Florida ballot question would let voters OK real estate development plans

Pop quiz: What is a comprehensive development plan?

Floridians might want to bone up. In November, on a ballot jam-packed with gubernatorial, congressional and other races, voters will be asked to consider an experiment in direct democracy that aims to alter the course of the state's chief economic activity: real-estate development.

The proposed Amendment 4 to Florida's state constitution sounds relatively straightforward. It would require voter approval of changes to the lengthy and complex comprehensive plans that guide development in cities, towns and counties across the state, giving voters a direct veto over decisions by elected officials.

But just what that entails, including what precisely would come before voters should the measure pass, and how often, is the subject of considerable uncertainty and acrimonious debate.

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