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City of Tampa Comprehensive Plan Transit Station Area Policies

Transit and Transit Stations Area Planning (Chapter 3 p. 69-74)

The development of a fixed-guideway mass transit system for the Tampa Bay region has been under consideration for several years. ln 2002, the Hillsborough Area Regional Transit (HART) Authority completed a multi-year effort to examine the feasibility of a light rail system in Hillsborough County using CSXT rail lines and new track in other areas. A previous major investment study, “The Mobility Study,” identified a rail system that one day could connect Pinellas, Pasco, Hillsborough and Polk counties via CSXT lines. The HART Rail Study (Environmental lmpact Study, Tampa Rail Project, 2002) refined the plans for the first phase of this system, examining lines in the most densely populated parts of Hillsborough. The first lines would link Downtown Tampa to the USF area and to the Westshore Business Area. The technical and planning information in the HART Rail Study has been integrated into current planning efforts.

ln 2006, the Hillsborough County MPO commenced an MPO Transit Study to examine the county’s transit needs and choices to the year 2050. The MPO Transit Study responded to community values centered on sustainable growth, neighborhood preservation and economic vitality. A preferred transit concept for 2050 emerged from the study’s recommendations demonstrating how transit investments can influence countywide growth patterns, creating a more efficient use of land that in turn makes walking and transit more viable and desirable as real transportation options. The Study was approved by the MPO in December 2007. The preferred alignment for the MPO Transit Study is depicted on the Comprehensive Plan Vision Map.

These past efforts have been incorporated into the Hillsborough MPO 2035 Long Range Transportation Plan (LRTP), which serves as the primary transit and transportation plan for all of Hillsborough County. The adopted MPO Long Range Transportation 2035 Transit Needs Assessment map depicts the long range fixed guideway transit needs for Hillsborough County.

As the development of a fixed-guideway transit system proceeds, it will be important to address land use policies within potential corridors to ensure that the appropriate land use framework is in place to encourage successful station area development. investment plans are established and station sites are known, appropriate Future Land Use and zoning changes will need to take place to allow transit supportive infill development and redevelopment to occur. The Comprehensive Plan mechanisim that creates this opportunity is the Transit Oriented Development Future Land Use Floating Designation (TOD FLU Floating Designation).

The Goals, Objectives, and Policies within this section accomplish the following:

  1. Create the Transit Oriented Development Future Land Use Floating Designation, and describe the process for its application
  2. Permit, by Transit Sstation Area Typologies (Table 2), the necessary densities/intensities and land use characteristics needed for successful Transit Oriented Development.
  3. Require the development of Station Area Plans for each station, which will at a minimum, include specific Components of Station Area (Table 3) and adhere to Transit Station Area Design Principles (Table 4).

The Goals, Objectives, and Policies within this section serve as the planning framework to guide the processes that will occur once station locations have been determined. The general steps of this process are listed below, in chronological order (an illustrative flow chart of the overall process is included below as Figure 1):

  1. Designation of the Transit Oriented Development Future Land Use Floating Designation (TOD Floating Designation) within a generalspeeiíie Aarea of Influence (e.g. 0.5 mile radius from approved fixed-guideway station locations).
  2. Determination and approval of specific Station Area Plan Boundaries for each station. This will be a modified version of the initially designated Area of Influence.
  3. Adoption of Station Area Plans for each station. Implementation of these plans will include city-initiated area-wide rezonings.

The first step, Designation of the Transit Oriented Development Future Land Use Floating Designation, occurs within three months after a fixed-guideway station location has been determined. The initial designation includes all areas within a 0.5 mile radius of the station platform, which is called the Area of Influence. Within this Area of Influence, the Comprehensive Plan allows for the consideration of higher density/intensity and a broader range of uses, as designated by station typology.

There are seven basic station types, High Intensity Urban Node, Mixed Use Regional Node, Community Center, Neighborhood, Park and Ride, Employment Center, and Special, characteristics of each documented below in Table 2 (City of Tampa/Hillsborough County Fixed Guideway Transit Station Typologies). Three of these station types (Mixed Use Regional, Community Center, and Neighborhood) include urban and suburban characteristics which will be utilized depending on where the station is located within the City. ln order to be granted the additional development potential, the TOD FLU Floating Designation requires that a property be rezoned to a TOD zoning designation. This rezoning can occur either as a individual property, or as part of the implementation of an approved Station Area Plan.

The second step, Determination and approval of specific Station Area Plan Boundaries for each station, occurs prior to end of the Preliminary Engineering Phase (see Figure 1). This process will be led by by agencies and organizations as documented in an executed interlocal agreement, and take into account specific station contexts to determine appropriate Station Area Planning boundaries.

The third step, Adoption of Station Area Plans, will occur no later than the end of Final Design of the fixed-guideway transit system (see Figure 1). Once Station Area Plans are adopted, areawide rezonings will occur to implement the plan recommendations.