Voters in Eaton, Ohio have more to worry about than Al Gore and George W. Bush. On November 7th, city voters will also be confronted with an initiative petition filed by a developer who reportedly wants to build a Wal-Mart. The proposed ordinance does not mention the words “Wal-Mart” and says nothing about a mall — it’s only five lines of zoning code changes from residential to commercial land. Voters will be asked whether they wish to change the zoning map of the city, or not. The developer decided to place the matter directly on the ballot without going through the customary zoning procedure, according to The Register-Herald newspaper. The move was likely prompted by the fact that the Eaton City Council indicated earlier this year that they were opposed to a large commercial business at that location.
The Eaton vote is just another example of developers trying to use the ballot box to get what they couldn’t achieve in Council chambers. It’s zoning-by-referendum, and many developers are willing to take their chances at the ballot box because they know they can out-spend their opponents exponentially. For contacts with the citizen’s group that is fighting to save Eaton from ballot-box-zoning, contact [email protected]