Hillsborough County
City-County Planning Commission


The Hillsborough County City-County Planning Commission is preparing updates to the comprehensive plans for Tampa, Temple Terrace, Plant City, and unincorporated Hillsborough County.

In early 2014, the Planning Commission engaged Dover, Kohl & Partners and Spikowski Planning Associates to identify approaches for improving the way these plans discourage strip commercial development and encourage mixed-use development. Visit the Planning Commission web page for this project.

Strip commercial development in its post-World War II form has been one of the most common patterns for new stores, restaurants, and service businesses. This pattern is often unsightly, it adversely affects adjoining neighborhoods, and it causes congestion on adjoining highways. Better patterns are available for developing land along suburban arterials.

Until the 1950s, mixed-use development didn’t have a name because most development didn’t restrict large expanses of land to a single use. It wasn’t unusual for entire blocks to be dedicated to one use, yet proximity and easy access to complementary uses was taken for granted. That time-honored development pattern has been replaced in most new communities by rigid separation of uses and severe limitations on access. Segregated-use communities have become so widespread that buyers of new homes have little choice if they prefer a different kind of neighborhood.

The initial task in this effort was to identify national best practices plus a spectrum of methods that other communities use in comprehensive plans to discourage or repair strip commercial development and to encourage mixed-use development. These other communities included six Florida counties, one Florida city, and three counties and cities outside Florida. Appendices A (strip commercial) and B (mixed use) summarize that research.

The final report proposes an improved policy approach for the Hillsborough County City-County Planning Commission to consider in preparing updates to the four comprehensive plans. This report begins with a policy framework, which is a narrative description of improved approaches to strip commercial and mixed-use development. Specific suggestions are presented as to how those approaches could be carried out. Examples are provided to illustrate the application of these approaches. Specific draft policies are then presented for consideration by the Planning Commission and the four local governments that it serves.