Chambers All Encourage “No” On Amendment 4

Chambers All Encourage “No” On Amendment 4
By Sharon Still
The SouthShore Alliance, comprised of The Greater Riverview, Apollo Beach and Ruskin-SouthShore chambers of commerce recently held an informational meeting to educate members on the proposed Amendment 4, dubbed “Florida’s Hometown Democracy,” that will appear on this November’s ballot. The board of Directors of all three chambers have voted to oppose Amendment 4 and are looking to the community for support.Amendment 4 is a proposed amendment of Florida’s constitution which would require taxpayer-funded referenda on all changes to local government comprehensive plans. As opponents call it, the “Vote on Everything” amendment would force Floridians – not the representatives they elect – to decide hundreds of technical comprehensive plan changes each year. These plan changes include everything from road improvements and traffic signals to additions of government buildings and public recreational facilities. Land Use Attorney Ron Weaver, a guest speaker at the event, stressed the negative economic impact that Amendment 4 would have if passed, citing that 267,000 jobs in Florida would be lost, having a total economic impact of more than $34 million (see economic impact study on Website). “Growth management is not perfect,” Weaver told the crowd, “however, with the passing of Amendment 4, representative democracy will go out the window and comprehensive planning will become comprehensive chaos.”St. Pete Beach passed a slightly altered version of Amendment 4 in 2006, and Kathleen Peters, mayor of neighborhoing South Pasadena Beach, discussed the unfavorable results affecting the small town. “The area has become a battleground for special interests, it has erased growth management and cost taxpayers high litigation fees,” she noted. She added that, to date, the citizens of St. Pete Beach have seen nearly a dozen lawsuits that have cost local taxpayers almost three-quarters of a million dollars in legal fees. When St. Pete Beach voters approved four pro-economy changes to their comprehensive plan in 008, Amendment 4 lawyers sued to overturn the results of the election. Nearly two years later, the people of St. Pete Beach are still defending their vote in court. “If we lose this one, we lose big,” stressed Apollo Beach Chamber President Greg Conley. “We would like our chamber members to become disciples and spread the word.”Visit www.florida2010.org for further details on Amendment 4 or call The Apollo Beach Chamber of Commerce at 645-1366.
Caption: Land Use Attorney Ron Weaver recently addressed the SouthShore Alliance members about the negative impacts of the proposed Amendment 4.