The letter from Nathan Palmer (Aug. 13 ThisWeek Worthington News) indicated the initiative placed on the November ballot will "strengthen the voice of residents in determining the path of development in Worthington." It is hard to object based on the information he presents.
To the Editor:
The letter from Nathan Palmer (Aug. 13 ThisWeek Worthington News) indicated the initiative placed on the November ballot will "strengthen the voice of residents in determining the path of development in Worthington." It is hard to object based on the information he presents. How can someone be against democracy, the traditions of Worthington and the sentiment "in a democracy, the strength of a community depends on the quality of its citizens"?
So why do I oppose the measure? The failure of Mr. Palmer's argument is not in its principles but in its unintended consequences. The unintended consequences arise in two areas, the first being the initiative's wording. Rather than simply amending the charter to change the period over which a rezoning decision can be challenged, the wording changes many aspects of the functioning of the city, including implementing projects such as paving roads in a timely fashion.
Secondly, the more profound unintended consequence is on how Worthington is perceived relative to other communities. While Mr. Palmer indicates the initiative is not anti-development, actually it is. Worthington has and continues to be in a competitive environment for new businesses. The city works hard to attract these new businesses. One reason is the city's major source of revenue is the income tax of those working in Worthington.
Almost all cities in central Ohio have a 30-day period for citizens to challenge a rezoning. Initiative backers were not willing to change from 60 days.
The ballot issue is unfriendly toward potential new businesses because it will have a negative effect on how those companies view Worthington. People and companies making investments in a community evaluate opportunities and risks. With a 60-day period before work could begin, Worthington would start with a disadvantage as a potential site for a new business or development. Over the past two decades, the City Council, boards and commissions and staff have worked to change the image and reality of Worthington from a place perceived as not business friendly to a place that has great opportunity. Passage of the referendum would not cripple Worthington, but it would have a negative impact.
I fully support the right of Worthington residents to question the actions of council and its boards and commissions. What I do not support is when someone proposes legislation that will potentially hurt the entire community while claiming to only encourage democracy.
member, Worthington City Council