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Issue 38 City Charter Amendment
November 2015 Passage of Issue 38 Amends City Charter

On November 3, 2015, Worthington voters approved an amendment to the City Charter regarding when zoning laws (ordinances) go into effect and the related right of citizens to petition for a referendum vote on such laws.

The City Charter is the equivalent of Worthington's local constitution. It provides the framework for how the City
is organized and governed.

The new Charter provision extends the number of days before changes to the zoning code or rezoning decisions made by City Council go into effect.  This allows citizens more time to file a referendum, if there is opposition to the City Council decision.

The amendment went into effect immediately after the certification of election results by the Franklin County Board of Elections.

The amendment DOES the following:
 1. Provides a 60-day waiting period from the
     date of publication before any ordinances
    (local legislation) goes into effect that:
  • Changes the language in any section of the
    City’s zoning code
  • Changes the zoning for any property within
    the City

2. Prohibits either of those two types of
    ordinances outlined above from being passed
    on an emergency basis.

3. Provides that citizens would have the right to
    file referendum petitions in accordance with
    Ohio law during this 60-day waiting period.

The amendment DOES NOT change the following
No changes have been made to administrative
processes in place for development related decisions,
such as: 
  • Board of Zoning Appeals variances
  • Architectural Review Board approvals
  • Amendments to Development Plans
  • Conditional Use approvals
  • Review and approval of Building or Occupancy permits

The new provision reads:

SECTION 1.04 - REFERENDUM AND EFFECTIVE DATE ON ZONING ORDINANCES OR OTHER ZONING MEASURES.

(A)  Notwithstanding any other provision of this Charter, the power of referendum on any ordinance or other measure passed by the Council amending the City’s zoning code or changing the zoning for any property in the City may be exercised in the manner provided by the laws of the State of Ohio except that the petition may be filed upon passage of any ordinance or other measure by Council and within sixty (60) days following publication in order to afford an opportunity during that period for the filing of referendum petitions thereon.

(B)  Notwithstanding any other provision of this Charter, no ordinance or other measure passed by the Council amending the City’s zoning code or changing zoning for any property in the City shall go into effect until sixty (60) days following publication in order to afford an opportunity during that period for the filing of referendum petitions thereon; nor shall any such ordinance or measure be passed on an emergency basis.

More Information
If you have any questions about how this change applies to a specific project or proposal, please call our Planning and Building Department at (614) 431-2424 or email Planning and Building Director Lee Brown at