The Trouble With The City’s Protest of the Proposed Ordinance

Although the City certified the Proposed Ordinance to the Franklin County Board of Elections, it also filed a Protest, lodging objections in an effort to keep the Proposed Ordinance off the November ballot. The Board of Elections will hear the City’s Protest, as well as the Response filed to it, on Friday, August 24, 2018 at 10:30AM.  Stay tuned for an update following the hearing. Below is a summary of the City’s arguments and the Response. 

City Argument No. 1:  The Initiative Petition (or Proposed Ordinance) was required to be submitted to the City’s Planning Commission and then to the City Council for approval and public hearing. Because this did not occur, the Proposed Ordinance cannot remain on the November ballot.

Response:  Ohio Courts and the Secretary of State have determined that the procedure outlined by the City in its Protest letter apples only to legislation proposed by a city council, not to legislation proposed by citizens through the initiative petition process. The proper process was followed when the Proposed Ordinance here was filed with the City’s Director of Finance, who in turn certified the Proposed Ordinance to the Board of Elections for the November ballot. Having done that, the City waived its right to protest. Finally, voters have an opportunity to learn more about the Proposed Ordinance in the months before the election, which takes the place of a public hearing that would occur with legislation proposed by a city council. 

City Argument No. 2: The Proposed Ordinance is an administrative, not a legislative act, and therefore cannot be placed on the November ballot.

Response: Ohio law has long recognized that the zoning or re-zoning of an area of a city is a legislative, not an administrative act. Because the Proposed Ordinance re-zones an area of the City, it is a legislative act and is properly on the November ballot. 

City Argument No. 3:   The Proposed Ordinance does not “strengthen” the existing Green Space as is stated in the Ordinance and Flyer and the statement otherwise is “misleading.”

Response:  Simply because the City disagrees that the Proposed Ordinance will “strengthen” the Green Space doesn’t make the statement misleading.  Grandview Heights has an educated and astute voter population who can decide whether the Proposed Ordinance “strengthens” the Green Space or not.  

City Argument No. 4:   The Proposed Ordinance and Flyer circulated when signatures were obtained states that the Green Space is “parkland or a nature preserve” when the Green Space is not parkland or a nature preserve.

Response:   Neither the Proposed Ordinance or Flyer states that the existing or proposed Green Space is “parkland or a nature preserve” as the City claims. Both the Flyer and the Proposed Ordinance simply state that the current Green Space is “a park-like area of privately owned lots” and that it “[b]orders” or is “adjacent to” City owned Parkland including the “Elmwood Hill natural resource area/preserve.”  These statements are completely accurate as the Green Space (existing and proposed) is all privately owned, and the Green Space is adjacent to or borders City Parkland including what the City itself identifies as the “Elmwood Hill natural resource area/preserve” on the City Park Map. (No. 14 on the Map).  

City Argument No. 5A complete legislative history of the current Green Space Ordinance is not provided in the Flyer or Proposed Ordinance. 

Response:  The law does not require that a proposed ordinance  recite each and every fact or issue. Voters have an opportunity to learn more about the differences between the current and Proposed Ordinance in the months before the election so they can decide for themselves how to vote in November. 

 

 

 

 

 

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