When the votes were done being counted at about 10:15 p.m., both measures on the March 3 special-election ballot had easily passed.
The election asked Littleton voters to weigh in on two measures …
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Keep Littleton Strong:
“The result on Initiative 300 is a disappointment and an unfortunate outcome for Littleton residents and taxpayers. We believe voters were misinformed about urban renewal when they signed the petition and throughout the campaign. As a result, with the costly constraints that 300 puts on urban renewal, Littleton will have diminished opportunities for quality, transformative economic development. We are proud of the strong coalition of Littleton residents, civic leaders and businesses who came together for the Littleton Strong campaign — and we are committed to staying engaged in the dialogue about how Littleton will grow and evolve.”
Your Littleton, Your Vote:
“We, the Your Littleton, Your Vote volunteers, thank the people of Littleton for understanding our message and voting yes overwhelmingly for charter amendment 300. We sincerely believe it will cause LIFT to present meaningful, well thought out urban-renewal plans from here on out to the people of Littleton.”
Littleton City Manager Michael Penny:
“My job is the same, and the challenges for development are the same. It’s all good.”
Littleton Mayor Phil Cernanec:
“Regardless of the voters’ decision, the city council and I will continue engaging with citizens and encouraging healthy dialogue on the very important issues we face. It is, and always has been, our goal to look for ways to keep Littleton moving forward.”
The election asked Littleton voters to weigh in on two measures dealing with urban renewal. The ballot questions were sparked by a pair of groups with opposing views on how the city should be developed.
Your Littleton Your Vote's Initiative 300 requires a vote of the people every time a change is made to an urban-renewal plan area. It passed with 60 percent of the vote, 5,755 to 3,811.
Keep Littleton Strong's Ballot Issue 2A bans the use of eminent domain and condemnation unless a property owner requests them. Slightly less than 70 percent of voters said yes, passing it 6,583 to 2,890.
Keep Littleton Strong had campaigned for voters to reject 300.
YLYV supporters, who forced the special election by petitioning 300 onto the ballot, had raised just about $2,835 as of Feb. 18, the last required reporting period. They played up their grassroots roots, as it were, throughout their campaign, noting that their competition raised more than $90,000. Much of that was from developers and real-estate associations, many from out of state. And instead of beating the pavement for signatures as YLYV did, Keep Littleton Strong simply and successfully asked Littleton City Council to put their measure on the ballot.
Both groups agreed 2A was a good idea, with YLYV urging people to vote yes on both and city council having already passed a resolution to the same effect.
The first test of 300 will likely come next month, because Littleton City Council on Feb. 17 tabled a change to the Santa Fe plan until after the election. Voters could now face another one to decide whether urban-renewal financing tools will be available for the 111-acre agricultural property in the southern Santa Fe plan area as they are now for the other three - Littleton Boulevard, Broadway and Columbine Square - as well as the northern portion of the Santa Fe plan.
This election doesn't change anything that had already been done, according to Jim Rees, the executive director of Littleton Invests for Tomorrow. But opponents of 300 have said it will scare developers away from Littleton, reluctant to face the scrutiny that could come with controversial elections.
Its supporters said taxpayers should have the right to vote when their money is in play, and the $34,000 or so price tag for an election is worth it for voters' voices to be heard.
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