Florida Voters Reject Antigrowth “Hometown Democracy” Amendment

Missing in the grand national debate over Republican Party gains in Congress were numerous local initiatives that could have dramatically curtailed freedom. One of those was a proposed constitutional amendement in Florida (Amendment 4), dubiously titled “hometown democracy,” that would have required every plan amendment to go to a vote of the general public in a municipality. The amendment needed 60 percent support to be passed. Less than one third of Floridians voted in favor.

The advocates tried to sell it as citizen based planning, but it really was a veiled attempt to stop new growth. Putting “citizens in charge,” as a practical matter, just ensures that the entire process is completely political and devoid of any market-based or even cost-benefit calculation. Proponents claimed it was simply another example of special interests outspending grassroots supporters. In truth, it was bad planning and bad policy.

Reason Foundation has researched the effects of land use planning on housing development in several studies, including one of Florida, and my academic research on ballot-box zoning simply reinforces the point.