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Editorial: Florida lawmakers threaten local control

It is a more than 300 miles from Brevard County to Tallahassee. If some Florida lawmakers get their way, residents of Brevard's 16 communities would have to make that 5-plus hour drive each time they wanted to address local issues involving ordinances, regulations and future plans. That is according to a recent newspaper editorial.

The Treasure Coast Newspapers believe that state legislators are trying to subvert a bedrock of Florida government: home rule. Part of the state constitution, home rule enables local governments to establish local building codes, zoning ordinances, sign regulations, locations of adult businesses, bar-closing times and so on.

The newspaper's editorial board wonders what would happen to Florida if state legislators preempted local governments' statutory rights. "Here's hoping we never have to find out," the editorial states.

They point out that in spring, a Palm Bay lawmaker proposed a law that "would have prevented local governments from adopting or imposing new regulations on businesses, professions or occupations unless those rules already were expressly permitted."

While House Bill 17 failed, the legislature did approve 8 other laws that hamper the abilities of local lawmakers to listen to their constituents and craft local regulations.

The editorial warns that state lawmakers appear to be eager to further curtail local control of local regulations.

We do not take political positions in this space, but we do want to keep readers abreast of matters that affect local development plans and our quality of life.

An attorney experienced in zoning and land use matters can help homeowners and businesses protect their rights, property and interests.

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