The Hillsborough County City-County Planning Commission plays a role in local government decisions that affect how future growth is managed and what happens to undeveloped parts of the county. (Hillsborough County’s official Facebook photo.)

When it comes to local governments fulfilling their obligations in providing safe, habitable communities for the residents they serve, proper planning has a role.

In Hillsborough County, that responsibility is borne in large part by the Hillsborough County City-County Planning Commission.

The Planning Commission is an independent entity staffed by appointed representatives from the four local governments within Hillsborough County and is a resource used by the participating governments.

Members of the Planning Commission serve four-year terms and are apportioned as follows: four members each appointed from Hillsborough County and the City of Tampa, with one member each appointed from the municipalities of Temple Terrace and Plant City; a representative from Hillsborough County School District; and one from MacDill Air Force Base serve in ex-officio roles.

Meetings of the Planning Commission are held monthly in a hybrid format with commissioners and support staff able to meet in-person and the general public viewing and commenting virtually. Meetings can be viewed live or afterward via the YouTube channel Hillsborough County Meetings, Hillsborough TV (HTV) on the county’s website, as well as on select cable channels.

Housing needs of a growing population and the locations of commercial projects are among the topics discussed at the commission’s meetings, as are issues related to the county’s infrastructure and natural resources, such as undeveloped land.

Besides serving as an appointed commissioner, the public can get involved in the county’s planning process by participating in online surveys available on the Plan Hillsborough website or connecting with one of the advisory committees addressing a variety of concerns, such as traffic congestion.

The Planning Commission is one of three commissions that the agency known as Plan Hillsborough provides staffing and logistical support to. The other two commissions are the Hillsborough Transportation Planning Organization and the Hillsborough River Board & Technical Advisory Council.

According to Melissa Dickens, senior planner with Plan Hillsborough, internal changes in the overall planning organization should facilitate the work of the Planning Commission and benefit county residents.

“We’ve had a number of new staff join us over the past couple of years,” she said as part of her presentation during the February 14 commission meeting. “They have provided lots of opportunities to hear different perspectives from people who may have worked on similar projects at other places.”

You can learn more about the Hillsborough County City-County Planning Commission by visiting planhillsborough.org.

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Avian-named publications have figured prominently in Brad Stager's career. Besides writing for the Osprey Observer, he started out writing sports articles for the Seahawk, a weekly newspaper serving the military community aboard Fleet Activities Yokosuka, Japan. That position followed a career documenting life in the Fleet, from the Straits of Magellan to the North Arabian Sea, as a Navy Photographer's Mate. Since settling in the Tampa Bay area, Brad has produced a variety of written, visual and aural content for clients ranging from corporate broadcasters to small businesses.