Buda land use change referendum, 2009

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A Buda land use change referendum did not appear on the November 3, 2009 ballot in Hays County for voters in the city of Buda. BudaFirst.org, a group that spearheaded the referendum effort, submitted a petition for referendum.

The ballot measure would have reversed a city council-approved land use change that would have allowed US Foodservice establish themselves on the eastern part of the city. The city's attorney stated earlier in July that the decision was not up for referendum. BudaFirst.org remained confident and advanced their intentions for the petition.

The group collected 1,000 signatures, more than the required 670, but some of those signatures were reportedly from residents who lived outside of the city limits.[1]

Legal action

The Buda City Council voted, in a 6-1 decision on September 15, 2009, to reject the petition submitted with almost 800 signatures. As a result, the measure was not be placed on the November ballot. According to the city council, their decision came at the advice of their attorneys, citing the city charter did not allow such referenda. BudaFirst.org member David Patterson stated that the group plans to file a lawsuit against the city, stating: “They want to use taxpayer money to fight us, when our Texas Constitution says we can put it on the ballot.”[2]

As of November 24, the court decided to side with the city on this issue. It was brought to court and ruled that the city was allowed to make the decision on their own because it was in their extraterritorial jurisdiction and was not legislative in nature. The attorney and group fighting this have planned to appeal the decision. If they get a no again then that is the end, but if the court changes its mind then the issue is able to be up for a possible vote.[3]

The State Supreme Court has charged the city to file a reason why they rejected a legally binding petition submitted by residents, the city has until April 22 to respond. Opponents to the land use change see this as a small hope that the issue will yet see a public vote.[4]


  1. newstreamz.com, "US Foodservice foes submit petition in Buda", July 29, 2009
  2. Statesman.com, "Buda City Council nixes referendum, may face lawsuit", September 17, 2009
  3. News Streamz, "Buda residents to appeal," November 24, 2009
  4. San Marcos Local News, "State Supreme Court demands Buda response," March 29, 2010