FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Maumee Citizens Group Files Complaint with Ohio Supreme Court to Seek Referendum of Rental Housing Ordinance
Maumee, Ohio – May 30, 2023: The City of Maumee is under scrutiny for its refusal to place a crucial referendum on the November 2023 election ballot. The referendum would allow voters to determine whether recently enacted Ordinance 002-2023 should be overturned.
The rental housing ordinance, promoted by City Administrator, Patrick Burtch, would impact approximately 25% of Maumee’s housing stock. It would require registration of all non-owner-occupied rental property which is duplicative of an Ohio registration requirement that all county auditors register rental property. In addition, the ordinance would require periodic inspections of rental property and force significant improvements to be made that heretofore were not required. Further, the ordinance would mandate that all rental property owners use all legal sources of income when qualifying tenants, including Section 8 subsidized housing vouchers. Since enacted in 1987, Congress has made landlord participation in the Section 8 program voluntary.
Maumee Citizens for Common Sense is a large group of citizens that gathered and delivered petitions with signatures of registered voters seeking a referendum to overturn the ordinance. The petitions, with 903 signatures of approximately 560 required by referendum requirements, were delivered in proper form to Maumee Finance Director (City Auditor) Jennifer Harkey on April 20, 2023, by Colleen LaChapelle, a member of a five-person committee that sponsored the petition. The City of Maumee had ten days to review and deliver the petitions to the Lucas County Board of Elections for verification and placement of the referendum on the November ballot. To date, the city has failed to deliver the petitions to the Board of Elections. It was confirmed this past week that the City of Maumee has no intention of delivering petitions to the Board of Elections claiming that there was an improper certification. For that reason, Maumee Citizens for Common Sense,through Colleen LaChapelle, is asking the Ohio Supreme Court to intervene and mandate the City of Maumee deliver the petitions to the Lucas County Board of Elections to allow the referendum process to go forward.It is believed the Supreme Court will rule on the matter in time to place the referendum on the November ballot.
Maumee Citizens for Common Sense is represented by election law attorneys Donald Brey and Trista Turley of the Columbus law firm of Isaac Wiles. They were specifically sought to represent Maumee Citizens for Common Sense in this matter because of their practice and experience in election law and procedure.
Colleen LaChapelle, representing Maumee Citizens for Common Sense, states she is unaware of any significant health or safety issues involving rental property in the City of Maumee. Further, she states the Ohio Revised Code has served landlords and tenants well for many years. Creating additional cumbersome and contentious rules are not needed to govern rental property in Maumee. LaChapelle continues, this ordinance and others are an example of overreach and expansion of local government to solve a problem that doesn’t exist that will likely create unforeseen problems for our community.
The citizens group seeking the referendum feels the ordinance is unnecessary and was solely enacted to give City Administrator, Patrick Burtch, unbridled power, authority, and control like a myriad of other ordinances he has sponsored since taking his position in 2020. The citizen’s group has arranged for an investigation of all ordinances enacted since Burtch started in his position in 2020 as well as other City of Maumee matters involving Burtch.
For media inquiries or further information, please contact Colleen LaChapelle at firstname.lastname@example.org