Cheltenham Home Rule Charter Referendum (2009)
A citizen-organized group, called We the People of Cheltenham, is backing a measure that would amend the Home Rule Charter and give residents a community bill of rights. According to the group, the rights would include a local self government and the right to have a final authority over issues affecting their community. Also included on the proposed bill of rights is that corporations submit proposed development plans to residents for a public vote. The petition will only have the month of July to collect 2,600 signatures in order for a referendum to be approved and sent to the November ballot.
One reason the issue is being raised is because residents are concerned they are not being heard by Township Officials.
The Montgomery County commissioners, in response to a lawsuit filed by the citizens group organizing the petition, must go before a county judge and defend why they unanimously decided keep the referendum off the November ballot.
The commissioners denied ballot access for the referendum during the week of August 20, 2009 and also acknowledged, however, that they were unaware of the legality of their actions. According to county solicitor Barry M. Miller, “There really is no law on this.”
The commissioners conceded that the group followed procedures accordingly, stating that their proposal was filed on time and gathered the required number of signatures.