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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Hometown Democracy poised for 2010 ballot



A controversial constitutional amendment that would require cities and counties to get voter approval  before moving ahead with major changes to their land use plans has obtained the required number of voter signatures to get placed on the November 2010 ballot.

The group sponsoring the amendment, Florida Hometown Democracy, announced today that the Division of Elections has verified 691,896 of the 676,811 signatures needed to place it on the November ballot. But, the group notes in its press release: "Don’t break out the champagne just yet.''

The Florida Legislature last year passed a law, backed by developers and the Florida Chamber of Commerce, that would allow voters to revoke their signatures even after they have been submitted for review. Many of those revocations have forced Hometown Democracy would have to scramble to collect more signatures in critical areas of the state. Lesley Blackner, a West Palm Beach-based land-use lawyer, who is one of the founders of the petition drive, has challenged the law in the Florida Supreme Court and is asking the court to expedite its decision on that case.

Meanwhile, a chamber-backed group called Floridians for Smarter Growth is gathering signatures for a rival ballot amendment that would require voter approval on land use plan changes only if 10 percent or more of a community's registered voters sign a petition in person at the local supervisor of elections office to support the vote.

[Last modified: Thursday, September 9, 2010 6:05pm]


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