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Why does everyone keep talking about Ridgecrest being annexed into the City of Largo?
The City of Largo, under Florida state laws, has what is called a “Planning Service Boundary”, or PSB. The goal of the state laws (Chapter 171, Part II for reference) is for counties and cities to agree on what are sensible boundaries between the two, and to work together to make government services most efficient. Pinellas County and the City of Largo have historically agreed on a PSB, with the latest boundary being approved in 2014. Download a copy of the boundary map which shows all of the areas of unincorporated county that may one day be in the City of Largo, from High Point to Ridgecrest, and from Belleair Road to south of Ulmerton Road.
Why does the City want to annex in this area?
The City’s goal is to work towards filling in the gaps on the PSB map in order to have a complete City boundary that provides efficient services to all Largo residents. To date, the City has collected over two hundred annexation agreements from property owners in the Ridgecrest area (at the request of the property owners), but has not started to execute the annexation process and make those properties a part of the City yet.
Why has the City been collecting annexation agreements...but not yet annexing the properties?
The reason we collect annexation agreements from property owners is to extend access to City services that are available to those in our planning service area before any annexation actually occurs. When a property owner signs an annexation agreement, they get the benefit of certain Largo services at in-city rates, while remaining in unincorporated Pinellas County. It was good to hear residents at the meeting say they were happy with the services they were using, particularly solid waste collection and recreation programming.
There are, however, many reasons why Largo has not started annexing properties with annexation agreements. First, we understand that Ridgecrest isn’t just a collection of houses; Ridgecrest is a community. The last thing we want to do is annex properties piecemeal, and have some residents in the City while their neighbors are in the County.
Second, we recognize that the Ridgecrest area currently receives a lot of services from Pinellas County, especially through investment of Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds. When annexation does happen at some point in the future, we want to make sure there is a seamless handoff of services from the county to the city, so that the expectations of the residents are met.
And finally, we understand that there is a history between Ridgecrest and Largo that goes back decades in time, and generations of families. While we cannot change what happened in the past, we can change the conversation going forward and work on an improved relationship for the future. The Largo of today is dramatically different than it was just 10 to 20 years ago. We hope that as the city continues to evolve, and become more inclusive, the conditions at some point in the future will be right for Ridgecrest to officially become a part of the Largo community.
If a Referendum is held, who can vote?
In a referendum, all registered voters who reside in the proposed annexation area are eligible to vote. Voter registration, not property ownership, determines who gets to decide on a referendum for annexation. A registered voter could chose to vote no for annexation, even if the property owner where they live has signed an annexation agreement.
Has the City of Largo been involved in any planning efforts in the Ridgecrest Area?
The Greater Ridgecrest area has been located within Largo’s PSB as early as 1990. The City plans for all of the unincorporated areas within the Largo boundary, including the Greater Ridgecrest area. City staff were present and participated in the Greater Ridgecrest Master Plan Workshop and provided insights on ways to create a sense of place for the existing retention pond that the community would like to be able to use for outdoor activities. Staff also provided information to the consultants working on the Master Plan on various Largo plans that identified the Greater Ridgecrest area. By participating in the process, City staff have a better understanding of the community needs and the importance of preserving the identity and history of the community during the revitalization process.
What will happen with the Greater Ridgecrest Master Plan? Will it still be implemented?
The City would work with Pinellas County to coordinate a transition of the Ridgecrest Master Plan in order to continue its implementation. Largo does not intend to replace or create a new plan since one already exists through a process that City staff participated in along with the input and ideas of the Ridgecrest residents. Just like Pinellas County, it would be the City of Largo’s responsibility to apply for CDBG funding (once the area was annexed into the City municipality) in order to continue the implementation of the Master Plan.
What will happen with the YMCA?
The YMCA building and property is owned by Pinellas County and is located within the City of Largo. The County has budgeted CDBG funds in FY 2019 to re-design the existing facility into a community service center. The building would house multiple service agencies and programs in addition to the YMCA. However, due to the age of the building and the overhead costs of running the YMCA, the idea of housing additional agencies in the building may be too costly. This is why discussions are underway with the Pinellas County Housing Authority, the YMCA, and other service agencies to consider moving all of these organizations to a location owned by the Pinellas County Housing Authority. Since Pinellas County has ownership of the YMCA building and property, it will be their decision as to what happens on the property in the future.
What will happen with the redevelopment of Rainbow Village? Will there be a fixed amount of affordable housing?
Rainbow Village is owned by Pinellas County Housing Authority and all decisions regarding the redevelopment of Rainbow Village will be decided by them. That being said, if all of Ridgecrest was annexed into the City of Largo, the City would work with the Housing Authority to ensure the success of the Rainbow Village redevelopment. The City is one of three government partners with the Housing Authority and has a great relationship with the agency, and Largo understands the importance of affordable housing. In regards to there being a fixed amount of affordable housing, that is the decision of the Housing Authority.
How would taxes and fees differ in the City of Largo vs. Unincorporated Pinellas County?
Forward Pinellas has established a Truth in Annexation worksheet where the property owner inputs their financial information and it will estimate the difference in annual taxes and fees before and after annexation, based on the information you provide.
How is the Largo City Commission structured?
The Largo City Commission is composed of seven members, including the mayor, all of whom are elected “at large” by the registered voters of the City of Largo for terms of four years. There are no term limits in the City and there are no designated area Districts. The Mayor and all Commissioners represent Largo as a whole.
Does Largo have any housing programs available to residents?
Yes, the City of Largo provides housing assistance programs for first-time home buyers and home owners. Below are a list of programs the City offers through its housing division:
- Down Payment Assistance: Up to $35,000 toward the down payment (based on income) for first-time home buyers.
- Housing Rehabilitation Program: Provides income-eligible homeowners with home repair financing, including roof repair/replacement, electrical and plumbing repairs/upgrades, air conditioning, and more.
- Home Replacement Program: If it is deemed that it is not cost-effective to repair the home, the City will assist, through loans, to demolish the old home and build a new home.
- Handicap Accessibility Grants: Provides home modifications to help those with a mental or physical disability to maintain independent living including adding ramps, widening doorways, modifying bathrooms, and more.
- Rental Rehab: Program provides loan financing and project management assistance for performing code-related repairs to affordable rental housing.
How does Largo Code Enforcement handle complaints and violations compared to Pinellas County? Is Largo's code different than the County's?
The priority of Code Enforcement is to address the complaints they receive from individuals. They are not pro-actively looking for violations in neighborhoods but rather are reactive to the calls they receive. When Code Enforcement receives a complaint from an individual, the Code Officer will investigate the complaint to verify whether or not there is a violation. If there is, they notify the owner and give him/her a reasonable time to correct the violation. Code Enforcement ensures the well being and health for residents in the City. For a better understanding of the difference between Largo and Pinellas County please download the code comparison chart of the top code topics that are important to residents. If you are interested in another code matter, feel free to visit our Code Enforcement page.
What is in the future for the City of Largo and Greater Ridgecrest community?
The City of Largo does not have any intentions to hold a Referendum in the near future for the annexation of the Greater Ridgecrest area. At this time, the City would prefer to continue a dialogue and develop a relationship in order to strengthen the bond between the City and the Ridgecrest community. Largo staff and elected officials are available to answer questions and welcome invitations to attend events and programs in the Greater Ridgecrest community.
How can I get connected?
Largo is social, follow, like and share our pages, and sign up for the latest eNews on our Get Connected page.
If you would like to invite a member of our outreach team to your community, volunteer with the city, or just let us know what is on your mind, contact our Community Outreach team.
To see upcoming events and meetings that you may wish to participate in, please visit our Calendar page.
What do the following terms in the Annexation Agreement mean?
Annexation: is the process set forth in Florida Statutes that allows unincorporated properties that are outside the current city limits to incorporate and become part of a city. Annexation allows unincorporated Pinellas County properties to incorporate into the City of Largo. As such, the City of Largo would be your local government.
“Binding upon, and inure to the benefit of, the PARTIES and their respective heirs, successors, or signs”: refers to the fact that the annexation agreement is also binding to any individuals who inherit or come to own the property, who were not necessarily the signatories of the agreement but now own the property.
“Shall run with the land”: refers to the fact that the annexation agreement remains tied to the land (property) regardless if there is a change in ownership as the land is sold from one owner to another.
Why does my Annexation Agreement have language on City sanitary sewer service if I am connected to Pinellas County sanitary sewer?
The Annexation Agreements that the City provides to residential properties are template agreements and therefore may have language that speak towards receiving the in-City monthly sanitary sewer rates. The provisions in Section 3 of the agreement related to the City’s sanitary sewer service only pertain to properties located within the City’s sanitary sewer district. If the property is within Pinellas County’s sanitary sewer service area then this benefit does not apply.