Hometown Democracy Amendment Battle Heats Up

By: Whitney Ray Email
By: Whitney Ray Email

Development decisions about where to build roads, homes and businesses are left up to elected officials, but soon voters could have the final say. Amendment Four would require voter approval to change city and county blueprints for growth.

“This is designed to put the citizens back in the driver’s seat,” said John Hedrick.

John Hedrick a spokesman for Hometown Democracy, says Amendment 4 would encourage smarter growth.

“The voters are just saying we want to have the say-so if you want to go ahead with projects in a way that’s different than permitted under the comprehensive plan. If they want to do it according to the comprehensive plan, they won’t have any problem whatsoever,” said Hedrick.

Business groups have been fighting to keep Hometown Democracy off the ballot for the past four years. Opponents say if the amendment passes there would be fewer jobs for construction workers.

Florida Chamber of Commerce President Mark Wilson said a slow down in development would deepen the recession.

“What the special interests behind Amendment 4 want is no jobs and no growth and what the Hometown Democracy amendment would do is it would put tens of thousands of plan amendments on the ballot,” said Wilson.

Which would mean many more costly elections. Sixty percent of voters will have to approve Amendment Four in order for it to become law. There are still 17 months until the election and both sides will be spending millions of dollars to pursue those voters.

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