Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Bill would ban Florida cities from having land-use elections

TALLAHASSEE — St. Pete Beach and other Florida cities wouldn't have the right to require elections to approve changes to land-use plans under a provision introduced on the House floor Friday.

Authored by Rep. Dean Cannon, the House plan comes in response to a growing push to require such votes by residents fed up with rampant development. The angst has spawned a slow-growth statewide ballot initiative by Hometown Democracy. The measure, which could make the ballot in 2010, would require local governments statewide to hold votes on major development decisions.

St. Pete Beach officials who support the referendum process blasted Cannon's move for stripping the public's control, as did Lesley Blackner, president of Hometown Democracy.

But Cannon, R-Winter Park, said his bill provides other avenues for public input by requiring public meetings about a proposal before it is approved and reducing the number of times local government can amend its plan from twice to once a year.

He said using a referendum can cause problems, making it harder for projects such as affordable housing to be approved. Existing state law prohibits referendums on projects involving five or fewer parcels.

"We're not taking away any power of the residents to make a preference about their quality of life," Cannon said. "We're only saying … these groups can't use the comp plan to do it."

St. Pete Beach Commissioners Harry Metz and Linda Chaney were both part of Citizens for Responsible Growth, a residents' group that petitioned for the right to vote in St. Pete Beach in 2005.

Yankeetown later joined the beach city, and places such as Treasure Island also allow votes on other changes, such as building height.

"The people have a right to vote on their comprehensive plans, and it has nothing to do with the county or the state," Metz said.

Cannon, in line to be House speaker in 2010, persuaded the House to add the prohibition in a major bill (HB 7129) heading for a vote before the session ends Friday. He has asked top lawmakers in the Senate to consider the same.

Times researcher Caryn Baird contributed to this report. David DeCamp can be reached at or (850) 224-7263.

Bill would ban Florida cities from having land-use elections 04/25/08 [Last modified: Monday, April 28, 2008 10:17am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. President Trump offers prayers for Kissimmee police


    President Donald Trump reacted to the police shooting in Kissimmee:

  2. Kissimmee police officer dies, one gravely wounded; Jacksonville officers shot


    KISSIMMEE — A Kissimmee police officer died and a second was gravely wounded Friday night, police Chief Jeff O'Dell said.

    Two police officers have been shot and killed in Kissimmee, authorities say. The shooting happened in the area of Palmway and Cypress around 9:30 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 18, 2017. Photo courtesy of
  3. Longest home run at Trop and Erasmo Ramirez's pitching doom Rays (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Kevin Kiermaier returned. The problem was, so did Erasmo Ramirez.

    Seattle Mariners first baseman Yonder Alonso (10) scores on the double by Seattle Mariners designated hitter Nelson Cruz (23) in the first inning of the game between the Seattle Mariners and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Friday, August 18, 2017.
  4. 'Road to Nowhere' is back: Next phase of Suncoast Parkway coming


    Despite intense public opposition and dubious traffic projections, the Florida Department of Transportation has announced that construction of the toll road known as "Suncoast 2" is expected to start in early 2018.

    The Suncoast Parkway ends at U.S. 98 just south of Citrus County. For years residents have opposed extending the toll road, a project dubbed the "Suncoast 2" into Citrus County. But state officials recently announced that the Suncoast 2 should start construction in early 2018. [Stephen J. Coddington  |  TIMES]
  5. Jameis Winston's hardest lesson: He can't always save the day


    TAMPA — Ever wonder what in the world goes through Jameis Winston's mind when he tries to fit the ball in a keyhole as he is being dragged to the turf like he was during Thursday night's 12-8 preseason win over the Jaguars?

    Jameis Winston, left, tries to hang on to the ball as Jaguars defensive end Dante Fowler tries to strip it from him.