Tag Archives: Big Box referendum

Big Box Referendum Makes Big Progress

Opponents of the big-box ordinance in Queen Anne’s County are happy. The county elections office has verified more than enough petition signatures to put the ordinance to a referendum next fall. The ordinance would remove the cap on building size in the county, meaning stores like Walmart or Target could basically get a rubber stamp to build there.

Big Box Petitions Delivered

Queen Anne’s County residents who want voters to decide whether the county should allow retailers to build Big Box stores said petition signatures they filed last week should be sufficient to put the question on the ballot in next fall’s general election. Petition sponsor Jim Campbell, along with co-sponsor Jay Falstad and petition circulators Bob Foxx and Margot French brought 2,085 signatures to Centreville to be filed with the Board of Elections before the deadline. Petitioners had to turn in valid signatures of a total of 10-percent of registered county voters by October 26 to accomplish their goal. The group filed about 2,300 signatures in September, about 2,095 were determined to be valid by County Elections Director Brittani Thomas. Of the current batch of signatures delivered to the Board of Elections, another 1,075 signatures must be ruled valid for the issue to be put on the ballot. Thomas now has 20 days to verify the signatures submitted and two more days after that to report the results to the petition sponsors.

Big Box Group Keeps Plugging Away

Up Against the Wall Chairman Stan Ruddie and Queen Anne’s Conservation Association Executive Director Jay Falstad said the petition drive to postpone a recently passed “Big Box” law until a 2012 referendum can decide the matter so far has been successful. They say they have the 3,000 signatures needed to place the new law on the ballot, but they “fully intend to keep collecting signatures until the October 24 deadline,” Ruddie said. The number of signatures so far is around 3,300 and UATW hopes to collect another 1,000 signatures, according to Ruddie. He said he wants to submit a healthy surplus of signatures to cushion any disqualifications.

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.

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.

QA Big-Box Opponents Making Petition Progress

Opponents of a recently passed Big Box law in Queen Anne’s County say their petition drive has yielded 2,000 signatures, enough to be granted a 40–day extension from QAC Board of Elections to continue the petition drive. Stan Ruddie of Up Against the Wall says his volunteers will now be able to collect the remaining 1,000 signatures that should stop the law from taking effect in late September and put the law to a county-wide referendum on the 2012 ballot.

Big Box Petitioners Facing Resistance

Stan Ruddie of Up Against the Wall says his organization’s efforts to collect enough signatures to postpone a “Big Box” amendment from taking effect in Queen Anne’s County, until a referendum can decide the matter next year, are being hampered by property owners and members of the QAC Board of Elections and QAC school officials. Ruddie indicates the Board of Elections initially refused to provide a copy of the voters list and the QAC Board of Education Director did not respond to phone or email messages.

Ruddie said he asked that Board of Elections Attorney Jeffrey E. Thompson recuse himself from advising the Board of Elections on the petition “due to the representing of clients who have a direct benefit from this petition failing. ” Ruddie also said a petitioner had been ejected from Church Hill Elementary after regular school hours.

UATW volunteer, Jim Campbell, said he was trying to collect signatures at the Centerville Plaza Acme and was greeted by Centreville Police Chief Charlie Rhodes and his deputy along with a Rodney C. Renner, who introduced himself as a representative of the landlord. Renner said that the landlord had not approved the use of the property to collect signatures. Rhodes then informed Campbell that petitioners would be arrested immediately if caught using the property to collect signatures for the petition. The confrontation came a day after ACME officials had granted UATW permission to collect signatures, according to Ruddie.

QA Group Tries To Get Big Box Ordinance to Referendum

A group of Queen Anne’s County residents is putting together a petition drive to place the “big box” ordinance on the ballot for the 2012 general election. The Queen Anne’s County Commissioners opened the door August 9 to big box businesses with a 3-2 vote approving Ordinance 11-06, which deleted the maximum gross floor area of 65,000 square feet from properties zoned suburban commercial.