Florida Growth Management Initiative (2008)

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The Growth Management Initiative did not appear on the November 4, 2008 statewide ballot in Florida as an initiated constitutional amendment. The measure would have allowed Floridians to call for voter approval of changes to local growth management plans if 10% of the voters in the city or county sign a petition calling for such a referendum.

This initiative was inspired by fear of the Hometown Democracy Amendment, another initiative seeking placement on the 2008 ballot and one that Growth Management Initiative backers call "irresponsible," "unworkable," and "dangerous."[1]

Each county and city in Florida, at the time, had what was called a comprehensive plan. A "comp plan" laid out the county or city's plans for the use of its land. Under current law, county and city governments could vote to change their comp plans. The Florida Hometown Democracy Amendment, if approved, would have amended the Florida Constitution to require that when a county or city wants to change its comp plan, each such change would have to be placed on the ballot in the form of a referenda for the voters to choose.[2] The Growth Management Initiative would require that proponents of such a referendum collect signatures of 10% of voters in the city of county on petitions before such a referendum would be required. And petitions could only be signed at the county supervisor of elections office.


Floridians for Smarter Growth was the sponsor of the initiative. The Florida Chamber of Commerce also supported the initiative.

Floridians for Smarter Growth stated on its web site:

Extreme special interests are promoting another irresponsible amendment to the Florida Constitution. Their so-called "Hometown Democracy" amendment--a statewide "Vote on Everything" initiative--would imperil Florida's prosperity. And they are trying to mislead Florida voters to gain support for an unworkable and dangerous idea.

Floridians know our unique quality-of-life is linked to a healthy environment. And we know we must plan and grow smarter than we have in the last decade. But the Vote on Everything amendment will require all Floridians to vote 200 to 300 times more each year, deciding even the tiniest planning change. This will lead to far less planning, increased urban sprawl, much more traffic, higher property taxes, and anemic municipal services.

In fact, the net effect of the Vote on Everything amendment--a dead stop for smarter growth in Florida--will destroy our state's strong economy.[3]

According to Adam Babington, leader of the Chamber of Commerce's effort on constitutional amendments:

We're supporting a smarter, more responsible way to manage growth, versus the irresponsible, reckless approach being taken by Hometown Democracy.[4]


The Florida Hometown Democracy political action committee (PAC), which called itself "a grass-roots, nonpartisan group who recognize that putting the people in charge of the places where they live is key to a sustainable future of our state,"[5] opposed this initiative.

According to an article in the Tampa Tribune:

Hometown Democracy founder Lesley Blackner accused the chamber of using a "tricky subterfuge" to confuse voters about the two initiatives.

"They are so worried," said Blackner, a Palm Beach lawyer. "I think they just want to wreak havoc in any way possible."

She accused chamber officials of hypocrisy because of their continuing efforts to make it more difficult for citizens to pass constitutional amendments with initiatives. For example, the chamber successfully lobbied the Legislature last year to put an amendment on the ballot requiring a 60 percent favorable vote to pass an initiative.

"Their No. 1 goal was to stop citizens from petitioning to change the Florida Constitution; now they're using this Trojan horse," Blackner said.[6]


The initiative was approved for circulation by the Florida Secretary of State. To be placed on the ballot, 611,009 valid signatures needed to be submitted by January 25, 2008. This measure did not make the ballot.

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