A citizens’ group behind a referendum petition seeking to repeal the Haworth annexation has enough signatures to move forward. The group supporting the petition, Citizens for a Better Berthoud (CBB), says it acquired nearly 400 signatures, more than double the amount needed, to get the referendum on a future ballot where voters would decide if the Haworth annexation would remain, or be repealed.
The Town Clerk has 30 days to validate the signatures. After that the Board of Trustees has 20 days to make a decision. The Board can accept the petition and reverse the decision to annex the property, or they can allow the electorate to decide the issue. If the Town Board doesn’t repeal the annexation, an election must be set within 60-150 days of approval of the signatures.
CBB also has a “nuclear” option that it may put into play if it doesn’t like the Trustees decision. The group has already gathered enough signatures to support an initiative petition that would require a public vote on all future annexations outside of Berthoud’s Growth Management Area (GMA) as it existed on Dec. 31, 2012.
Putting land use decisions in the hands of the voters rather than elected officials is bad public policy. Blackmailing elected officials to reverse land use decisions is a dangerous strategy. If the Trustees succumb to the threat and reverse the annexation it could result in a lawsuit. If they put the question to the voters, they have abrogated their responsibility and the town will have to pay for the election.
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