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FFRP Opposes Amendment 4 on Policy and Process

March 8th, 2010
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Floridians for Responsible Policy Opposes Amendment 4 – “Hometown Democracy”

BACKGROUND: The proposed “Amendment 4” to Florida’s constitution would require a public referendum on any amendment to a local government’s Comprehensive Plan. Amendment 4 was drafted by a group of activists under the banner “Hometown Democracy” with the stated goal of “giving voters veto power over changes to a local community’s master plan for growth.”

Florida’s Growth Management Act of 1985 required every local government to adopt a Comprehensive Plan to serve as its framework for managing growth and making land use decisions. Comprehensive Plans are regularly amended to accommodate new and expanded businesses, protect environmentally sensitive lands, establish public parks, address state and federal requirements, and to implement public improvements such as commuter and high speed rail.

Amending a Comprehensive Plan requires multiple public hearings, review by the Florida Department of Community Affairs (“DCA”), and adoption by local government. Amendments require balancing a variety of interest – most importantly the public interest – by analyzing complex, interrelated issues involving urban planning, the environment, traffic, utilities, schools, public facilities, economic development, and the law.

While many feel that the current growth management framework lacks public involvement and critical input, Amendment 4 would exacerbate the very problems it seeks to fix and likely further alienate citizens who seek to participate in the growth management debate. Read more…

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