CLEARWATER — Pinellas County commissioners gave unanimous approval Dec. 10 to an interlocal agreement with the city of Dunedin allowing the city to include unincorporated parcels located within its planning area boundary in its comprehensive plan.

The county and city entered into a prior interlocal agreement in 1995, which expired in 2005. That agreement enabled the creation of the Dunedin Planning Area with procedures for joint designation of municipal land use designations of unincorporated land that might be annexed by the city in the future.

The new agreement establishing a Dunedin Planning Area would be for a 10-year term with the possibility of extending it another 10 years.

The county would have authority for the Comprehensive Plan and any amendments for parcels outside the city’s corporate limits until the parcel is annexed into the city. However, the agreement would allow the city to include unincorporated parcels in its planning area within its Comprehensive Plan.

As part of the agreement, the city would have to inform the county and property owners when it includes any unincorporated parcels within its planning area. The city would not be able to act on those plans until the parcel is annexed.

Property owners and those residing in the unincorporated areas will be allowed to participate in administrative, legislative, quasi-judicial or judicial proceedings regarding the city’s plans that might affect them.

If the property owner applies for voluntary annexation with the Dunedin Planning Area, the owner must agree with the city’s plan for the property, if the plan allows intensity of use or density equal to or less than that allowed in the county’s comprehensive plan. The change would take affect at the time the parcel is annexed.

If the property owner does not agree or if the intensity of use or density is greater than the county’s comprehensive plan, the city’s plan and the countywide plan map would have to be amended.

The agreement does not give Dunedin additional rights of annexation.

The agreement also allows the city and county to work cooperatively on planning studies in areas of mutual concern.

In a memo from Dunedin staff, the City Commission was urged to approve the interlocal agreement.

Staff says the agreement allows the city to annex properties within the planning area without having to go through the lengthy process of amending the county’s comprehensive plan unless the intensity and density is greater.

The agreement also allows intergovernmental coordination and cooperation with the county for comprehensive transportation planning to ensure facilities are located and developed in relation to overall community development.