The residents of College Park will not back down to City Hall as ReThink the Princeton prepares for an important August court hearing in their legal fight to preserve the quality and character of their neighborhood. Depending on the outcome of the August hearing, a full trial is tentatively set to begin on March 14, 2016.
It’s no easy task to take on the City of Orlando and it’s definitely not cheap, but this group is determined to press on for what they believe is right.
“We strongly believe we have a responsibility to the College Park community to see this through,” Mary Travis, president of ReThink the Princeton, said in a press release. “We are on the right side of this issue, and we have the community solidly behind us.”
ReThink the Princeton (RTP) is a non-profit group formed by College Park residents to appeal the Orlando City Council’s approval of a 206-unit residential complex between Princeton and Smith streets near Edgewater Drive. Last year, residents began a grassroots campaign to stop and modify an over-sized apartment project, called the Princeton, in the heart of College Park.
Despite the community opposition and local organizing, the Orlando City Council defied College Park residents and approved the massive new development. However, the City Council vote would not deter residents who were ready for a longer fight to protect their neighborhood from the wrong development. ReThink the Princeton announced they would appeal the City’s decision, launching the current legal battle.
Now, the City of Orlando is once again attempting to dismiss one of the cases at the upcoming court hearing. RTP is seeking additional funds so its lawyer and planner can prepare for the important August hearing and defeat the city’s motion.
Already, the community group has achieved many successes. RTP has raised around $30,000 for its legal battle, allowing their legal team to overcome several motions by the City of Orlando and the project’s developers to dismiss the appeals up to this point. It is rare a grassroots appeal of a City Hall decision reaches this level in the legal system. This could be the final hurdle until a full trial next year.
In speaking about the widespread community support, the RTP president also announced major financial support from residents throughout College Park. “We know that [the community is solidly behind us] because we have raised nearly $30,000, most of it from $10, $25, $50, and $100 donations,” Travis added in the release.
According to the group, the contributions were raised “mostly from College Park residents who responded to a recent door-to-door fund-raising campaign.” The average contribution has been just over $70, according to RTP. That’s an incredible grassroots effort. RTP stated the group’s door-to-door efforts were able to reach most of College Park’s 5,500 households, educating neighbors and developing ideas for better planning for the future of their community.
The group’s other case, which appeals certain actions of the City Council and Municipal Planning Board to the Fifth District Court of Appeal in Daytona Beach, is scheduled to result in a ruling sometime this summer.
ReThink the Princeton will use all contributions to continue funding its legal appeals. For those interested, contributions can be made online through PayPal or mailed to/dropped off at Sutton & Sutton (Attention: RTP): 1223 Edgewater Drive; Orlando, FL 32804.