Hanover foes say they have enough signatures to force vote - East Valley Tribune: East Valley Local News

Hanover foes say they have enough signatures to force vote

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Posted: Wednesday, March 19, 2008 8:15 pm | Updated: 9:17 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

Referendum effort leaders hoping to stop the downtown Scottsdale Hanover apartment project say they will turn in a sufficient number of signatures by today's deadline to place the issue on the ballot.

Tom Giller, chairman of the political committee Height and Density, would not say how many signatures have been gathered other than it's significantly more than the 1,961 required to force an election this fall.

The signatures would need to be verified before an election is called for either September or November.

The Scottsdale City Council voted last month to approve Hanover, a planned five-story apartment and retail building at the northwest corner of Indian School Road and Goldwater Boulevard.

A number of city activists opposed to the taller and denser buildings being approved downtown started the referendum effort. Supporters of Hanover's planned building of 230 high-end apartments say it will revitalize a city intersection and replace an aging office building, restaurant and hotel.

But the debate over the merits of the project has been overshadowed by accusations that "goons" hired by the Hanover developer are intimidating potential signers in front of public libraries.

Giller said that's why his group started bringing video cameras to the site. One profanity-laden video has been circulating by e-mail. An edited version that was played during the Scottsdale City Council meeting Tuesday showed Hanover supporters approach a car with a video camera and make an apparent call to the police, accusing the referendum supporters of videotaping young children.

Three activists, including Giller, told the council Tuesday of the tactics and criticized council members who had not intervened.

"It's been effective, but not effective enough," Giller said.

But Hanover representatives say the firm they have hired to support the project at the same sites as the referendum backers are not employing such tactics.

Hanover managing partner Eric Kenney said only two supporters have been at any location at one time, meaning claims that up to six people are surrounding signature gatherers are not accurate or could include people not affiliated with the effort.

"We don't condone anything like that," Kenney said of the intimidation allegations. "That's not what we're about."

Hanover election attorney Tom Irvine said it's the referendum supporters who are causing the problems, using video cameras and following Hanover's people around to bait them.

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