Gilbert council eyes switch to 4-vote standard - East Valley Tribune: East Valley Local News

Gilbert council eyes switch to 4-vote standard

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Posted: Saturday, August 2, 2008 7:28 pm | Updated: 11:33 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

The Gilbert Town Council plans to discuss a change to town code requiring more votes to pass an agenda item.

Councilman Steve Urie proposed switching to a four-vote requirement at last week's council meeting, replacing a simple majority as the current standard.

The idea was introduced in response to a May 27 meeting when a controversial mixed-use project was approved by a 3-2 vote with two members absent: Mayor Steve Berman and Vice Mayor Joan Krueger.

"It's not often that we have had two people absent," Urie said. "And had the two people been there, it's very likely the vote could have gone the other way."

The project was Roosevelt Square, a 65-acre residential and commercial development at the southwest corner of Germann Road and Val Vista Drive, and the decision escalated into a difficult situation for the town.

The vote allowed a zoning change and general plan amendment allowing it to move forward. After the council's narrow approval, residents near the proposed development blasted the decision and began gathering signatures to overturn it.

But during their petition, Town Clerk Cathy Templeton omitted a necessary document from their paperwork. She resigned shortly after the error was discovered.

It was one of two errors Templeton had made in recent months, again bringing attention to the other mistake: a miscalculation of signatures needed to recall Mayor Steve Berman.

Templeton returned to work after the Town Council decided that a resignation was too stiff a penalty.

The move to a four-vote requirement would align Gilbert with other municipalities in the area, and several council members say they agree with the proposal.

"I would certainly like to see it changed to require four votes or have an automatic postponement until there is a full council," Councilman Don Skousen said.

The council will discuss the proposal in deeper detail during its retreat Aug.15 and 16. In order to change the voting requirement, the council has to amend town code, Town Manager George Pettit said.

"I think that there are times some pretty significant decisions that are made," Councilwoman Linda Abbot said. "With the possibility of people being out of town or away for a medical situation, a big decision might be left for the remaining council members. And I would hate to see something with tremendous import decided by less than a quorum."

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