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Madeira Beach petition drive faces setback

MADEIRA BEACH — The city has rejected an affidavit required by the city charter to start a petition for a referendum. The backers of the petition are seeking to halt several proposed hotel/condominium projects.

At issue is the specific wording describing how and when the five petition committee members signed the document, according to a letter City Clerk Aimee Servedio mailed to the petitioners Friday.

Sam Baker Jr., the chairman of the five-member petition group, said Tuesday he had not received the letter. He also said Servedio failed to return his phone calls even though he left three messages since Monday.

In the letter, Servedio said after reviewing the petition document with City Attorney Tom Trask she has determined that the petition affidavit "fails to meet the requirements" of the charter because it "fails to reflect that committee members were put under oath or were otherwise sworn before their signatures were placed" on the document.

Significantly, Servedio's letter also cautions the committee to comply with Charter requirements before signatures are sought from residents.

The group challenging the city's planned development ordinance collected several hundred signatures over the weekend, according to Baker. It now appears they may have to start the process all over again.

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