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Published: Thursday, 4/20/2006

Judge denies plea to stop zoning vote

The developer of an upscale housing subdivision yesterday tried to stop Oregon City Council from taking a second vote on zoning changes that it approved in February for the controversial project.

However, retired Judge Ronald Bowman denied a request from the developer, Noel E. Graham, for a temporary restraining order that would have prevented the council vote on two ordinances at Monday's meeting.

Mr. Graham filed a lawsuit in Lucas County Common Pleas Court against the city, the Lucas County Board of Elections, and a committee that collected signatures to repeal the zoning changes.

In February, council granted rezoning changes requested by Mr. Graham for parcels off Seaman Road and Corduroy Road, allowing for the construction of 64 homes costing $225,000 to $350,000.

The committee circulated petitions opposing the housing project and collected the needed signatures to force council to reconsider its earlier action. The issue was placed on the agenda for the council meeting as mandated by the city charter.

If council doesn't appeal the zoning change ordinances, the referendum will be sent to the county elections board, where the petitions would be reviewed for placement on a ballot in a special election within the next 40 to 90 days.

The lawsuit filed by Mr. Graham alleges improprieties in the collecting of the signatures for the referendum, including misleading the residents about the issue and allowing unauthorized people and minors to circulate the petitions.

A hearing for a preliminary injunction on the allegations is scheduled for May 3.



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