Thursday, March 17, 2005

Fla Supremes Strike "Hometown Democracy" Amendment - Ballot Summary Misleading

In a victory for anyone who actually cares about the process and contents of planning, but a close call on representative democracy and "ballot summary" writing, the Supremes bounced the Hometown Democracy Amendment in this opinion .

By a slim 4-3 majority, they found that the first line of the ballot summary - "Public participation in local government comprehensive land use planning benefits Florida’s natural resources, scenic beauty and citizens" - was misleading because comprehensive plans involve much more than these values. All 7 justices found that the amendment meets the single subject requirements.

Three justices, Quince, Lewis and Anstead, dissented from the determination that the ballot summary was misleading. Lewis wrote one dissent, that Anstead joined, and Quince wrote another, that Lewis and Anstead joined. The dissenters found the ballot summary no more misleading than others that had been approved :) and would have let the voters decide.

While I have some serious qualms about the reasoning, I have to admit relief that this won't go before the voters, as it would have resulted in the complete gutting of growth management. The sponsors seems to completely miss that if the planning process turns into a popularity contest (locking Florida into backward looking plans that screw up our ability to handle growth for decades to come), the Legislature could - and I believe would - simply repeal the consistency doctrine. Let the plan say whatever, and simply disconnect zoning and land use from it again.

No comments:

Post a Comment