Advocates of No Growth Continue Assault in Florida
Localized measures to limit zoning and planning changes continue to surface in Florida, and a Hometown Democracy amendment that would require voter approval for every proposed change to a county’s comprehensive plan may appear on the state’s November 2008 ballot despite a recent defeat of an anti-growth measure in the City of Lake Worth.
On March 13, Lake Worth residents rejected an amendment that would have required four out of five commissioners to approve any change to the city’s comprehensive plan, effectively shutting down all building and redevelopment in the city.
The amendment’s architect was Lesley Blackner, the well-known founder of the statewide Hometown Democracy effort who has been hoping for local anti-growth victories to spur passage of her proposed amendment to the state constitution.
Blackner used paid signature gatherers and the help of interest groups such as ACORN, the Sierra Club and the Green Party to get her super-majority amendment on the ballot.
Despite a local environment that has been hostile toward the building and business communities, the measure was defeated by 188 votes out of more than 3,700 cast.
More than 600,000 valid signatures are needed by Feb 1, 2008 to get the Hometown Democracy amendment on the ballot. Third parties report the current tally to be around 150,000 signatures, but insiders say they allegedly have more than 300,000 signatures in hand.
If that amendment were in effect, voters in Palm Beach County in 2003 to 2004 would have had to vote on 1,500 changes to their local comprehensive plan, bringing a halt to development and ringing up a loss of thousands of jobs.
In the meantime, more local anti-growth measures are likely in coming months.
For more information on the Lake Worth Super-majority amendment, e-mail Wayne Berstch with the Florida Home Builders Association.
For information on NAHB’s political operations, e-mail Gideon Lett, or call him at 800-368-5242 x8585.