Text of an email I sent out this evening.
I do believe that, as residents of Ohio in this
election year, it is in fact impossible to not know that Tuesday,
November 6 (tomorrow or today, depending on when you read this) is
election day. And perhaps, like me, you've voted already (I'm lucky to
be in Washington, DC for election night coverage from a social media
warroom at the NPR headquarters - you can read more about that here if you're interested). If you have voted, thank you. If not, I hope that you plan to.
Becaue I've received multiple inquiries about the ballot issue
that Pepper Pike voters will vote on, I wanted to share with you what
I've shared with those who've contacted me individually. I've been told
it's helpful, but just in case, I've also attached the Mayor's 10/15/12
letter to residents that includes an FAQ about the ballot issue. [Please let me know if you would like it emailed to you - it's not attached here and is in pdf form so I'm unable to upload it to this blog]
The ballot issue is for voters to approve or reject a charter
amendment. As background, the charter for the city sets up the basic
structure of the city's government. Then, there is the code for the
city, also sometimes
called the ordinances. These are the laws that govern the city. Both
are legally binding sections of law.
The zoning laws are often
referred to as the zoning code and are part of the ordinances (or code).
The charter, as it is currently written, says that Council is unable to change
anything whatsoever in the zoning laws - no matter how big (map changes
- like changing a residential area to a commercial area) or how small
(change a setback requirement) unless Council places it on the ballot for all
voters to vote on - every single time, no matter the change.
mayor proposed the charter amendment on the ballot this year so that the Council can take up
text changes (but not map changes) to the zoning code and begin to
update the entire zoning code. Residents will retain the right of
referendum (i.e., putting an issue on the ballot that they believe all
residents should vote on) on such legislation, but the referendum would have to be pursued
after Council has gone through its process for giving public notice of
the legislation, having council sessions during which the legislation
would be discussed and then having a public vote on the legislation.
The charter amendment you are being asked to vote on includes provisions
that Council wanted in there in order to protect residents. These include, among others:
1. Residents can sign up to receive notice from the city when such legislation is coming up for public meetings
2. Any such proposed legislation cannot be voted on as an emergency declaration (which would remove the right to referendum)
All such proposed legislation must pass with a vote of at least 5
council members in favor (most legislation requires only a quorum which
Ultimately, I would like to see our city pursue a
comprehensive zoning overhaul process through which resident input is
sessions are held and we then work with a
planner to inform the zoning law changes. However, this ballot change to
the charter will assist in addressing outmoded provisions now while we
do, hopefully, press for a more comprehensive, needed review and
overhaul of the entire zoning code.
Stay safe, please vote and have a great week.
Thank you as always,