[I received this release this afternoon]
For Immediate Release
January 29, 2016
Re: The proposed rezoning for Saratoga Hospital Expansion
Mr. Andy Brick 489-9423, Counsel representing the residents of neighborhood
Mr. Jack Despart 239-273-7931, Morgan St. Neighbor
On Friday afternoon, January 29, 2016, attorney Andy Brick, acting on behalf of the residents of Morgan St., Myrtle St., Seward St, Woodlawn Ct., and much of Birch Run filed a protest petition at Saratoga City Hall requiring the City Council to pass the Hospital-requested proposed rezoning legislation with a super majority, or 4 out of 5 votes. Normally legislation would be passed with a Council majority of 3 out of 5 votes. Saratoga Hospital would like to expand it’s PUD into the residential area of the Northern part of Morgan St. The neighborhood would like to keep this area zoned residential.
The Protest Petition City Ordinance Section (10.2.8.1) is a mechanism residents can use when they do not want to see rezoning happen in their neighborhood. If a petition is filed, 4 affirmative votes are needed to pass the rezone.
“The residents not only provided enough signatures, but they also provided signatures from just about the entire residential neighborhood,” stated Andy Brick, attorney representing the residents. He continued, “We have not only met the criteria in order to force a super majority vote by City Council, but we surpassed it.”
Because two members of the City Council have officially recused themselves, citing conflicts of interest, the City Council only has 3 possible votes and therefore is unable to obtain the 4 votes necessary to pass the rezoning legislation needed in order for the Hospital to expand into the residential neighborhood.
“This is a case of David beating Goliath,” said Jack Despart, Morgan St. resident. He continued, “When we first heard of this expansion, everyone told us we couldn’t win, the Hospital has too many resources and connections, and we didn’t have a chance. But, we came together as a neighborhood and a community and it worked. I’m so proud of our neighbors, each and every one of them.”
Despart further explained, “We all want the best for the Hospital and the community but we honestly feel the Hospital failed to recognize the rights of its neighbors and that makes many of us very disappointed. There are several other alternatives already situated within commercial zoning and within a close proximity to the Hospital, which were never properly explored.”