Last week, I wrote the following after an online chat with Ryan Houck, executive director of Citizens for Lower Taxes and a Stronger Economy, the group behind the “No on 4″ campaign:

Houck offered a counter-proposal during the chat. He said cities should conduct “visioning projects,” which involve “obtaining the input of thousands of citizens through planning sessions and workshops and developing a cohesive strategy for a community over a period of decades.” That, he said, would lead to more responsible planning, without the negative side effects.

Rebecca Eagan, a reader (and Amendment 4 supporter) from Winter Park responds:

The answer to your own article title’s question, “aside from Amendment 4, what are Florida’s growth management options?” is that there are none.

Ryan Houck’s helpful-sounding (but bogus) “counterproposal” of “visioning projects” which “obtain the input of … citizens through planning sessions” has been a staple ploy of developer-coached county planning divisions for several years now, in order to feign “public participation,” while neatly pulling the wool over citizen-participants’ eyes by assuring them that their input counts, when — after a big show of soliciting and recording it — that “input” ultimately is tossed in the trash and the scheme developers and planners wanted in the first place is announced as the most practical and desirable for all and adopted with little debate by the Board of County Commissioners.

This certainly happened with “Innovation Way” in Orange County, and it didn’t take us duped participants long to realize we’d been had.

So, thanks Mr. Houck, but I’ll take Amendment 4.

The letter has been lightly edited for clarity and punctuation. Background on the Innovation Way project can be found here.

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