Petitioner withdraws from impact fee suit

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— One of the five petitioners suing the city for denying their request to bring impact fees to a vote has decided to quit the case.

Teri Billingham said Wednesday she is not interested in the action against the city, even though she has been part of the petitioners committee since its inception on June 29.

Billingham said she did not want to participate "in light of what is going on in the world right now" but that she still supports the other petitioners in their suit.

"I still feel that impact fees should be voted on," she said.

Attorney Bob Weiss, who is representing the petitioners, said Billingham's withdrawal should not have a major impact on the case.

City Council members have claimed the petitioners are connected to the development industry and are motivated by financial interests. On Sept. 20, 30 days after the City Council denied their petition asking the city to repeal impact fees or bring them to a vote, the five petitioners filed suit against the city.

The petitioners are not looking for monetary damages from the city, but are hoping to force either a city-wide vote or a repeal of the fees.

The fees are charged on all new development, costing the builder of a new single-family detached home about $4,000.

The petitioners' argument hinges on a discrepancy between the city charter and the state constitution in terms of how many signatures are required to force a vote on an issue.

The charter demands 20 percent of the registered voters at the last municipal election sign, while the constitution asks for "no more than 10 percent" of voters. Because the petitioners had 889 signatures out of an electorate of 7,980, they fell between the 10 and 20 percent requirements.

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