Shadow Pines: Homeowners want public referendum, could jeopardize project
Penfield, N.Y. - There was an outburst at Wednesday’s Penfield Town meeting, as leaders updated the community on plans to buy the old Shadow Pines golf course.
Frustrations center around demands from some that voters hadn't had the final say on the town's plans to buy the golf course for $3.6 million.
"You had two years for a referendum,” said a man from the audience, directing his comments to the town supervisor. “Why didn't you do it earlier? Answer that question!"
Supervisor Anthony LaFountain gave a timeline of the communications between the town and the land owner. He tried to explain what led the town board's decision to finance the property without a public vote.
"We were put in a position through these negotiations that didn't allow us a lot of options,” LaFountain said. “In a letter that came to the town on September 20th, it was very specific that you needed to close by January 31st. We went back several times to have that changed, or modified, and we're told we're not going to do that."
But that wasn’t enough for some residents.
"My biggest issue is six people can't make a decision for the population," said Bob Wrona.
"They either dropped the ball or they were, what would I say, bullied by Dolomite (the land owner)," said Neal Madden.
In order for a public vote to take place, neighbors would have to submit 700 signatures to the town in the next two weeks. But it could put the project in jeopardy.
"Even if we fast-tracked a public vote, it would still carry us well past the closing date," said LaFountain.
That closing date would be either late March early April. LaFountain said the Dolomite isn’t budging on extending the date and could offer the property to other developers if the drop-dead date of January 31 isn’t met.
If that happens, it would raise concerns for other homeowners who want the town to buy the land, keeping the property as open space for recreational activities.
"They are trying to do what the residents of Penfield have clearly expressed," said Penfield resident Samuel Ogie.