Let’s Vote committee reaches signature threshold for West Steamboat annexation election
Editor’s note: This story was corrected on April 2. A special election would take place after the City Council makes a determination as to whether the referendum petition is sufficient or insufficient.
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — The petition that would put the annexation of 191 acres west of current Steamboat Springs city limits to a public vote collected 1,223 unverified signatures.
If 1,078 verified city voters signed the petition, it will trigger a referendum election on an ordinance annexing the land into the city. This number is the equivalent to 10 percent of the total number of registered voters in Steamboat in the 2017 municipal election.
The annexation ordinance would incorporate 191 acres slated for development as West Steamboat Neighborhoods, a project that proposes to build 450 housing units during the next 16 to 20 years.
“The ball is just starting to go through the maze,” said Paul Stettner, a member of the Let’s Vote Committee that circulated the petition.
In order for a signature to count, City Clerk Julie Franklin must verify it by matching the petitioner’s information with what’s on file in the Routt County clerk’s voter rolls. Each person must be a registered voter within the city limits, and names and addresses must match what’s on the petitioner’s voter registration.
The clerk’s office has until March 17 to verify those signatures.
“You just never know until the clerk goes through it and comes back with an answer,” Stettner said. “If it does, we’ll feel pleased that the citizens have the opportunity to speak up.”
If 1,078 of those signatures are verified, the annexation ordinance will be on a ballot. If the petition is insufficient after the verification process, the petition committee will have 10 days to “cure” the petition by collecting more signatures.
City code states that a vote on a referred ordinance must be held 30 to 90 days from the date of the final City Council vote on the ordinance, holding a special election if necessary.
After three years of negotiations, the Steamboat Springs City Council narrowly approved an ordinance annexing the property. Council members who voted against the ordinance cited the fact that it wouldn’t go to a public vote as one of the reasons they opposed it.
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