Repeal Group Fills Additional Signatures on a Second Petition

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COLUMBIA - The Repeal 6214 citizens group submitted its second petition to repeal an ordinance which approves a developmental agreement between The Opus Group and the city. The group had until June 9th to collect all the signatures necessary. They needed a minimum of 3,209 signatures but collected more. 

Repeal 6214 Group spokesperson Jeremy Root, said they ended up collecting about 500 additional signatures.

"The community has again spoken and said they would prefer not to have this development at the heart of our downtown. It left the citizens with no choice but to proceed with a second referendum," Root said.

The next step in the process is to wait for the city clerk to review and validate the second petition to find out if they submitted enough valid signatures.

If the petition is certified, City Council will vote to repeal the ordinance.

"If they vote not to repeal it the citizens of Columbia will get a chance to vote in a special election probably in November as to whether to repeal it in a city wide vote,"  Root said.

First Ward Councilwoman Ginny Chadwick, said the city is obligated to issue a building permit to The Opus Group regardless of the agreement with the group. She said the petitions only delay the process.

"The development process went to the council in the first place to get extra infrastructure money, so even if it is repealed, city staff is obligated to issue a building permit," Chadwick said.

Chadwick said however Opus would not have to make a contribution to help with the infrastructure.

She listened to a couple of petitioners reasoning on signing the petition. She said there did not seem to be a universal statement.

"I think that a lot of general public is confused about the process and people are confused about what they are signing it is a very complicated project and it is hard to fully know the petition that has the ordinance on it," Chadwick said.

City Council will vote on the first petition issued at its next meeting, on June 16. It will either repeal the agreement, or send it to the citizens to vote on in the November ballot.

The City Clerk has 30 days to review the second petition.