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Growth management advocates say they won't oppose Hometown Democracy

1000 Friends of Florida, the non-profit growth management watchdog group, has decided to shift its position from opposing to neutral on Amendment 4, which requires that local voters approve any amendments to their cities and counties comprehensive growth management plans.

Vicki Tschinkel, chairwoman of group, said that while they believe that Amendment 4 could serve as a catalyst for change to they cannot endorse the amendment because they worry it could result in piecemeal planning and "engender many media campaigns" that would have inordinate influence on the outcome. She said the result may be "planning gridlock" and "retaliation" from the Legislature in implementing the amendment if it were to pass and blames lawmakers for punishing the agency in charge of regulating growth management in Florida, the Department of Community Affairs.

Nathanial Reed, chairman emeritus of 1000 Friends of Florida, said that despite the flaws to the amendment, "we also recognize that the on-the-ground results of the existing growth management system are far from perfect and need major improvement." He added that "the torpedoes that have been sent against the Department of Community Affairs make me literally ill" and suggested "it is very frightening for the future of Florida."

Charles Pattison said that if Amendment 4 were to pass, however, 1000 Friends would work with local governments and citizens "to develop a fair, economical way to implement Amendment 4."

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