There is no decision yet on a controversial proposal to remove Glenview Park on Princeton’s third bench, and replace it with a subdivision.
At a meeting last week, town council voted to direct staff to prepare a report, and make recommendations, on a possible referendum to settle the matter.
That news was a disappointment to the women who led a protest to save the park, during the Alternative Approval Process, (AAP) initiated by the municipality.
“The public has already voted on the issue once,” said Sharron Basanti who helped form the Supporters of Princeton Parks group.
In June the town announced it would seek permission, through the AAP, to remove the park designation from an acre of land in the mine subdivision.
The town owns the property, and hoped to subdivide it into eight lots, including one lot for parkland, with the rest dedicated to mid-priced housing.
In order to stall the plan, Supporters of Princeton Parks needed to get 10 per cent of the electorate, or 228 people, to sign and submit a form to town hall.
The deadline was July 13, and a total of 242 eligible forms were submitted, equally 10.6 per cent of voters.
Basanti said she and others were initially “ecstatic” with the results, and hopeful that “the park was saved,” as Mayor Spencer Coyne had stated he had no appetite for a referendum.
However, at the July 20 meeting, councillor Randy McLean said the process of determining the park’s fate should be followed through.
“In my mind, [the AAP] was to be able to determine if we needed to go to referendum or not,” said McLean.
“Whether I am in favor of this development or not, the point to me is that you give the community a chance to speak on it…We did get 10 per cent, but we still don’t have the other 90 per cent.”
McLean noted that the release of the AAP results coincided with the publication of a study that states Princeton faces a serious housing shortfall.
He also asked staff to investigate if there are other questions that could be added to a referendum ballot, to give council direction of different issues.
McLean’s motion for a new staff recommendation was seconded by councillor George Elliott, and unanimously passed.
A referendum would need to be held by Oct. 1, and would cost approximately, $5,000, according to CAO Lyle Thomas.
A decision on direction will be made at a special meeting of council, on Aug. 4.
“I’m disappointed in town council,” said Basanti, who added she feels the housing proposed for the green space does not match the town’s needs.
She said the cost of a referendum is excessive, and questioned the wisdom of holding such a vote under pandemic conditions.
She added Supporters of Princeton Parks will continue to engage the community, in hopes that council will put a referendum aside on Aug. 4.
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