June 22, 2204
Two recent referendum efforts have prompted Chandler city staff to ask the City Council to consider a change in its city code.
Dennis O’Neill, Chandler city attorney, said during the council’s Monday study session that staff is recommending the council adopt an ordinance to allow the council to call for a special election at any time for citizen initiatives or referendums. He said there’s already a charter provision allowing the council to call for a special election for charter initiatives, but a separate ordinance is needed to provide a similar provision for code initiatives or referendums.
"This isn’t calling a special election," O’Neill said. "This is putting it in the code that they can call for a special election. It’s just preparing if the need ever arises."
O’Neill said the city has never seen a referendum filed by citizens until last week and has only had two citizen initiatives filed in the city’s history.
On June 14, a group filed 1,610 signatures to put a seven-story building before voters on the next city election ballot — March 2006. The council approved the zoning at the southwest corner of Ray Road and Loop 101.
Another group of citizens and developers wants a council-approved incentive package worth an estimated $40 million to developers of a proposed auto mall at Gilbert Road and Loop 202 to go to voters.
O’Neill said he also recommended the council use the emergency clause so the ordinance would go into effect immediately.
O’Neill said by using the emergency clause, people are prevented from referring the ordinance.
Without the emergency clause, O’Neill said it would take 30 days for the ordinance to take effect, in which time someone could gather signatures to refer it to the next election.
In other business, the council discussed approving a ordinance to protect the integrity of 911 calls. If approved, the new code would make it a criminal violation to prevent or interfere with the use of a telephone by another person in an emergency situation.
The council is scheduled to make final decisions on both issues during its meeting at 7 p.m. Thursday on the second floor of the downtown library, 22 S. Delaware St.