Saint Petersburg, FL

St. Petersburg City Council Approves Zoning Rules Despite Unhappy Community

Bryan Dijkhuizen

St. Petersburg City Council has approved new zoning rules that allow some property owners in the city’s core to convert their single-family homes into or build up to four residences on a typical-sized lot.

The change, which affects 2,895 properties, aims to create more housing options and affordability in a city facing a growing demand for middle housing, smaller, multiunit, or clustered housing that encourages walking, biking, and transit use.

Unhappy Community

However, not everyone is happy with the new zoning rules, which are effective immediately. Some residents fear that the change will lead to more parking congestion, loss of neighborhood character, and displacement of low-income and minority homeowners.

They also question why the city is not increasing density in other areas first, such as downtown or along major corridors.

The city says the new zoning rules are optional, not mandatory, and that they will not affect the design standards or size limits of the existing neighborhoods.

Additionally, the city says that the change will provide more opportunities for first-time home buyers, smaller families, couples, retirees aging in place, adults with disabilities, car-free households, and many others.


The city began conversations about increasing density in 2017 and identified the eligible properties based on their proximity to transit, services, and amenities.

The city also held several public meetings and workshops to gather input from residents and stakeholders. The City Council voted 7 to 1 to approve the new zoning rules on March 23.

Some supporters of the change say that it will help address the housing crisis in St. Petersburg, where the housing supply cannot keep up with demand in a built-out city surrounded by water.

They also say that it will promote more diversity and inclusion in the city’s neighborhoods and reduce sprawl and environmental impact.

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