SOUTH PORTLAND — A proposal to correct the absence of necessary language in the city charter related to citizen initiative petitions is on track to be placed on the Nov. 8 municipal ballot.

The lack of language came to light this month, when the City Council considered a contentious and incomplete petition that was submitted to overturn its decision in March to return a block-long, one-way section of Ocean Street to two-way traffic.

The council is set to vote Monday to set a Sept. 7 public hearing on the proposed charter amendment, which would give petitioners 45 days to gather signatures for a citizen initiative. The charter currently contains no time period to collect or a deadline to submit the required number of signatures after the city clerk issues a petition.

“It’s pretty easy to see that this is something that didn’t get attended to when the charter was drafted but should be there,” said Mayor Tom Blake.

Without a deadline provided in the charter, City Clerk Emily Carrington had set an arbitrary deadline of July 15, giving petitioners on the one-way issue more than two months to collect the required 944 signatures of registered voters and return them to her for verification.

Carrington said she gave petitioners an agreed-upon deadline because they wanted to ensure there would be plenty of time to get the one-way question on the Nov. 8 ballot.

The petitioners collected only 905 valid signatures, however, and the council blocked Carrington from giving them additional time to gather more.

Some also questioned whether Carrington should have issued the petition in the first place, saying that an administrative matter such as the direction of traffic flow on a particular street isn’t suitable for an initiative petition, a means of redress reserved for broader legislative matters.

Carrington said the proposed charter amendment calls for a 45-day deadline because that’s the amount of time that other Maine municipalities allow for citizen initiative petitions.

Blake said it’s a good idea to clarify the city’s petition process, in part because he sees a growing trend toward citizen initiatives in the face of legislative gridlock, especially at the federal level.

Following the Sept. 7 public hearing on the proposed charter amendment, the council would vote on whether to put the question on the Nov. 8 ballot.

The petition related to the Ocean Street one-way section, which ran between E and D streets, was taken out by Alan Cardinal, a Scarborough resident who owns Smaha’s Legion Square Market at 101 Ocean St.

In March, the City Council voted 4-2 to get rid of the one-way section in an attempt to address a controversy that had gripped the Knightville neighborhood for more than two years.

At the end of May, a public works crew painted new stripes on the street, restoring two-way traffic flow to the block and changing 15 angled parking spaces on the west side of Ocean Street to nine regular parallel spaces.

Supporters of the change said the one-way travel pattern with angled parking was unsafe and confusing, increased traffic and speeding on residential side streets and deterred some would-be downtown shoppers. Opponents disputed those claims and worried that the loss of six parking spaces on Ocean Street would hurt businesses.