Petition for 700 vote succeeds | SteamboatToday.com

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Petition for 700 vote succeeds

City manager confirms enough verified signatures to return annexation to City Council

The Let’s Vote committee collected about 1,500 signatures, according to chairwoman Cindy Constantine, far surpassing the 829 signatures required by the city's home rule charter.Matt Stensland

— City Manager Jon Roberts confirmed Tuesday that there are enough verified petition signatures to return the Steamboat 700 annexation to Steamboat Springs City Council and potentially put the proposal to a public vote.

"The city clerk has verified enough signatures on the petition to qualify for the referendum," Roberts said.

The Let's Vote committee circulated petitions across Steamboat Springs after the City Council approved the Steamboat 700 annexation in a 4-3 vote Oct. 13. The committee collected about 1,500 signatures, chairwoman Cindy Constantine said last week, far surpassing the 829 signatures required. That number represents 10 percent of Steamboat Springs registered voters in the last regular municipal election.

Constantine could not be reached Tuesday.

City Clerk Julie Franklin said she stopped the verification process after reaching 829 verified signatures, "plus about 100" more. On Tuesday afternoon, 57 petitions sat in a stack in Franklin's office, each with 48 lines for signatures. Not all of the lines contained a verified signature, and many were blank, but the volume indicated a sweeping effort.

Franklin said she would present a certificate of the petition's sufficiency to the City Council on Dec. 1. The annexation ordinance will return to the council Dec. 15, she said. The City Council can either repeal the ordinance or put it to a public vote, which must occur between 30 and 90 days after that decision. Following that timeline, a public vote on the Steamboat 700 annexation could occur in late January through early March.

The successful petition drive will suspend the approval of Steamboat 700, which proposes about 2,000 homes and 380,000 square feet of commercial space just west of the current city limits.

Danny Mulcahy, Steamboat 700 principal and project manager, said the development team has long been aware of a possible public vote, and that suspension of the annexation's approval "doesn't change anything that we weren't already aware of."

"We've always supported this process," Mulcahy said Tuesday. "We agreed to pay for the election, we agreed to only require 10 percent of the signatures. … We never expressed any opposition to people trying to sign a petition."

Mulcahy said the Steamboat 700 team recently conducted a survey of residents, "to take a snapshot of what the community is thinking," but declined to expand on the survey's results.

"We're confident that residents will see that our plan is good for Steamboat Springs and that this is the best step forward for the community, and we're going to work hard to get our message out there," he said.

A public vote on Steamboat 700 would be an all-mail election. Steamboat 700 would pay for the election, which is stipulated in its annexation agreement.

Some say Steamboat 700 would give the city a smart place to grow, provide affordable housing and help pay for needed city improvements. Others say the annexation is too large, is happening too fast and does not adequately address impacts to the city's water supplies, traffic and more.

The Let's Vote committee consists of Steamboat residents Omar Campbell, Greg Rawlings, Terry Armstrong, Tim Rowse and Constantine.

To reach Mike Lawrence, call 871-4233 or e-mail mlawrence@steamboatpilot.com