Florida voters reject land-use amendment
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Voters overwhelmingly rejected Tuesday a proposed state constitutional amendment that would have drastically changed the development approval process in Florida.
Amendment 4 would have required voter approval to change city, town and county comprehensive land-use plans.
Opponents included business groups, developers and some labor unions and they spent more than $12 million. They said Amendment 4 would seriously damage the economy, cost jobs and make it more difficult to lure companies to the state. They also said it will also cost municipalities tens of thousands of dollars or more to run the required elections.
With 85 percent of the expected vote counted, the measure trailed 67 percent to 33 percent. Like all proposed amendments, it would have required 60 percent approval to pass.
“That’s not just no, it’s heck no,” said Ryan Houck, executive director, Citizens for Lower Taxes and a Stronger Economy, the main group that worked to defeat the measure. “Voters have sent the message loudly and clearly that they are against the antigrowth sentiment that backed this amendment.”
The backers, who called the measure “Florida Hometown Democracy,” included environmental organizations, civic associations and slow-growth advocates. They said Amendment 4 would protect the environment and reduce congestion and urban sprawl.
Lesley Blackner, the president of Florida Hometown Democracy, issued a statement on the group’s website Tuesday evening.
“Unfortunately, it is very difficult to have a rational discussion of a solution to Florida’s horrible growth management problem in 30-second television ads that cost millions of dollars to air,” she wrote. “We nonetheless respect the voters’ judgment at the ballot box.”