Over 10,000 Bellaire residents cast their votes in the Special Charter Amendment Election, November 3.
Residents rejected Prop B, which would have allowed 50% of people who lived on a block to decide whether or not a sidewalk could be installed. Prop C was also rejected, which stated that no sidewalks could be constructed without concurrently eliminating the impact on surface water discharge/runoff within the city. Both of these propositions would all but kill future sidewalks in Bellaire.
The only proposition to pass, Prop A, requires that prior to any consideration of an ordinance to build a sidewalk, the city must deliver by certified mail a detailed design of the sidewalk project to residents six months in advance. They must also hire an independent engineer to perform a hydrological study. The hurdles this amendment will create remain to be seen.
Sidewalks have been a contentious issue in Bellaire for decades. Over the last two years the subject has divided residents. A group of residents called Bellaire Citizens for Sidewalk Choice gained the 5% of registered voter requirement on each of three petitions to call for a special election. In response a new group was formed called SafeBellaire which opposed amending the Bellaire City Charter to regulate sidewalks.
The SafeBellaire group is happy with the outcome of the election, saying “Our grassroots campaign came together this fall as parents and concerned citizens sounded the alarm for public safety, as well as those who recognized that no matter how one feels about sidewalks changing the City Charter to usurp elected City Council members’ power is not the appropriate solution. We are incredibly grateful for the many residents who made financial contributions to support the SafeBellaire campaign, as well as those who volunteered their time to help our efforts. We are thrilled with this outcome! We also hope that no matter how you felt about today’s outcomes on these ballot measures, we can all agree that Bellaire in an incredible place to live and we should continue to build it up by giving of our time and resources to its parks, schools, places of worship, Boards, the Nature Discovery Center, Bellaire Citizens Academy, and more. We hope that with this election behind us, that we may work together to continue to make Bellaire a place that we are proud to call home.”