Court of Appeal Limits 'Text' Requirement for Local Referendum Petitions


A referendum petition challenging the approval of a development plan need not include the text of the plan itself, if the plan was neither attached to the ordinance approving the plan nor explicitly incorporated by reference, the First District Court of Appeal has held. Although the content of the development plan clearly was relevant to a decision on the referendum, the court in Lin v. City of Pleasanton declined to extend the "text" requirement of Election Code section 9238(b) to require that the petition include the development plan, in addition to the text of the challenged ordinance. Expanding the text requirement would force citizens to guess at the documents that must be included in a valid referendum petition—a burden the court found unwarranted, absent "extreme circumstances" that otherwise would render the petition "affirmatively misleading."

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