Citizens Initiative Hot Issue at Real Estate Conference; Amendment Seeks to Change the Way Developers Get Approval for Land-Use Changes

By Calnan, Christopher | The Florida Times Union, March 19, 2004 | Go to article overview

Citizens Initiative Hot Issue at Real Estate Conference; Amendment Seeks to Change the Way Developers Get Approval for Land-Use Changes


Calnan, Christopher, The Florida Times Union


Byline: CHRISTOPHER CALNAN, The Times-Union

There was nothing but blue-skied comments about Jacksonville's real estate market during a half-day conference Thursday. But clouds of doom suddenly appeared with the mention of the Florida Hometown Democracy Amendment.

"This amendment is potentially the most damaging thing that could happen to our industry," said Roger O'Steen, chairman of real estate developer The Parc Group. "It's an area of great concern, and it's going to take a lot of effort and money to fight it."

Jerry Mallot, executive director of the Jacksonville Regional Chamber of Commerce, said the effort's name may illegitimately evoke patriotic sentiments from the public.

"It's very concerning," he said.

The comments followed nearly two hours of glowing reports about Northeast Florida's real estate industry during the Eighth Annual First Coast Real Estate Outlook conference at the Adam's Mark hotel.

The amendment is a citizens initiative that seeks to change the way developers get approval from local politicians for land-use changes. It would require voters to approve changes to county comprehensive plans before enactment.

Supporters want the amendment placed on the ballot by this fall's elections, and they need 500,000 signatures to do that. …

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