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Council Opposes Proposed Ballot Initiative with Height Restrictions for Development

January 25, 2023

On Tuesday evening (1/24/23), Timnath Town Council formally passed a resolution opposing a proposed citizen-led ballot initiative that would shift decisions about future development of projects over 60 feet in height from the Town’s elected officials to the voters.  The petition is currently being circulated for signatures.

The proposed ballot initiative seeks to move the decision on developments of a certain height to the public generally, without any consideration given to the processes already in place or property right concerns this may raise for those seeking to develop a project within the Town limits. Additionally, the process would undermine the significant roles of the Planning Commission, Town Council, and public participation and engagement in the development project approval process. 

The resolution argues that the initiative undermines the work of governmental and resident-led boards and commissions authorized to conduct development review and approval. The Town’s Comprehensive Plan was adopted recently, in 2020, after significant work by the citizens of the Town of Timnath, Town Staff, professional consultants, and the Town Council to serve as the guide for the future of development in Timnath.

 “We are an engaged and thoughtful community whose elected officials and citizens work together to make decisions, under our recently adopted processes, in the best interests of Timnath,” said Mayor Mark Soukup.  “The risk of using a tool as strong as a Charter Amendment to dictate Town services such as development and zoning is that it can have long-term, unintended consequences.”

As a “home rule” community, changes to the Town of Timnath Charter must be approved by the voters of Timnath through a ballot question. In contrast, changes to code can be done through Council action.  

The Town Council expressed its opposition to the proposed ballot initiative and how it usurps the Town’s Comprehensive Plan, Town Code, Land Use Code, and comprehensive levels of development review.