Opponents of an oil-drilling plan who hoped voters would have a chance to weigh in on the issue this summer received a setback when the City Council voted to place an anti-oil initiative on the November ballot.
It will replace a nearly identical initiative that was already on the ballot.
The measure is aimed at quashing a Santa Monica company's plan to drill 30 wells in a city yard at 6th Street and Valley Drive.
Critics of the plan collected 2,928 signatures in hopes of forcing an earlier election, but the council exercised its right to schedule the initiative for the next municipal election, which is in November.
The vote Tuesday was 3 to 1, with Councilwoman Julie A. Oakes, who favors an earlier election, voting against the measure and Councilman J.R. Reviczky abstaining.
Council members wanted to spare the city the extra expense and said the turnout would be greater in a November election.
In the end, that was OK with oil opponent Rosamond Fogg, who has backed the anti-oil initiative. While opponents of the plan worked to collect signatures recently, a judge ruled the oil project violated zoning codes in the city, a setback for the project.
Macpherson Oil Co. recently submitted revised plans. Donald Macpherson Sr., the chairman of the oil company, has maintained that a vote on the ballot measure will have no effect on the project. "We have a contract with the city and you can't change it retroactively," he said.