• Cyburbia is a friendly big tent, where we share our experiences and thoughts about urban planning practice, planning adjacent topics, and whatever else comes to mind. No ads, no spam, no echo chambers. Create your FREE Cyburbia ID, and join us today! You can also register through your Reddit, Facebook, Google, Twitter, or Microsoft account.

Put planning to the vote?

Jeff

Cyburbian
Messages
4,161
Points
27
Absoluely not!

A large portion of the population does not understand the effects of different land uses on the surrounding areas. In FL I could see driving ranges everywhere, simply because people want them. Bad example but you get the point right?
 

jordanb

Cyburbian
Messages
3,232
Points
25
While I think it's a bad idea it's a natural reaction to heavy-handed planning.
 

H

Cyburbian
Messages
2,850
Points
24
Mike D. said:
Absoluely not!

A large portion of the population does not understand the effects of different land uses on the surrounding areas. In FL I could see driving ranges everywhere, simply because people want them. Bad example but you get the point right?

Good example. Point made.

But there is much wrong with the current system as well. Its stems from what michaelskis is saying in the "and so it ends... NOPE... It is going to go on..." post.

corruption, corruption, corruption and local politicians who dont listen to anybody but their own pocket books and agendas.

EDIT: I am somewhere in the middle on this one.
 

biscuit

Cyburbian
Messages
3,904
Points
25
I agree with Mike D 100% on this one. If people aren't smart enough or too apathetic to vote out the corrupt and greedy local politicians who don't listen then what qualifies them to make difficult land-use related decisions? We live in representational democracy, and I for one am a little uncomfortable with this trend of "rule by referendum."

Beware the tyranny of the majority
 

Jeff

Cyburbian
Messages
4,161
Points
27
Dude couldn't you just see it now...Wal Mart and Starbucks on every corner, because nobody wants to drive the 10 minutes to get to the one in the next town over.
 

gkmo62u

Cyburbian
Messages
1,046
Points
24
This trend is a very bad one. Throw the rascals out, I say, if they are making bad Land Use Decisions.

It could easily become a tyranny of the majority.
 

Repo Man

Cyburbian
Messages
2,550
Points
25
Horrible idea! If these people don't like the way that they are being represented by local officials, vote in people that support your ideas. Do you think any vacant land that is located adjacent to existing residential neighborhoods would ever get rezoned to anything but open space if people could vote on re-zoning?
 

Duke Of Dystopia

Cyburbian
Messages
2,713
Points
24
A friend of mine who grew up near Red Granite, WI has said the people in the county near there refused to put any kind of land use plan together at all because it interfeered with thier property rights.

I laughed very loud with a mean spirit, these people will be very unhappy when the rest of the state detirmines that they could easily fill up the old rock quaries with garbage and there is nothing they can do about it. Once that happens once or twice, those who count (show up to vote) would change their minds rapidly.

With communities and thinkers like this, we know where to put garbage! :) ( In a green way of course, but the gargbage still has to go somewhere) :)
 

BKM

Cyburbian
Messages
6,464
Points
29
jordanb, you are again proving that you don't know much what you are talking about.

"Heavy-handed planning?"

You ain't seen nothing until a city passes a referendum that makes any major development/annexations require an election. (Davis, California, for example) That's heavy-handed planning.

Out in California, the land of ballot-box planning, NIMBYism uses ballot box planning to severely limit housing development. Very few ballot box initiatives are related to "heavy handed" zoning regulations.

Still, it is indeed the wave of the future. And, despite my concerns, I tend to still fall somewhat in the middle (becauee of corruption/the good ol boy network, etc). I am just concerned about how many of these efforts turn out.
 

Chet

Cyburbian Emeritus
Messages
10,624
Points
34
Bad idea.

Some of the best plans have no public input.
 

Cardinal

Cyburbian
Messages
10,080
Points
34
Chet said:
Bad idea.

Some of the best plans have no public input.
Just some? If I could just talk to a select group of people when putting together a plan, that is what I would prefer. As soon as the public is invited, the crackpots start showing up.
 

Chet

Cyburbian Emeritus
Messages
10,624
Points
34
Michael Stumpf said:
As soon as the public is invited, the crackpots start showing up.
Including "Witchawd"

(That was for Prudence only, sorry folks especially those of you with bad hearing and speach impediments) :)
 

Rem

Cyburbian
Messages
1,524
Points
23
I agree with the sentiment that politicians who make bad land use (or other) decisions should be voted out. The problem most of you face of course if the poor level of voter turnout for elections. You end up with unrepresentative government.

I don't support the notion that pure democracy requires electoral participation to be optional. A push for mandatory voting would be a more effective measure to increase democractic participation and representation in land use and other public policy debates.
 

Cardinal

Cyburbian
Messages
10,080
Points
34
Rem said:
I agree with the sentiment that politicians who make bad land use (or other) decisions should be voted out. The problem most of you face of course if the poor level of voter turnout for elections. You end up with unrepresentative government.

I don't support the notion that pure democracy requires electoral participation to be optional. A push for mandatory voting would be a more effective measure to increase democractic participation and representation in land use and other public policy debates.
Since I'm not in favor of widespread public participation in planning, it only stands to reason that I don't favor it in voting, either. If people are too stupid, are apathetic, or simply don't care to vote, so be it. The ones who are more educated and concerned will vote, and that is too much as it is. If we could get down to about ten percent of the population - those really capable of making a good, informed decision - voting in our elections, we would be far better off than if everyone voted.
 

H

Cyburbian
Messages
2,850
Points
24
Michael Stumpf said:
Since I'm not in favor of widespread public participation in planning, it only stands to reason that I don't favor it in voting, either. If people are too stupid, are apathetic, or simply don't care to vote, so be it. The ones who are more educated and concerned will vote, and that is too much as it is. If we could get down to about ten percent of the population - those really capable of making a good, informed decision - voting in our elections, we would be far better off than if everyone voted.
Okay, what is worse, voting with out knowing the facts and educated on the issues or not voting at all? I think the first is worse. And hey, I have been guilty of this. When I was 18 I walked into the poll booth and hit straight Republican ballot. I didn’t know a soul on it, but its sounded like the best way to vote according to the family, friends, and media. Wow was that stupid. I really did the country a disservice that day.

When voting goes bad.....:(

Edit: now I research and skip what I don’t know on the ballot.
 

Rem

Cyburbian
Messages
1,524
Points
23
I agree with Michael and Huston that uninformed voting is unfortunate but when you are only dealing with small electorates, don't the greater risks of self-interest and manipulation increase. Consider the thread Michaleskis started on small town politics - I agree with your earlier comments, Michael, about the magnification of the politics of favouritism in smaller towns. I've worked in a small town and agree with the points made (though politics does seem to be more laid back generally in Aus. than the US).
 

pete-rock

Cyburbian
Messages
1,551
Points
24
EG said:
FLA: Learn to count, then vote.
:) I didn't expect that from you, EG. Cool.

Planning by referendum has got to rank as one of the worst public policy ideas in a long time. All it takes is one guy with big bucks and a modicum of political skill to change the entire landscape of a community.
 

H

Cyburbian
Messages
2,850
Points
24
According to NPR this morning, this movement for petition signatures is gaining momentum fast and has a chance of getting on the ballot.

watch out felllow floridians....
 

ecofem

Cyburbian
Messages
206
Points
9
Sounds like a party, Huston. I think they're also going to put some sort of abortion-thing on the ballot in Florida.
 

donk

Cyburbian
Messages
6,970
Points
30
If this poasses, what they should do is make every person pass a reading comprehension test realted to the application and the Zoning By-law before they are able to vote on the subject.

Seriously, this is nuts, I can see now the length of time and cost for rezoning skyrocketing and taking so long that no one can do anything. That's it, this proposal is sponosored by the BANANAs growers federation.
 

H

Cyburbian
Messages
2,850
Points
24
ecofem said:
Sounds like a party, Huston. I think they're also going to put some sort of abortion-thing on the ballot in Florida.
I have not heard about that, but am not suprised.
 

Tranplanner

maudit anglais
Messages
7,903
Points
35
The optimist in me says it could be a good thing - in the long run, getting people more involved will lead to better communities.

The pessimist in me agrees with most of what has been said here - growth will stop, decisions will be based on emotion not on what is best for the community, and vote-buying will become de rigeur.
 

biscuit

Cyburbian
Messages
3,904
Points
25
Huston said:
According to NPR this morning, this movement for petition signatures is gaining momentum fast and has a chance of getting on the ballot.

watch out felllow floridians....
This really pisses me off. Governance by referendum is just a way for elected representatives to skirt their responsabilities and avoid voting on controversial subjects. The public is way too fickle and really isn't educated enough to vote on specific issues, and frankly I for one would rather someone smarter than myself mulling over the hard questions.

If this tred continues it will make it virtually impossible to pass any progressive legislation.
 

SGB

Cyburbian
Messages
3,388
Points
26
Since NHPlanner hasn't said it yet, I'm gonna:

It sound to me like the New Hampshire Town Meeting form of government is what they want!

Been there, done that......
 

lowlyplanner

Cyburbian
Messages
69
Points
4
I'm going to come in as the devil's advocate here for a moment...

The website is exactly right about the lack of oversight from DCA on the comp plans - our town did around 80 amendments last year... small scale and semi-annual (i.e. large scale). Generally people want to change the Land Use designation of their property so they can develop.

Is there a point to designating Land Uses in the comp plan if owners can change them at will?

I'm not saying that allowing people to vote on them is the best idea, but the current Growth Management system is clearly broken.
 

jordanb

Cyburbian
Messages
3,232
Points
25
BKM said:
jordanb, you are again proving that you don't know much what you are talking about.

"Heavy-handed planning?"

You ain't seen nothing until a city passes a referendum that makes any major development/annexations require an election. (Davis, California, for example) That's heavy-handed planning.

Out in California, the land of ballot-box planning, NIMBYism uses ballot box planning to severely limit housing development. Very few ballot box initiatives are related to "heavy handed" zoning regulations.
I have no doubt that it would be a very bad thing and a tool for NIMBYs. I know too much about Greek democracy to support very much direct democracy.

My point is that considering the way it currently is, a bunch of unelected bureaucrats have incredible amounts of power over people's lives, often not for the better, it's completly natural that people would lash out this way.
 

Mud Princess

Cyburbian
Messages
4,896
Points
27
Repo Man said:
Do you think any vacant land that is located adjacent to existing residential neighborhoods would ever get rezoned to anything but open space if people could vote on re-zoning?
And the problem is.... ? ;)



I agree that government by referendum can be very dangerous, no matter where you are on the political spectrum. There could bea referendum to allow gay marriages (for example) in one state and a referendum to ban abortions in another.

"Join with Floridians who are tired of bad development that increases our taxes, ruins our communities and wrecks our quality of life." Who decides what's bad development? I'm not saying the professionals are always right, but at least they have the objectivity (hopefully) and expertise to make a recommendation.
 

plannerkat

Cyburbian
Messages
204
Points
9
jordanb said:
My point is that considering the way it currently is, a bunch of unelected bureaucrats have incredible amounts of power over people's lives, often not for the better, it's completly natural that people would lash out this way.
Well, in my Florida City, the only things that "unelected bureaucrats" have the final word on are fence heights, setbacks, and some historic preservation certificates of appropriateness. These all can be appealed to our (elected) City Council if the applicant does not like the administrative decision. Zoning and land use changes must be approved by the full City Council. At least where I am, any "power" we bureaucrats have over people's lives is kept in check by our elected officials.

Frankly, much of the opposition we see stems from neighborhood grudge matches and insecurity with one's position in society (or, I'm on the brink of bankruptcy from buying way too much house, how dare that developer build houses on lots the same size as mine! of course, "drainage" is always the reason cited that we should deny the change). I will agree with my comrade lowlyplanner that the Florida growth management system is broken. However, will turning the power to make land use decisions over to the yahoos who think zoning regulations are the root of all evil unless the rezoning request is down the street from them really going to improve things?
 

ecofem

Cyburbian
Messages
206
Points
9
plannerkat said:
..... However, will turning the power to make land use decisions over to the yahoos who think zoning regulations are the root of all evil unless the rezoning request is down the street from them really going to improve things?
In a roundabout way... Gov. Jeb sure seems to think so.
 

lowlyplanner

Cyburbian
Messages
69
Points
4
These people are not complaining about 'heavy handed' planning - they're complaining about Florida's history of encouraging development regardless of the fiscal impacts and impacts on the character and quality of life in their communities.

/ Begin rant

The business of Florida has always been growth, encouraging people to come here, either to visit or to stay. It doesn't take a genius to figure out that when you economy is mostly based on adding 1,000 people a day and building houses, McDonalds, gas stations, etc. for them, that's not a sustainable model.

/ End rant

The comp plan effects large scale development, e.g. changing a couple of hundred acres of Agricultural to Low Density Residential (subdivisions). It doesn't, or shouldn't, effect most individuals interaction with planning, such as setbacks, lot coverage, etc.
 

ecofem

Cyburbian
Messages
206
Points
9
lowlyplanner said:
I'm going to come in as the devil's advocate here for a moment...

The website is exactly right about the lack of oversight from DCA on the comp plans - our town did around 80 amendments last year... small scale and semi-annual (i.e. large scale). Generally people want to change the Land Use designation of their property so they can develop.

Is there a point to designating Land Uses in the comp plan if owners can change them at will?

I'm not saying that allowing people to vote on them is the best idea, but the current Growth Management system is clearly broken.
I agree that the current Growth Management system is broken. However, I think the current "hands off" policy of DCA is a result of the Jebster. Everything I've heard come out of Tallahassee is that it is only going to get worse (if that's possible).

I think DCA needs to be the hardass agency it was intended to be once upon a time.
 

Wulf9

Member
Messages
923
Points
22
Just another case of people (usually ultra conservative) who go to the state government to limit local government contol. Here in California, it was Prop 13 and subsequent constitutional amendments that take away local funding (giving funding to the state that then dug a $38 billion dollar financial hole).

The more power you give the state to control local laws and actions, the less local control you actually have.

This "trust in big government" seems completely opposite the ultra conservative agenda, but they are into it big time.
 
Top