City to ask for full count of petition signatures

Hoteliers want city to ask voters to decide

Map of Madrone Village

After Morgan Hill hoteliers turned over their signed petition opposing two hotels proposed in Madrone Business park, the petitions were sent to be certified by the Santa Clara County Registrar of Voters.

Typically the registrar only certifies 10 percent of signatures to get a projected estimate of valid signatures. However, Maureen Tobin, communication and engagement manager for Morgan Hill, told the Times in an email that the city has asked the county to perform a full count of all signatures.

For the petition to be valid and trigger a referendum vote on the council’s unanimous decision, it would need 2,354 signatures, or 10 percent of registered Morgan Hill voters. The county registrar previously projected the petition has 3,176 valid signatures.

“Due to the importance of this matter, the City of Morgan Hill has requested that the Santa Clara County Registrar of Voters perform a full count to be completed within 30 days,” said Tobin. “The results of the full count will determine the next steps.”

The petition has been the subject of controversy between the project developer, existing hoteliers and the city. The council unanimously voted Feb. 6 to allow two hotels to be built: a Fairfield Inn and Suites and a Hilton Home 2 Suites. If the petition is successful, it will force the council to choose between repealing the ordinance that allows the hotels to be built or putting the issue to a vote as a ballot referendum.

After the full count of signatures requested by the city is completed—and if enough of the signatures are verified—the council will make its decision at its next regularly scheduled meeting. Tobin told the Times that if the issue goes to a referendum vote, it can be scheduled for a special election or be placed on the November 2020 ballot.

In an emailed statement to the Times, Asit Panwala, who has been speaking on behalf of the hoteliers, told the Times, “We fully expect that we will have a sufficient number of signatures when a full count is completed.”

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