Floridians can stop developers from destroying our environmental lands and habitats for monetary gains. Poor development choices never benefit the communities in which they are made. Right now there is a proposed state constitutional amendment that would prevent city and county commissioners from being able to change comprehensive land use plans. This is how a great deal of developement happens when it should not. The amendment would put this power in the hands of the people, who would vote on whether a developer should be allowed to change the land use plans in order to develop. There is a petition that Floridians can sign that will be sent to the State Supreme Court encouraging the inclusion of the amendment on the 2008 ballot. If you want to control the destiny of your communities, sign the petition.
This is the web address where the petition is located: http://www.floridahometowndemocracy.com/
In their words:
In 1985 Florida adopted the “Local Government Comprehensive Planning and Land Development Regulation Act,” popularly known as the Growth Management Act. This law was adopted to save Florida from bad, uncontrolled development and the parade of problems that inevitably follow it:
· overcrowded schools
· gridlocked roads
· overwhelmed municipal services like fire, police,
garbage, sewage, hospitals
· higher taxes, fees and utility costs
· paved over open space and wildlife habitat
· declining, polluted water supply
· widespread environmental degradation
· eroded quality of life for the average Floridian
The Growth Management Act states that a proposed development that is not consistent with a comprehensive plan should not be approved by a local government. For example, if a proposed development will contribute to the overcrowding of a road or a school, or stress a community’s water supply, or devour wildlife habitat or green space, the proposed development is not consistent with the comprehensive plan and it should not be approved.
Each town, city and county has a comprehensive land use plan that is designed to make sure uncontrolled, bad development does not ruin Floridians’ quality of life and the environment. But comprehensive plans can’t work if they can be easily changed. That’s what has happened in Florida. Comprehensive plans are being changed willy-nilly by vote of city or county commissions to accommodate development that shouldn’t happen. Changing a plan designation from agricultural to single-family residential, or increasing density on a parcel, or changing height restrictions on beachfront parcels to allow skyscrapers – all those require comp-plan amendments. It is well documented that developers are among the biggest campaign contributors to local politicians. The result has been predictable: most elected officials have never seen a development they wouldn’t approve. They just can’t say no to bad development proposals.
Did you know that when your city or county commission votes on a comprehensive plan change, those officials are exercising the people’s power? When a city or county council votes to approve a land use change, they are supposed to do so on the grounds that the change will not harm the public interest, which is defined very broadly to include all those concerns that make a place a good community: protection of public health, safety, quality of life, the beauty of a particular place and the environment. Too often local officials in Florida define the public interest as being the developers’ economic return. And other values for the community- quality of life, uncrowded schools, managed population growth, clean water – are not being given any consideration.
Too often our local officials forget that they are standing in the shoes of the people, forget that they are supposed to represent the entire community when a proposed land use change comes up for vote. Land use decisions affect people and communities more than almost any other governmental decision.
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