Sunday, September 18, 2011

St. Pete Beach intervenes in Constitutional Challenge to Community Planning Act

Another city has piled onto Yankeetown's constitutional challenge to the Community Planning Act (HB 7207, signed into law as ch. 2011-139, Laws of Fla.). Recall that Yankeetown challenged the Community Planning Act on grounds that it unconstitutionally delegates power to the State Land Planning Agency to define certain terms. Yankeetown also challenged the Act for more technical reasons, including that it was adopted in contravention of the single subject requirement and that it was read by a misleading and inaccurate title.

The twist is that the new local government has moved to intervene as a defendant. In late August, St. Pete Beach moved to intervene in Yankeetown v. DCA (37 2011 CA 002036). If its motion succeeds, it will enter the case aligned with the State Land Planning Agency and possibly the State. St. Pete Beach would then be opposed to Yankeetown. In this case, St. Pete Beach claims an interest in the action through an adopted plan amendment that would be uncertain if the act were struck down. Section 76 of the Act states:
A comprehensive plan amendment adopted pursuant to s. 163.32465, Florida Statutes, subject to voter referendum by local charter, and found in compliance before the effective date of this act, may be readopted by ordinance, shall become effective upon approval by the local government, and is not subject to review or challenge pursuant to the provisions of s. 163.32465 or s. 163.3184, Florida Statutes.
St. Pete Beach's motion to intervene doesn't tip its hand beyond showing the city is clearly interested in the outcome of the case. However, the backstory hints at the city's intentions. St. Pete Beach, readers will remember, formerly had a referendum requirement similar to sought by advocates of Hometown Democracy. It's now embroiled in even more lawsuits - the most recent seeks to overturn the city's referendum that eliminated its comprehensive plan referenda requirement and to overturn the city's reinstatement of a comprehensive plan that was invalidated by a circuit court judge.

We should see more filings in the case soon.