by Penny Wheat, Chair 2020 Alachua County Charter Review Commission
After significant public debate and discussion, the 2020 Alachua County Charter Review Commission (County CRC) voted to place 4 charter amendments on the November 3rd ballot. Public outreach resulted in numerous published media reports, and during 20 meetings in 9 months, the County CRC considered 80 proposals submitted through the online form – more than any previous charter review commission. The amendments are:
County Growth Management Area
If approved by voters, this amendment would establish a “County Growth Management Area.” A map of the proposed County Growth Management Area is available on the County CRC website at: http://ac2020crc.us/
On land within the Area, the County’s comprehensive plan and land development regulations would exclusively govern land development, even if a parcel of land is later annexed into the boundaries of a city. Designed as a compromise, it provides areas outside existing city borders where cities can still exercise land use control after annexation.
The amendment also allows the County Commission, by a supermajority vote, to remove property from the County Growth Management Area.
Affordable Housing Trust Fund
If approved by voters, this amendment would establish an Affordable Housing Trust Fund to create and sustain affordable housing. The County Commission can fund the Trust Fund from fees on new commercial and residential development and other sources and accept donations of any kind. The County Commission would be required to administer the fund, obtain an annual audit, and spend any funds in the Trust Fund only to support affordable housing. The charter amendment does not itself create or authorize any new taxes or fees.
“Cleanup” Amendment Removing Unconstitutional Provisions
If approved by voters, this amendment would remove two unconstitutional and unenforceable provisions from the County Charter.
First, the amendment would remove a provision that unconstitutionally prohibits protections based on sexual orientation, sexual preference, or similar characteristics.
Second, the amendment would remove a provision that imposes unconstitutional residency requirements for Alachua County Commission candidate qualifying. Florida Constitution [Article VIII, Sec. 1(e)] and Florida Law require County Commission candidates to reside in their district upon election.
Candidate Treasurer Reports
If approved by voters, this amendment retains the existing requirement that candidates for county office file campaign treasurer reports electronically — but removes the requirement that they also file the same campaign treasurer reports on paper. Suggested by the Supervisor of Elections, this amendment modernizes the campaign finance disclosure process in Alachua County.
These ballot proposals, in English and Spanish; an explanation of the ballot items; the Final Report; Florida law on County Commission residency requirements; a link to the County Charter; and other documents are available on the CRC website: http://ac2020crc.us/ The Alachua County webpage https://alachuacounty.us/Pages/AlachuaCounty.aspx has a link to a further explanation of County charter amendments and a YouTube video.
2020 Alachua County Charter Review Commission
Doug Bernal, Kali Blount, Scott Camil, James Ingle, Nick Klein, Joe Little, Pradeep Kumar, Stan Richardson, Tamara Robbins, James Thompson, Kristin Young, Penny Wheat