Referendum procedure set for Steamboat 700
No petitioners registered day after council OKs annexation
October 15, 2009
Steamboat Springs — On the first day after the Steamboat Springs City Council approved the annexation of the Steamboat 700 development, no petitioners had registered to create a referendum to bring the issue to a citywide vote.
According to a memo about referendum procedure created by city attorney Tony Lettunich, petitioners have 30 days from the day after the vote to form a petitioners’ committee, gather the necessary number of signatures and file the petitions with the office of the city clerk.
As of Wednesday afternoon, City Clerk Julie Franklin said no documents were filed to start the referendum process.
The Community Alliance of the Yampa Valley will not be involved in the referendum procedure, Vice President Richard Levy said Wednesday. He said the group decided to not pursue the referendum because it is a divisive subject and because the City Council addressed some of the group’s concerns with the annexation before it was passed.
“I think that one of the reasons we’re not going to be participating in the petition is that the Community Alliance fully participated in the process with the council,” Levy said. “We achieved some of those goals by participating there, and trying to overturn (the annexation) would be : I’m trying to think of a word other than ‘hypocritical.'”
He said concerns remain about the development’s attainable housing, affordable housing and water issues.
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City Council members Meg Bentley and Steve Ivancie tried to put the annexation to a voluntary public vote, but their motion failed in a 2-5 vote late Tuesday night. The annexation was approved, 4-3, with Council President Loui Antonucci and Councilmen Walter Magill, Jon Quinn and Scott Myller supporting the annexation. Council members Cari Hermacinski, Ivancie and Bentley voted against the proposal. The annexation is expected to bring about 2,000 homes, 380,000 square feet of commercial space and 4,700 residents to the western edge of the city in the next 20 to 30 years.
Anyone who wants to create a referendum must first form a group of five registered voters to register as the referendum committee. The group then must collect signatures from 10 percent of the voters registered in the last municipal election.
“The County Clerk and Recorder’s office has confirmed that at the time of the 2007 municipal election, which is the ‘last regular municipal election,’ there were 8,285 registered electors in the city. Therefore, a petitioners’ committee would have to obtain at least 829 signatures on a referendum petition to have the ordinance referred back to City Council,” Lettunich wrote in the memo.
If a petition is filed in the case, the council then must either repeal the annexation ordinance or bring the ordinance to a city vote.
“By agreement with Steamboat 700 any special election on a referendum regarding the Steamboat 700 annexation would be an all mail ballot, just as the November 3, 2009 regular municipal election will be an all mail ballot, with no polling places,” Lettunich wrote.
“Given the time frame set forth for circulating and confirming the sufficiency of a petition and any supplemental petitions and City Council meeting dates, it would appear that a special referendum election would occur in January or February 2010.”
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