SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

In the News

January 16, 2014

'No' vote on Brimbal faces high bar

20 percent of city's registered voters must vote against rezoning

BEVERLY — A simple majority won’t be enough for the “no” vote in next month’s special election.

Mayor Mike Cahill said yesterday that the city charter requires 20 percent of the city’s registered voters to overturn a measure through a ballot question.

That means more than 5,000 people will have to vote “no” on Feb. 8 to defeat a rezoning measure that would allow a shopping center to be built on Brimbal Avenue with a special permit from the Planning Board.

It also means that the “no” vote could lose even if more people vote “no” than “yes.”

“It’s clear as you read the city charter,” Cahill said. “They need to meet two thresholds: a majority of voters and at least 20 percent of registered voters.”

In response to a question from City Clerk Kathleen Connolly, then-City Solicitor Roy Gelineau concluded in a Dec. 30 opinion that the 20 percent threshold applies in the case of a citizen referendum election that is trying to rescind a measure passed by the City Council or School Committee.

The question on the Feb. 8 ballot asks voters if they approve of the Brimbal Avenue rezoning measure adopted by the City Council. A “yes” vote affirms the rezoning, and a “no” vote defeats it.

The rule creates a high bar for advocates of a “no” vote. As of yesterday, the city had 25,518 registered voters, according to Connolly. Twenty percent of that number is 5,103.

Last November’s city election drew 10,413 total voters, or 41 percent. The September preliminary drew 5,213, or 20 percent.

Dan DeAngelis of the North Beverly Neighborhood Association said he disagrees with the interpretation that the city charter requires the 20 percent threshold for referendum petitions such as the Brimbal Avenue one. He said the requirement applies to the section of the charter referring to citizen initiatives, which propose new measures, and not to citizen referendums, which seek to overturn measures.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local News

Local News
  • Ex-Market Basket boss wants to buy company

    July 24, 2014

  • Court finds Danvers nursing home at fault DANVERS -- The estate of an elderly woman who died after a fall and weeks of neglect at a Danvers nursing home has won a $14.5 million verdict in a wrongful death and negligence case. A Middlesex Superior Court jury awarded the estate of Genevieve Ca

    July 24, 2014

  • chism2 [Duplicate] Chism arraigned in second attack

    BOSTON -- When the woman came out of the bathroom, accused murderer Philip Chism was standing a foot in front of her. He put his hands around the clinician's neck, started choking her and pushed her up against a cinder block wall, a prosecutor said.

    July 24, 2014 3 Photos 7 Stories

  • 140723_SN_DLE_PROTESTERS4 Danvers Market Basket forced to toss food

    DANVERS -- Cars peppered the Market Basket intersection Wednesday afternoon with honks supporting grocery chain workers, who held signs calling for the reinstatement of fired CEO Arthur T. Demoulas. But the latest development in the grocery chain spe

    July 24, 2014 5 Photos 6 Stories

  • Scuba diver found off Marblehead identified MARBLEHEAD -- The scuba diver who died in an apparent drowning Tuesday off the coast of Marblehead was identified Wednesday as 58-year-old Gregory Cole of Westfield. The Essex District Attorney's Office said the state medical examiner's office will c

    July 24, 2014