WHEREAS, the Board of County Commissioners has allocated a projected $80 Million of Penny for Pinellas revenue over the next ten years to preserve and develop affordable housing; and
WHEREAS, Pinellas County has shown a significant commitment to providing affordable housing through its dedicated Community Housing Trust Fund and Land Trust Program; and
WHEREAS, there are significant countywide resources dedicated to planning for the coordination of land use, transportation, and economic development; and
WHEREAS, local governments in Pinellas County are collaborating on the economic, environmental, and societal vitality and resiliency of their respective communities, in order to support a thriving local economy and create opportunities to attract new businesses and economic investments; and
WHEREAS, an integrated, cooperative, countywide approach is needed to align and maximize these resources and truly meet the need for housing affordability.
The Partners agree to work toward a planning strategy that prioritizes locating affordable housing, jobs, educational opportunities, and workforce development resources along corridors (within ½ mile) planned for high-quality transit service as identified in the Advantage Pinellas Plan.
SECTION 2. The Partners agree to work toward coordinating the development of affordable housing with planning for healthy communities, including access to parks and recreational resources, pedestrian/bicycle facilities, healthy food sources, and medical care providers.
SECTION 3. The Partners agree to work toward addressing racial, social, economic, and geographic inequality in the provision of affordable housing in Pinellas County.
SECTION 4. The Partners agree to work toward planning for greater resiliency, by reducing impacts to current and future housing stock through diverse and localized adaptation and building strategies designed to reduce risks from flooding, major storms, and other natural hazards.
SECTION 5. The Partners agree to work toward the provision of safe, quality housing that is accessible to residents of diverse ages, abilities, and provides both rental and ownership opportunities.
SECTION 6. The Partners agree to work with affordable housing developers, community groups, citizens, and other stakeholders related to the implementation of this Compact.
SECTION 7. The Partners agree to work toward creating an affordable housing action plan to serve as a common, coordinated framework for addressing affordable housing needs, while respecting the autonomy of each local jurisdiction.
SECTION 8. As a component of the action plan, the Partners agree to work toward developing specific goals to meet housing needs and shared terminology and definitions addressing affordable housing.
SECTION 9. The Partners agree to work toward creating a joint communications and outreach program, including developing a website to serve as an information portal for residents, local businesses, developers, non-profit community organizations, and other stakeholders.
SECTION 10. The Partners agree to work toward developing a centralized data repository and performance metrics to identify needs and measure progress toward the action plan.
SECTION 11. The Partners agree to develop a usable regulatory toolkit for local governments, including:
• A menu of regulatory incentives to encourage affordable housing construction, improvements, adaptation, redevelopment and preservation;
• Regulatory strategies for encouraging market-rate housing that is diverse and affordable to a broader range of incomes, including nontraditional options such as accessory dwelling units, “missing middle” housing, tiny homes, and mixed-use buildings; and
• Design standards that promote sustainability and energy efficiency, encourage healthy environments and lifestyles and make it possible to travel safely and conveniently using walking, biking, and transit.
SECTION 12. The Partners agree to this Compact as an expression of their intent and commitment to work together on a countywide level to address the critical need for affordable housing in Pinellas County, but acknowledge that the governing body of each Partner retains authority over local decision-making including, but not limited to, financial and staff resources and land use regulations.
SECTION 13. This Compact shall take effect upon full and proper execution and remain in place for 10 years and until all Partners agree to terminate. Any Partner may individually terminate its participation in the Compact upon 30 days’ written notice to all remaining Partners. The termination by one Partner shall not affect the commitment of the Compact’s remaining Partners.