Petition drive to put zoning on June 3 ballot likely to begin

By Kay Hoffer

  As the Terry Town Council performed its second reading to adopt zoning last week — the final step required before the measure will become law 30 days afterwards — a local ballot issue committee is revving up its efforts to oppose the measure.

Using the referendum process, the “For a Better Terry without Zoning” committee, has completed its final step in preparing a petition drive to put the zoning ordinance up for a vote on the June 3 Primary ballot. 
The FAB group will likely begin gathering signatures now that Prairie County Attorney Garry Bunke has approved the group’s petition in a January 28 letter.
Noting minor wording changes, Bunke’s letter states, “I have researched the matter and find that the proposed form of petition follows the legal requirements set out in state law. Specifically an ordinance may be referred by the governing body to a vote of the people. Here the Town of Terry did not choose to submit the ordinance in question to a vote of the people. Electors have the right to challenge ordinances by the process chosen by FAB.”
The group will need to gather 61 signatures in order to have their ballot statement placed before the voters at the June 3 Primary Election. The proposed ballot statement would ask voters whether they are for repealing the zoning ordinance or whether they are against repealing the zoning ordinance.
Prairie County Election Administrator Toni Kalfell said the group brought the proposed ballot statement to her office on January 10. 
“They’ve followed all the steps to get it on the ballot,” Kalfell said. “Now they just need the signatures.”
Kalfell said her office hasn’t received any questions regarding the petition drive. She further explained those signing the petition may not necessarily be opposed to zoning but “prefer to see it go to a vote.”
Typically two or three individuals will gather signatures during a petition drive, Kalfell said, and noted signatures for this particular petition must be from registered voters living within the Town of Terry.
“I’m not sure what they’re intentions are,” Kalfell said of the FAB group’s petition drive method.
Signatures must be gathered prior to the ordinance’s effective date or within 60 days after the passage of the ordinance, according to state statute.
The Town of Terry’s zoning ordinance will become effective February 22.

Published January 29, 2014

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