The environmental group Florida Hometown Democracy wants the public to vote on every change to a city or county's comprehensive plan--a proposal the state's business groups say is dead wrong because it would lengthen the development process, effectively strangling growth.
Since it's highly likely Hometown Democracy will collect the 611,009 signatures it needs to put the proposal on the November 2008 ballot, a coalition founded by the Florida HBA, NAHB, and the Florida Chamber of Commerce started a petition drive this week to offer an alternative to the Hometown Democracy proposal.
The new business group, Floridians for Smarter Growth, says a more reasonable approach is to have 10 percent of the local electorate sign a petition at the county supervisor's office requesting a ballot initiative on a land use change.
Wayne Bertsch, political director for the Florida HBA, says the coalition's challenge will be to educate the public on how Hometown Democracy's proposal would require a vote on just about every public project.
"If you follow through on their idea, the proposal would impact government projects, roads, schools, parks, siting a trash station, even locating a cell tower," explains Bertsch, who says the business group is reaching out to the teacher's unions, AFL-CIO, PTAs, and school boards to defeat the proposal.
"We want people to leave their differences at the door to defeat Hometown Democracy," he says, pointing out that slowing down development would all but kill any efforts to build smart growth projects that would bring modern, mixed-use, walkable communities to Florida-development Bertsch says is important to attracting businesses to the state.
Learn more about markets featured in this article: Orlando, FL.