Signatures on a petition seeking to stop the proposed demolition of the Huntington Sheraton hotel to make way for a modern 380-room replica will be verified by a random sampling of 500 of the signatures, the Board of Directors decided this week. A total of 6,626 valid signatures, or 10% of the registered voters in the city, are needed to force the board to either rescind its approval of a zoning change necessary for the project or send the issue to a citywide vote.
The board had the choice of having the county registrar of voters check each signature against voting records, at a cost of $9,500, or check a random sampling of 500 signatures, at a cost of $650, said City Clerk Pam Swift. The petition, sponsored by Defenders of the Huntington Hotel, was turned in Jan. 14 with 9,544 unverified signatures.
Verification is expected to take three weeks, and the earliest the special election could take place would be in May, Swift said. The election would cost an estimated $50,000.