Monday evening, March 19th, your elected Town Council dropped the ball.
In front of Council for what should have been a “rubber stamp” vote were a series of recommendations from the Town’s Municipal Heritage Committee (MHC) concerning the Marotta/Solmar hotel and subdivision proposal on the nationally significant Rand Estate property. The MHC, a statutory advisory committee appointed under the Heritage Act, tore apart the Marotta hotel proposal at its February 13 meeting, which was attended by almost 400 concerned residents. The MHC also made a number of recommendations to Town Council on next steps for the proposal, including extensive independent peer reviews.
Instead of accepting these recommendations (which had been approved at Committee of the Whole on March 5th and with which Solmar’s Maurizio Rogato agreed), Councillor Maria Bau-Coote, with support from the Lord Mayor and Councillors Mazza and Miele voted to “defer” acting on the recommendations of the MHC. Only Councillors Disero and Flynn opposed the motion.
No reason was given for this deferral, which was obviously and clearly well-rehearsed in advance. Marotta’s representatives, who were in attendance, were perhaps the only ones not surprised by this turn of events. The packed Council Chambers and lobby, where well over 200 people turned up for a seat, were appalled!
The Town is on a 150 day clock, beginning on December 17th of last year, to make a decision on the Marotta proposal. With time already tight, the choreographed decision by these four to sit on the MHC recommendations makes a mockery of the hard work of this statutorily-appointed committee.
Mayor Pat Darte and Councillors Bau-Coote, Mazza and Miele you mishandled this badly. You need to apologize, immediately, to the honourable, talented and dedicated members of the Municipal Heritage Committee, whose efforts you have disrespected.
You also need to explain to the MHC, SORE and everyone else aghast at the outrageous Marotta hotel and subdivision proposal how you plan to protect their and our interests opposite the 150 day clock ticking on this application. You have just wasted 30 days of the 60 days we have left. On nothing. What were you possibly thinking?
To the many hundreds of active SORE members and supporters, we have your back. Stay tuned.