by Billy Manes
Armed with an experienced land-use lawyer and urban planner, a grassroots campaign to stop and modify an oversized apartment project in the heart of College Park is headed for trial in state court early next year.
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. It has already overcome several motions by the city and the project's developers to dismiss its twin appeals.
So far, Rethink the Princeton has raised nearly $30,000 for its legal battle, mostly from College Park residents who responded to a recent door-to-door fund-raising campaign. Reaching most of the neighborhood's 5,500 households, the average contribution has been just over $70. Now the group is seeking additional funds so its lawyer and planner can prepare for an August court hearing at which the city will attempt to have one of the group’s two cases dismissed. Depending on the outcome of that hearing, a trial is tentatively set to begin on March 14, 2016.
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.
"We strongly believe we have a responsibility to the College Park community to see this through," said Mary Travis, president of Rethink the Princeton. "We are on the right side of this issue, and we have the community solidly behind us. We know that because we have raised nearly $30,000, most of it from $10, $25, $50, and $100 donations."
Donations for Rethink the Princeton may be mailed to or dropped off at Sutton & Sutton (Attention: RTP); 1223 Edgewater Drive; Orlando, FL 32804.