Delaware County Board of Elections certified a referendum to the May 2018 ballot, if passed by voters, could overturn Berlin Township trustees approval to rezone 24 acres of land along U.S. 36/State Route 37.
However, Attorneys Joe Miller and Chris Ingram, Vory’s, Sater, Seymour and Pease LLP said their firm would be filing a protest on the behalf of Savko Brothers Properties X LLC, owner of the property.
Savko Brothers Properties requested rezoning the 24 acres the land located along U.S. 36 and State Route 37 to Planned Industrial Development for the proposed Savko Commerce Park. Included in the plans is the construction of a concrete batching facility.
The board has scheduled the hearing for Jan. 9 at 9 a.m.
“We’re going to have a protest hearing in January where the evidence is going to demonstrate that this petition is misleading and does not satisfy the requirements of Ohio Law,” Miller said. “We feel confident that the board will agree that this measure should not go to the ballot.”
Ingram said he thought the board will learn that the Berlin Township Trustees did not actually review and certify the validity of the face of the petition. He told the board that what they will hear at the hearing is that largely the petition fails to comply with the Ohio Revised Code.
The petition was delivered to Berlin Township Fiscal Officer Claudia Smith Nov. 8 by Graeme Quinn, one of the township residents behind initiating the petition for the referendum.
“It doesn’t surprise me that it was passed,” Quinn said. “All of the circulators were very well-trained, they acted in good faith. I know, personally, every single one of the collectors and we’re all just trying to do the right thing.”
Berlin Township trustees approved a resolution certifying the petition Nov. 13 to the board of elections asking that the referendum be certified to the May 2018 ballot.
“I am surprised at the basis of the opposition saying that the township didn’t actually review it and that the board of elections can’t trust that review,” Quinn said. “The board of elections is saying the trustees did review it. They went through and were given advice from their attorney, the prosecutor’s office.”
“Based on the combination of the advice they got from their attorney and reviewing the timeliness of the submission, the number of signatures and part-petitions, they did review it and they passed it,” Quinn said. “It doesn’t make sense.”
D. Anthony Botkin may be reached at 740-413-0902 or on Twitter @dabotkin.