Last week, Norfolk Circuit Court judge Junius P. Fulton III issued a ruling in the Talbot Hall case. The case involves the zoning of the area around the historic mansion; those who want to preserve the view to the river sued to overturn the zoning ruling of Norfolk City Council. (More here.) At the center of this case is Norfolk citizens’ right to referendum. The city sought a summary judgment, plea in bar, and dismissal, saying that zoning decisions are not subject to referendum. The judge disagreed. Here’s the money quote:
The Norfolk City Charter provides citizens with a right to referendum on all ordinances except for those “provide for work, improvement, or repairs” and for ordinances exempted by the referendum process by law.
I’m no lawyer but it seems to me that this reaffirmation of the right to referendum bodes well for the effort to overturn the recent vote for ward elections for the school board. Better Together Norfolk is collecting signatures on petitions to ask council to reconsider its vote. Barring that:
Better Together Norfolk organizers said they also would pursue a referendum if council members ignore the petitions.
Ain’t local politics great? 😉