Source: The New Pelican | Author: Judy Wilson | Date: September 30, 2020


On the assumption it is necessary to protect Home Rule, city officials in Broward County have coalesced to oppose Amendment Two on the Nov. 3 ballot.

An initiative of the county commission, the amendment would allow the county to supersede municipal zoning and permitting laws when building projects on county land are funded by transportation surtax monies.

The Broward League of Cities and the Broward County City Manager’s Association are leading the opposition.

Pompano Beach City Manager Greg Harrison provided a map showing areas where the county has significant holdings. The largest is at Copans and Powerline roads north of Tradewinds Park. In all, the county operates 33 properties within the city limits including wastewater treatment centers, park and nature centers, a detention facility, library and health center.

Harrison heads of the Broward County City Managers’ Association. “It is our job to ensure residents are educated on this amendment,” he said.

In Deerfield Beach, City Commissioner Todd Drosky is on the League’s Board of Directors. Although, at this time, his city is minimally affected by the amendment with no undeveloped county land within its borders, Drosky is on board to show solidarity with other cities.

To demonstrate his support, Drosky said he will ask the city commission to join in the lawsuit filed by the City of Weston which requests the amendment be removed from the ballot on the grounds it is not fairly presented to inform voters and is misleading and misstated. 

The complaint states the amendment ignores local zoning, permitting, construction, operations and administrative regulations. A hearing before Judge David Haimes is set for Wednesday, Oct. 28. Drosky said the city’s contribution would be $2,500.

“Any other developer in our area has to abide by our rules,” he said. “This [the amendment] is a grab of Home Rule powers. It is not in the spirit of cooperation.”

Drosky said joining Weston’s lawsuit will give the issue momentum. He expects other cities will follow. And with mail-in ballots already in the hands of voters, he said there is little time to educate them as to the impact of the amendment.

Like other cities, Deerfield has mounted a social media campaign using its website and Facebook to explain the issue to the voters. “UNCOVER Amendment Two” argues that passage of the amendment will mean “that city ordinances will be overruled by county ordinances.”

Said Deerfield Beach Director of Communications Rebecca Medina-Stewart, “This is a complete violation of the cites’ Home Rule protections. This city would have no say on whether or not county projects meet our permitting standards. That is unfair to the taxpayers.”

Cities across the state are in a continuous battle with Tallahassee to maintain local codes, she noted. “Now we’re fighting our own county.”

County Commissioner Lamar Fisher dissented when the ballot issue came up for a vote.

A former mayor of Pompano Beach, Fisher said he doesn’t approve of the country “dictating to the cities,” adding “Although I am all for transportation connectivity, I am not in favor of stepping around local ordinances.”

Fisher pointed out the amendment includes both vacant and improved land and any property bought by the county in the future that might be developed for transportation purposes.

Ballot question

“To facilitate implementation of surtax-funded improvements to the countywide transportation system, shall the Broward County Charter be amended to provide that county ordinances regulating the development, including zoning, permitting, construction, operation, or administration, of transportation improvement projects that are (1) on county-owned or county-leased property and (2) funded in whole or in part with proceeds from the transportation surtax approved by the county’s voters in 2018, prevail over conflicting municipal ordinances?”


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