According to this story by Jonathan Pitts in The Sun this past Sunday; The Howard County Chamber Commerce believes that the threshold of 5,000 signatures of registered county voters needed to put a bill to referendum is “low and antiquated.”
“After the recent launch of a petition drive challenging a law that that affects the size of grocery stores, the Howard County Chamber of Commerce has issued a call to increase the number of signatures required on such a petition.”
The petition drive being led by a small but vocal group calling themselves Howard County Citizens for Open Government is seeking to overturn the unanimous decision of the Howard County Council to allow the developer of a planned shopping center in Turf Valley to include a 55,000 square foot grocery store instead of an 18,000 square foot grocery store previously allowed in a Planned Golf Course Community (PGCC) zone. The three major neighborhoods surrounding the proposed development have all voted in favor of this zoning change..
The opponents are wrapping this issue in the cloak of open government. “Marc Norman, the group's organizer, says the county approved the project with too little study and too much secrecy.”
I don’t get that. The developer has held several community meetings to explain the project to those who will be most affected by it. The issue has been heard in open council and planning board meetings. How much more open do these people expect the developer and the council to be?