Anti Big-Boxers Deliver Votes

A coalition of petitioners, working to postpone a “Big Box” law from taking effect in Queen Anne’s County, delivered to the QAC Board of Elections what they say are over 2,300 valid signatures from QAC registered voters that demand the new law be put to a referendum in the 2012 election.

This is the first submission from QAC Conservation Association and Up Against the Wall and is meant to buy signature gatherers another 40-day extension to reach the target number of 3,000, which represents 10 percent of all QAC registered voters, the number required to get the law on the ballot.

The new law passed in August would allow owners of property zoned Suburban Commercial to build Big Box retail developments without restrictions to floor-area size. The current law enacted in 2003 under the Queen Anne’s Comprehensive Plan restricts retailers to floor space no larger than 65,000-square-feet. Many residents also are concerned that a wave of landowners without Suburban Commercial property could begin applying for zoning changes if the law was to effect at the end of this month.

During the signature drop-off, there was some back-and-forth between Jim Campbell of QAC Conservation Association and QAC Election Director Brittani H. Thomas on whether 175 signatures missing middle-names could be resubmitted. Duplicates are automatically disqualified, according to Campbell.

After a brief discussion, Campbell, Ruddie, and QAC Conservation Executive Director Jay Falstad decided to draw lines through the signatures that needed middle names–so not to submit them for verification–choosing instead to go back to the original signators to fill in missing information.