Two groups funded by high-powered developers, say they have nearly 170,000 signatures in their effort to force two zoning issues to the 2014 ballot.
The Committee For Zoning Integrity Inc. said in a statement that they have delivered an additional 83,435 signatures in their effort to challenge zoning decisions in the 2nd and 6th Council Districts.
“We have successfully completed the signature gathering phase, with citizen
interest in fixing the rezoning process in Baltimore County far exceeding our
expectations,” Stuart Kaplow, an attorney for the Committee for Zoning Integrity Inc., said in a statement released Friday morning. “A referendum restores the sense of empowerment and guarantees integrity by direct participation in the decision making process.”
The Committee for Zoning Integrity, backed by David S. Brown Enterprises and David Cordish, is seeking to overturn a bill that changes the zoning on the former Middle River Depot property.
A second but associated group calling itself the committee for Zoning Transparency is seeking to overturn zoning decisions affecting the Solo Cup property.
Both groups combined reported donations totaling $225,000 for their effort. All of the money came from developers.
Last month the group delivered more than 86,000 signatures combined from the two separate petition efforts.
The group must have more than 28,825 verified signatures of registered voters for each of the two petition efforts. Kaplow, in his statement, said his clients have delivered more than 85,000 signatures for each bill.
Those signatures still need to be verified by the Baltimore County Board of Elections—an effort that will not begin until after the board has completed its work with the 2012 election.
If the bills are successfuly placed on the ballot, all county voters will be asked to vote for or against them.
The Committee for Zoning Integrity raised $100,000 for efforts to overturn the zoning bill passed for properties in the 6th District which includes Essex, Middle River and Parkville. The same group also put $25,000 towards the effort to overturn the 2nd District zoning bill also passed in August.
In Middle River, Cordish is opposing the redevelopment of the Middle River Depot. The depot, if redeveloped, could result in Walmart leaving its current location in the Carroll Island Shopping Center and moving to the new depot location, Cordish said in July.
Cordish owns the Carroll Island Shopping Center.
Brown is the developer of Metro Centre at Owings Mills which is near the former Solo Cup plant that is to be redeveloped into a shopping center called Foundry Row. That project would feature a Wegman's grocery store as its anchor.
Greenberg Gibbons, who wants to redevelop the Solo Cup property, successfully fought in court for the release of the petition signatures and appears to be planning an additional legal challenge to their validity.