Tuesday, September 11, 2012

City files court motion to simplify rent control ballot question

City of Hoboken announces:

Today an order to show cause, verified complaint and brief were filed with the Court on behalf of the Clerk of the City of Hoboken in relation to the rent control ballot question.

The City believes that the proposed wording for the rent control ballot question as presently written is confusing and misleading. The only way to protect the rights of the voters is for the ballot question to be framed in a simple and fair manner.

“Regardless of which side people take on the question of rent control, voters deserve a clear understanding of the issue on which they are being asked to vote,” said Mayor Dawn Zimmer.

The proposed public question as submitted by the Petitioners to the City Clerk reads as follows:

Shall the City of Hoboken continue annual rental increase protections for current residents of rent controlled properties but allow property owners to negotiate rents for vacant apartments and exempt buildings with one-to-four units and condominium units from the rent leveling ordinance by adopting the proposed amendment to Chapter 155 of the Code of the City of Hoboken?

The Clerk proposes the following public question:

Shall Hoboken’s Rent Control law be amended to provide that upon vacancy, buildings containing 4 or fewer units that are now covered by rent control become exempt from the City’s Rent Control laws, and that buildings containing more than 4 units that are now covered by Rent Control, upon vacancy, be permitted to charge the new tenant a market rate rent, while continuing to be covered by the other provisions of the City’s Rent Control laws such as the limitations on annual rent increases and other tenant protections?

Accordingly, an order to show cause was filed with the Court asking the Court to permit the Clerk to formulate the public question as proposed above to provide clarity in the question to better aid the voters. The City strongly believes that it is crucial for voters to be provided with clear wording of the public question, however if the Court denies the Clerk’s motion to revise the public question, the City requests the approval of an interpretive statement to accompany the original public question in the ballot.  Finally, the City asks the Court to issue a stay against printing of ballots by the Hudson County Clerk until the matter is decided by the Court.

Wednesday’s Special Council meeting will not include any discussion of this matter as it is now before the Court. The filed order to show cause, verified complaint and brief will be posted to the City website, www.hobokennj.org.


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