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Florida Constitution Amendment 4

Posted by Enkill_Eridos on August 3, 2010

Referenda Required for Adoption and Amendment of Local Government Comprehensive Land Use Plans (Constitutional Amendment 4)

Article II, Section 7. Natural resources and scenic beauty of the Florida Constitution is amended to add the, following subsection:

Public participation in local government comprehensive land use planning benefits the conservation and protection of Florida’s natural resources and scenic beauty, and the long-term quality of life of Floridians.

Therefore, before a local government may adopt a new comprehensive land use plan, or amend a comprehensive land use plan, such proposed plan or plan amendment shall be subject to vote of the electors of the local government by referendum, following preparation by the local planning agency, consideration by the governing body as provided by general law, and notice thereof in a local newspaper of general circulation. Notice and referendum will be as provided by general law. This amendment shall become effective immediately upon approval by the electors of Florida.

For purposes of this subsection:

    1. “Local government” means a county or municipality.
    2. “Local government comprehensive land use plan” means a plan to guide and control future land development in an area under the jurisdiction of a local government.
    3. “Local planning agency” means the agency of a local government that is responsible for the preparation of a comprehensive land use plan and plan amendments after public notice and hearings and for making recommendations to the governing body of the local government regarding the adoption or amendment of a comprehensive land use plan.
    4. “Governing body” means the board of county commissioners of a county, the commission or council of a municipality, or the chief elected governing body of a county or municipality, however designated.
Establishes that before a local government may adopt a new comprehensive land use plan, or amend a comprehensive land use plan, the proposed plan or amendment shall be subject to vote of the electors of the local government by referendum, following preparation by the local planning agency, consideration by the governing body and notice. Provides definitions.

The amendment’s impact on local government expenditures cannot be estimated precisely. Local governments will incur additional costs due to the requirement to conduct referenda in order to adopt comprehensive plans or amendments thereto. The amount of such costs depends upon the frequency, timing and method of the referenda, and includes the costs of ballot preparation, election administration, and associated expenses. The impact on state government expenditures will be insignificant.

Florida law requires each local government to adopt a comprehensive plan. Comprehensive plans may be amended at least twice per year, as provided by law. The proposed constitutional amendment requires local governments to conduct a vote, by referendum, before adopting any new comprehensive plan or amendments to the comprehensive plan. The vote would be conducted after preparation of the plan or amendment by the local planning agency and consideration by the governing body.

Based on information provided through public workshops and collected through staff research, the Financial Impact Estimating Conference determined that local governments which adopt plans or propose comprehensive plan amendments will incur additional costs related to the referendum requirement. Nevertheless, the amendment’s impact on local government expenditures cannot be estimated precisely. The financial impact statement is developed from the following considerations:

* Presenting additional issues to the voters entails increased costs. Those costs exist regardless of the method by which local governments choose to conduct the vote – special or general election, whether by mail ballot or at the polls. Given the large volume of amendments adopted between 2001 and 2005 (an average of 7,878 amendments and 1,062 packages per year) and the number of new incorporations (nine new incorporations since April, 2000), it is highly improbable that special elections can be avoided.

* To this point, the survey responses from local government planners and county supervisors indicate the majority of local governments anticipate the volume of proposed plan amendments would remain the same. Therefore, any fiscal impact related to increased or decreased volume of amendments would be insignificant. Further, while fewer proposed amendments may be adopted, the costs of the referenda to get to this outcome still exist.

* The proposed constitutional amendment does not specify how local governments would present amendments on the ballot, or how often referenda will occur. At a minimum, general election costs will be increased by additional expenditures for printing ballots, and noticing and advertising the ballot information. Costs to conduct a special election are even greater.

* Based on past experience, the minimum cost per special election for an average-sized county ranges from $143,300 to $287,700; for an average-sized city from $10,500 to $22,000. Assuming every Florida voter is impacted by a single special election, costs would range between $10 million and $20 million. If the least-cost method (mail ballot) is selected, and assuming special elections affect just 25% of the voters, the cost would likely be in excess of $2.4 million.

* The impact on state government expenditures will be insignificant.

* State and local revenue sources will not be increased or decreased directly.

All this proposition does as far as I can tell,  gives the citizens a voice on what improvement projects should be allowed as far as new roads, new lights etc. It gives the citizen more control in government spending. I really don’t see the problem with it, mainly because I feel this is how it should be. Something major like a new toll road, or the widening of a state highway, should be up for public vote. As it is our tax money paying for it. Not only on the state level, but on the local county and city level as well.
Here’s the problems that this could cause: Any major development projects including, roads, building section 8 housing, street lights, etc. It would take a year or two longer. This is because we would have to wait for the voters to vote yes or no on it.
But then again we live in a democratic republic. We live in a nation that is based on the citizens having a say in government issues.  For too long the citizens has just let the government do whatever. We need to own up to our mistakes. The problems that are happening in this country is not because of Conservatives, Liberals, or any other political or religious groups. It is because the citizens allowed these bad decisions to happen. So we are just as guilty as the Bush Administration, in getting where we are now. We need to stand united and rise up as a nation.  We need to show the corporations who really is in charge, and that is the citizens. We need to shed the corrupt ways of the past,  and move together. I believe this Proposition is a step in the right direction.
Change doesn’t happen with just a President with Change as his slogan. It happens when the citizens allow it to happen, and try to facilitate that change as long as it doesn’t take away from the Constitution. Because any law that takes away freedoms given to the Constitution, and by the blood of those who was willing to defend it. Means that those that gave their lives for those freedoms did so in vain.  To honor those that gave their lives in the service of this great country, we should try to protect the values of the Constitution and the freedoms afforded by the Constitution from any enemy foriegn and domestic.  That is our right and duty as American citizens. To make sure ever American citizen has the same opportunity, no matter what their social class is, no matter what religion they are.  So when you vote this November, remember those names on the walls, remember the pictures of those that have died recently, remember the sacrifice your grandfather and great grandfathers were so willing to make in the name of truth, justice, and the American way. Prop 4 for the Florida citizens, I feel support these things.

2 Responses to “Florida Constitution Amendment 4”

  1. Resa said


    • Why Vote Yes on Amendment 4? Reckless real estate speculation has crashed our economy and our home values, and diminished our quality of life. Irresponsible local officials have let much of this happen by approving harmful changes to local comprehensive land-use plans. We taxpayers pay for the roads, schools, and water and sewer services for new development. We should get a vote. Even when developments sit empty, we pay. Amendment 4 will make politicians more accountable.

    • How Would It Work? YOU will get a vote on growth and development in your community. Today, politicians exclusively control future development: they have the exclusive power to approve or deny development-related changes to local comprehensive land-use plans. Amendment 4 adds one new step to this process: YOU.

    Under Amendment 4, your city or county commission will study, hold public hearings, and vote on proposed changes to the local comprehensive land-use plan, just like they do now. You will veto or approve their decision on the next regularly scheduled Election Day. It’s that simple. Amendment 4 doesn’t require special elections.

    • What Would I Vote On? Amendment 4 requires voter approval only of local comprehensive land-use plan changes. Amendment 4 does not apply to the more frequently- decided individual development approvals, re-zonings, or variances.

    Under Amendment 4, you’ll decide if a proposed plan change serves the public interest and makes your community a better place to live. If the majority votes yes, the change will happen. If the majority votes no, the change doesn’t happen.

    • Why Bother? Our homes and our communities are too important to leave in the hands of politicians and lobbyists. We-the-people keep getting stuck with the costs of clogged roads, crowded schools, and needless pollution. Speculators and politicians get rich at our expense. Just look around Florida today: Real estate speculators got so many rubber-stamped approvals from politicians that they overbuilt, crashed our economy, and wrecked our home values. Now we are stuck with the bill.

    Sometimes, when things get so out-of-whack, the people need to rise up and provide balance. It is time to try a new approach. Hometown Democracy is a nonpartisan, common-sense reform movement of Floridians from all walks of life. We lost our voice to the big moneyed interests– let’s win it back with our votes.

    To learn more, visit http://www.FloridaHometownDemocracy.com

    To volunteer, call us at (866) 779-5513, or email us at FloridaHometown@yahoo.com. Send a donation to Florida Hometown Democracy, P.O. Box 636, New Smyrna Beach, FL 32170-0636 Pd.Pol. Adv. By Florida Hometown Democracy, Inc. PAC


  2. You forgot corporations. Sure building house creates jobs. But only a small percentage is kept after the jobs are done. If you are for the corporations and politicians in charge of starting these developments..I would like everyone to look at hernando county. Sure more apartments have come up. But yet there are new developments. Some have been postponed because profits are low. Plus what about widening of streets that have the county buy homes? I think the citizens should have had a formal vote on something like this. We need to go back to a Constitutional America. You know where the citizens have supreme voice on anything and everything that effects them. From corporations getting major tax-breaks by out-sourcing to other countries taking jobs away from Americans. Or a government funded healthcare system for every citizen. Proposition 4 is not just a land use bill. It is the first step in American citizens saying, I want a more active role in government. We the American people are ready for a government where the citizens have supreme power. The government that is guaranteed to always act in the best interest of every citizen. We want all the freedoms and responsibilities of a citizen of the United States of America. We now live in an age that not only makes this possible, but it is the only way a true American Constitutional Government can exist.


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