Election Day and Charter Amendment Ballot Issue for Pepper Pike

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.

The 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)

3. All such proposed legislation must pass with a vote of at least 5 council members in favor (most legislation requires only a quorum which is 4).

Ultimately, I would like to see our city pursue a comprehensive zoning overhaul process through which resident input is obtained, public 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,

No comments: