Florida’s Amendment 4

Purposed amendment 4 will be decided in Florida’s state wide election on-November 2, 2010. If passed by Florida voters, amendment 4 will change the process of local land use planning and shift final approval of comprehensive land use decisions from the county commission to a public voting referendum.

The originators and supporters of amendment 4, Florida Home Town Democracy Inc. headed by Palm Beach attorney Lesley Blackner has fought for ballot inclusion since 2007 in a controversial initiative effort. Now on the 2010 ballot the proposed constitutional change is in response to allegations of mismanagement of Florida’s growth. Supporters basically argue the current system of Florida’s development planning is flawed due to corrupt local politicians and special interest pandering. The proposed solution is to strip the approval power from the elected commissioners and place it in the hands of the voting public.

The opposition to amendment 4 includes a long list of business orientated groups including the Florida Association of Realtors. Arguments in opposition seem to be about unintended consequences rather than objection on principle. Consistent arguments include the following:

  • Likely increase in taxpayer cost to administer local referenda and any cost due to litigation in the courts.
  • Likely stalemate in development decisions costing jobs and a death toll for any possibility of economic recovery.
  • Actions in St. Pete beach have demonstrated the planning model of Home Town Democracy is flawed and proved to be unworkable.

As Florida Realtors, we value the attributes our state offers and agree that Intelligent growth management is vital to maintaining an attractive Florida Lifestyle. It is unfortunate in some Florida counties that the growth planning process has run afoul due to incompetence and/or greed. Obviously Florida’s tax base and economic engine run primarily on the developmental growth of the state. A radical game change at this time could very well be the economic “nail in the coffin”. Perhaps an alternative approach with long term appeal such as monitoring and adding transparency to the planning process and diversifying the state economic base to be less dependant on tourism, development and construction could bring a well needed balance to tax collection and employment.

Relevant Links:

Florida Comprehensive Land Use Plans, Amendment 4 (2010)


Please contact us, Marie Avery and Terri Ayers, at 941-358-1818, if you have any questions about our Florida Real Estate market.

About Marie Avery


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