Written by KRISTYN HALBIG ZIEHM
Wednesday, 16 September 2015 18:59
Opponents of lakefront development launch sign campaign after petitions fail to sway Port aldermen
Although the Port Washington Common Council is moving ahead with plans to sell a lakefront parking lot for a Paramount blues-themed entertainment complex, opponents of that plan are continuing to pressure officials.
“I just feel like we have to keep trying to send our message,” Amy Otis-Wilborn, 233 E. Pier St., told aldermen Tuesday.
Her comments came after City Attorney Eric Eberhardt offered an opinion that a petition seeking a referendum on the sale of the lot next to the north marina slip was not binding on the council.
Eberhardt noted that the petition and memo submitted by Wilborn’s husband Pat on Sept. 1 seemed to indicate a desire to compel the city to hold a binding referendum on the issue, he said there were several legal reasons it was “insufficient or ... not in proper form.”
In addition to technical reasons why the actual petition did not meet the legal standards, there were not enough valid signatures, Eberhardt said.
While the opponents collected 919 signatures — more than the 822 needed to compel the city to hold a binding referendum on the question — a number of them were disqualified, reducing the number of “countable” signatures to 716, he said.
The group could try to amend its petition in the next 10 days and resubmit it to try and compel the city to hold a binding referendum, Eberhardt added.
Eberhardt also noted that even if the petition was intended to prompt the city to hold an advisory referendum, there is no legal provision requiring the city to do so.
Petitions with about 100 more signatures have been received by the group, so they may have enough to meet those statutory requirements, she said.