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Hometown Democracy: yay or nay?Voting on Land Use Burdensome

As a farmer, consultant and real estate professional in Florida, I feel it’s a terrible mistake to gloss over the fundamental shift proposed by the Hometown Democracy amendment—taking land use decisions out of the hands of professionals and placing it in the hands of the general public.

[Editor’s Note: This amendment would give voters —not elected officials who serve on city and county commissions—final say on all zoning decisions.]

Not only will the costs dramatically increase for an applicant, but so will the financial burden placed on the local governing body that has to provide for the voting process.

I’m not a lawyer, but I do believe, as a landowner, that I have certain rights to pursue the highest and best use of my property as allowed by the local comp plan, land-use plan, and other zoning and land development codes.

Allowing the voting process to replace or override what’s in the best interests of a community—to replace or override the existing legal process—is clearly an erosion of my existing private property rights. It’s a bad idea no matter how you disguise it.

Tim Williams
Seber Associates Inc.
Lake City

There’s No Place Like Home
The sun shines brightly in an almost cloudless sky, just as it has for the last 45 years I’ve lived in Florida. The lapping of the waves on Fort Myers Beach and Sanibel still have a hypnotic, peaceful and tranquil rhythm.

 Nothing has changed much here in paradise, except that the media continues to bash our wonderful home. Home sales are disastrous; but the landscaping is phenomenal. Taxes are terrible; but what a day it was on the golf course! Insurance premiums are through the roof, but wow, the Gulf of Mexico is crystal clear. Interest rates keep creeping up; I can’t wait to wake up to the most beautiful place I’ve ever lived.

If it’s so bad … why do so many people long [for] and dream of being here? If the economy is in the trash can, why do I enjoy golfing, boating and a wonderful walk on the beach?

If the papers continue to address the problems with the Florida real estate market, maybe the traffic will let up.

There’s no place in our great United States that I’d rather be, and I’m so thankful that I’m living in Southwest Florida. Just try and chase me out! Keep up the doom and gloom, media. I’m sure the appreciation on your home will be worth it!

Terri Lodge
Century 21 Sunbelt Realty
Fort Myers

Editors Note: Get the word out! Upset about the way the media is portraying the market? Then, give them historical information that helps them with their stories. For tips on how to work with reporters to become their go-to real estate resource, see “Media Smarts”on page 46.

Let’s Share Disaster’s Burden
Many states are prone to disasters such as floods, tornadoes, fires, storms and mudslides, as well as hurricanes. Shouldn’t there be a fund shared by all 50 states for disasters? Not one of the states is immune.

Jo Hickey
RE/MAX Realtec Group Inc.
Palm Harbor

In the February issue’s “Taxing Matters” article, two of the 2007 IRS filing deadlines reported on page 50 should have been April 17, not April 15, for personal and partnership returns or extensions with the IRS and October 15, not August 17, for extensions to be filed.

Submit letters to “Editor” via e-mail to, mail to P.O. Box 725025, Orlando FL 32872-5025, or fax to (407) 438-1411.

Letters are edited for space and clarity. Publication of a letter does not constitute an endorsement of the writer’s views by the Florida Association of Realtors®.