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This statement was read by Ald. Robert Coffman during the November 15, 2005 City Council meeting.
- John Foust, goJefferson.com Webmaster
Honorable Mayor and Councilpersons, I make a motion to find that the proposed Petition for Direct Legislation is administrative in nature and not legislative. It also violates, and is contrary to Wisconsin State Law. Finally, it conflicts with existing ordinances within the City of Jefferson. Therefore, the Jefferson Common Council should not act in any way on this proposed ordinance.
Let me explain. This Council has been led to believe that the only choice the Council has on this matter is to accept this Petition for Direct Legislation or send it to a spring referendum. That is not true.
The Wisconsin Courts have recognized that Direct Legislation is subject to four judicial limitations. If this proposed direct legislation violates even one of these judicial limitations, the council is not obliged to accept it.
Rule Number 1. Direct Legislation must be legislative and not administrative. This Petition for Direct Annexation demands a series of studies the City must complete prior to annexation. We must do an Environmental Impact Statement, Traffic Impact Assessment. Infrastructure Analysis and a Community Impact Statement. This is essentially telling the City how to do an annexation. Wisconsin Courts described an administrative action as telling an administering body, like a City Council how to do something. Violation Number One. This Petition for Direct Legislation also alters the way our Planning Commission, an administrative body, must handle annexation. It limits the actions of our Planning Commission by imposing new administrative guidelines and policies for the Planning Commission to follow. Violation number two. Then, this Petition for Direct Legislation requires the City of Jefferson to make very large expenditures of money for impact studies, $50,000 to $200,000 in some cases. Budgeting & spending money is administrative Our budget for 2006 is set. The City of Jefferson cannot stop someone from petitioning for annexation, so how can the City Council administer a budget when it is unknown what lands may request to be annexed in 2006? Also unknown is what amount of unbudgeted money will be needed to complete the Environmental Impact Statement, Traffic Impact Assessment, Infrastructure Analysis and Community Impact Statement. Violation number three
Rule Number 2. The Petition for Direct Legislation cannot modify State Annexation Statutes. Wisconsin Statutes are very clear as to the process & procedure to be followed by cities when annexing land. Third parties, developers or landowners wishing to annex into Jefferson have a right to rely on State Statutory procedure. This Petition for Direct Legislation impinges on the city’s right to zone, annex, and sets a different standard than that required under State Statute. This Petition for Direct Legislation clearly modifies those State Annexation Statutes with its demands. Violation number four. This Petition for Direct Legislation also incorrectly states the law concerning the bidding process and incorrectly cites the construction bid statute. Violation number five.
Rule number 3. The Petition for Direct Legislation cannot be used to compel a City Council to repeal an existing ordinance or resolution. This Petition for Direct Legislation would be in clear conflict of our existing Big Box Ordinance which already has been passed by this body. Violation number 6.
Just one other item. Annexation is required to take place within 120 days of the filing of the petition. How can the City possibly get a Planning Commission meeting, Public Hearings, two council readings, an Environmental Impact Statement, Traffic Impact Assessment, Infrastructure Analysis and Community Impact Statement bid out, completed, paid for, and passed in 120 days. Violation number seven.
I again reiterate... I make a motion to find that the proposed Petition for Direct Legislation is administrative in nature and not legislative. It also violates, and is contrary to Wisconsin State Law. Finally, it conflicts with existing ordinances within the City of Jefferson. Therefore, the Jefferson Common Council should not act in any way on this proposed ordinance.
I already know that the first question many council members will ask. Will the Coalition take us to court? You may not know, but they took us to court today. The Lorbecki’s, John Reihl and Attorney David Halbrooks filed a restraining order against the City of Jefferson yesterday to restrain the City Council to proceed with the annexation of the Sherman & Pinnow properties. Thanks to City Attorney Ben Brantmeier, Judge Ulsvik, at 2 PM this afternoon ruled in favor of the City.