Petrogram - Summer 2010 - (Page 21)
Practical Experiences with Land Use Planning Via Referendum
Cary Gaylord Gaylord, Merlin, Ludovici, Diaz & Bain
n the winter 2009 edition of Petrogram, I wrote about the anticipated damage of Amendment 4 coming before Florida voters on November 4, 2010. Since that article was written, detailed information has been published around the state that should be considered by anyone who is undecided or in favor of this amendment.
The St. Pete Beach Experience On October 20, 2009, Ward Friszolowski, a former mayor of St. Pete Beach, wrote a special letter to the Tampa Tribune about the city’s experience with voting on every proposed change to the town’s comprehensive plan. He called it “the cautionary tale of St. Pete Beach.” In 2006, a group of concerned citizens responded to the city’s approval of land use changes that encouraged commercial development by successfully petitioning an electorate of 10,000 to reject the city’s changes and vote on all future changes. The result was that the city of St. Pete Beach couldn’t get anything done. The town couldn’t comply with state mandates to update its comprehensive plan. The business climate became chaotic. The tourism-based economy withered and the City Commission was powerless to react. City leaders quickly realized that necessary changes couldn’t be condensed into 75-word ballot questions. The voting process proved to be similar to what could be expected with the passage of Amendment 4. By 2008, voters were frustrated and on June 3, 2008, voted to approve a new economic plan in spite of the difficulty imposed by the “vote on every amendment” process. Ironically, the original group of citizens who wanted a vote on every land use change contested the results of the June 2008 election. In hindsight the original petitioning group was more “anti-growth” than “pro-vote.” To date, this little community that traditionally budgets $200,000 per year for all its legal services has spent more than $500,000 simply litigating over two elections. What’s worse is that there is no end in sight to litigation expenses over the voting process. According to Mr. Friszolowski, the supporters of an Amendment 4 process have filed a total of six lawsuits and
numerous administrative challenges as of the date of his letter to the Tampa Tribune. Does anyone think that Florida can afford this kind of chaos on a statewide basis?
What Would it be Like to “Vote on Everything”? On November 20, 2009, the Palm Beach Post wrote, A favorite expression among Hometown Democracy supporters is that even though the proposed constitutional amendment has flaws, the system couldn’t be any worse than it is now. That’s not true. Ballots statewide would be full of jargon-laden, irrelevant junk. In order to remove the mystery about what a sample community ballot would look like, Citizens for Lower Taxes and a Stronger Economy put together a sample ballot that was published on February 18, 2010, at www.florida2010.org. The group looked at Orange City, a community with a population of approximately 6,600 located in Volusia County. The 2005 amendments to the city’s comprehensive plan were researched. Based on their review, the taxpayers and residents of Orange City would have been required to vote on almost 500 separate
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Petrogram - Summer 2010
Petrogram - Summer 2010
Out & About the Industry
2010 Convention and Sunshine Food & Fuel Expo
MDM Services Completes Quick Turnaround Facility
Index of Advertisers/Advertiser.com
Petrogram - Summer 2010