Despite Petition and Ordinance Suspension, Commission Votes

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About the Suspension of an Ordinance Based on a Petition for Referendum

Jim Scarborough, Retired Developer's Attorney

Jim Scarborough, Retired Developer’s Attorney

Jim Scarborough (see bottom) said very clearly in his 3 minute presentation, the determination of the lack of sufficiency of the petition (made by Mr. Trask) was a preliminary determination, therefore the ordinance is suspended. Mr. Scarborough explained that determining insufficiency is a LEGAL definition with a detailed process.

FACTS from Section 13.5  Madeira Beach City Charter:

When a referendum petition is filed with the City Clerk, the ordinance sought to be reconsidered shall be suspended from taking effect. Such suspension shall terminate when: 

A. There is a final determination of the insufficiency of the petition.


Section 12.3

C.  Court review, new petition. A final determination as to the sufficiency of a petition shall be subject to court review. A final determination of insufficiency, even if sustained upon court review shall not prejudice the filing of a new petition.

CIty Attorney Trask

CIty Attorney Trask

About Mr. Trasks Determination of Insufficiency

Mr. Trask gave 3 reasons why the petition, IN HIS OPINION, is insufficient.

1) the petition committee did not circulate all the petitions.  

Well, that just isn’t required under the ordinance and this point has been tested in court.  The charter does NOT say that circulation of the petition is LIMITED to the Circulation Committee.


Any five (5) electors may commence initiative or referendum proceedings by filing with the City Clerk an affidavit stating they will constitute the petitioners‘ committee and be responsible for circulating the petition and filing it in proper form, stating their names and addresses and specifying the address to which all notices to the committee are to be sent, and setting out in full the proposed initiative ordinance or citing the ordinance sought to be reconsidered.

And under 13.3, C:

Affidavit of circulator. Each paper of a petition shall have attached to it when filed, an affidavit executed by the circulator thereof stating that he personally circulated the paper, the number of signatures thereon, and that all the signatures were affixed in his presence, that he believes them to be the genuine signature of the persons whose names they purport to be, and that each signer is an elector of the City and had an opportunity before signing to read the full text of the ordinance proposed or sought to be reconsidered.

2) Mr. Trask says the petition is insufficient because it misrepresented the Ordinance by saying that the ordinance created the PD district that enabled the height and density.

So, Mr. Trask says, the PD district was created 11 years ago.

THIS IS SIMPLY NOT TRUE.  A PD zone was created earlier, but it was a zoning category similar to R1, R2, C-2, etc… The PD DISTRICT  was created for this ordinance and it allows multiple properties to be aggregated and rezoned, even if they have had different zoning categories previously, and requires more than one type (class) of development and a development agreement. (The ‘Karns’ development has commercial and marine zoning categories that want to be re-zoned as a PD DISTRICT.)

Also, Mr. Trask says that the word HEIGHT is not in the Ordinance, which misrepresents the ordinance.

Yes, HEIGHTS were stripped out of this category of zoning district, which is exactly the problem.  One must use the word HEIGHT to specifically call out what has been removed.  Mr. Trask’s is arguing that you cannot say that a person with gums only in his mouth is not “toothless” because he has no teeth.  Or something similar! 

3) Mr. Trask says that the petition is insufficient because he does not think that the circulators and Circulation Committee affidavits were signed under oath.  All documents say that the signatory says, “swear and affirm”, so he must be looking for something very, very specific for his criteria.  This seems questionable and possibly subjective, but we will know more about this later… But, it seems fixable!

Stay tuned for more information as we get updated by our lawyers!

The Commission that Approved the Developments without Regard for Residents/Voters

The Commission that Approved the Developments without Regard for Residents, i.e., the Voters

About Jim Scarborough

A retired attorney Jim Scarborough grew up in our area… Jim went to Madeira Beach Middle School, Seminole High School and graduated cum laude from Stetson University.  He’s a close personal friend to a couple residents of Madeira Beach, with whom he grew up, and he therefore at their request stepped up to help our cause!