Zoning articles will be approved or disapproved by the Councilors; our present automatic ability to approve or disapprove zoning articles as part of the ballot will be lost. Since the Planning Board is appointed by the Councilors, it seems dangerous to allow the output of the Planning Board to be approved by the people who have appointed them! This new arrangement may be satisfactory with the present makeup of the two boards, but an opportunity for future malfeasance will be created.
History tells us that the Voters overwhelming support the actions of the Planning Board. The voters have supported the recommendation of the Planning Board 65 of 66 times in the past 8 years. This means the voters have supported the Planning Board 98.5% of the time. The only time the voters did not support the Planning Board was last year when the line was changed from 50% to 2/3rds with the rezoning of the mall area. The Voters actually supported the action by more than 50%. While I did not personally vote in favor of this article, history does not show abuse.
The Charter also requires a Public Hearing and input process. No ordinance can just appear. There is plenty of opportunity for a vocal group to appear before the Council and ask for the Council to let the Voters decide.
The Charter does NOT require the Council to be the only ones to vote on an ordinance. The Charter allows the Council to place an ordinance on the ballot just as is done now. No Council will be so bold as to not listen to the public outcry of the Public. History in surrounding Towns says this does happen. Not listening is a sure way to not get re-elected.
In regards to the situation above or if the Voters loose faith in the Planning Board / Council, the Charter provides under Article 10.3 a way to overturn the Council through referendum. If the majority of the Voters agree with the referendum, it should not be difficult to overturn the ordinance.
Since it would take the majority of voters to pass or deny the ordinance without the Charter, is there really a change in the balance of Power?
Again, history shows this is not a concern for the vast majority of voters and there are checks and balances in place.