ST. PETE BEACH — A series of proposed city charter changes, including eliminating required voter approval of structure height and density, were approved by the City Commission on Monday night.
The controversial changes to the charter encapsulate nearly a decade of bitter political disputes over development issues and the kind of city residents want in the future.
Lawsuits over voter-approved changes to the Comprehensive Plan have cost the city nearly $1 million in legal fees.
At one point in the more than three-hour debate, one resident begged the commission "for this insanity to stop."
Other proposed charter changes include banning the ability of voters to propose or repeal ordinances, making initiative and referendum rules much tougher, and putting the city clerk position under the complete supervision of the city manager.
In order for voters to get a chance to decide the issues on March 8, the commission must again approve the proposed changes and related ballot questions at a special meeting Jan. 4.