West Steamboat annexation election still possible as Let's Vote Committee submits amended petition | SteamboatToday.com

West Steamboat annexation election still possible as Let’s Vote Committee submits amended petition

Brynn Grey Partners would develop this area west of the under-construction Overlook Park subdivision into three neighborhoods west of Steamboat Springs. (Photo by John Russell)
John Russell

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — The question of whether or not the annexation of land West of Steamboat Springs will go to the ballot hasn’t been decided.

Steamboat Springs City Council passed an ordinance annexing the land on Feb. 5, which is slated for development into three neighborhoods as west Steamboat Neighborhoods. The Let’s Vote Committee circulated a referendum petition, requesting that City Council send the issue to voters.

If the petition garners enough signatures, City Council would have to decide to either repeal the ordinance or hold a special election. Only voters within city limits could vote in a referendum election on the annexation ordinance.

When the city clerk verified the petition, it had 835 verified signatures. It needed 1,078 verified signatures to refer it back to council. The Let’s Vote Committee was allowed 10 days to amend the petition and collect more signatures.

The committee turned in an amended petition Monday, April 1. City Clerk Julie Franklin said the amended petition contained about 426 signatures.

Both petitioners and those in favor of passing the annexation ordinance without a vote have voiced disapproval of the ways in which people have tried to gather signatures or prevent people from signing. 

“The city encourages persons on both sides of the issue to be civil to one another but will take no action except to the extent complaints are made to (the Steamboat Springs Police Department) regarding criminal offenses,” City Attorney Dan Foote wrote in a staff report to City Council.

Police Commander Annette Dopplick said, to her knowledge, no complaints have been made to the agency. Electioneering laws don’t apply to petitions she explained, so police would only respond to complaints of criminal offenses such as harassment, disorderly conduct or disturbing the peace.

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This week, Franklin is verifying the second batch of signatures, by comparing signatures to voter rolls at the Routt County Clerk and Recorder’s office. Once the additional signatures are verified, she’ll make a determination as to whether the petition is sufficient or insufficient.

“Either way, whether she finds it sufficient or insufficient, we’ll present the findings to the City Council,” Foote said. “If the petition is determined to be sufficient, then the council would need to make a decision as to whether to repeal the ordinance or refer the matter to an election.”

If it’s deemed insufficient, the Let’s Vote Committee could ask council to review that decision, Foote said. If council allows the review, City Council would host another public hearing on the petition.  

If the petition was determined to be sufficient and council did refer the ordinance to the ballot, an election would be held 30 to 90 days after council takes action on the petition, Foote said.

City Council will make a determination on the petition at its Tuesday, April 9, meeting.

To reach Eleanor Hasenbeck, call 970-871-4210, email ehasenbeck@SteamboatPilot.com or follow her on Twitter @elHasenbeck.

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