Norfolk Petitioners Gather Enough Signatures to Make Norfolk City Council Have Another Vote on Casino Resort Permission

The second attempt of local campaigners to change a decision of Norfolk City Council regarding the proposed Pamunkey Indian Tribe casino resort succeeded to collect almost three times what it was required to get for the first step.

As previously reported by CasinoGamesPro, the group has revealed that it intends to continue its efforts. One of the campaigners, Jackie Glass, revealed that this week, 45 volunteers were engaged with collecting signatures of Norfolk voters and the effort was worth it, as the campaigners secured over 3,000 signatures backing their cause.

Yesterday, petitioners went to the City Hall with 3,403 notarized signatures, which is almost three times the amount they are required to get in order to see the issue reconsidered. In case the voters’ signatures are validated, Norfolk City Council will have to schedule public hearings on the casino resort issue and once again vote on the matter.

If the City Council reiterates its initial decision to approve a land deal under which a new waterfront casino resort could be established, a third petition effort could be made. In this case, petitioners would be given nine months to collect 4,000 signatures so that the matter is forced onto the ballot.

The New Petition Set to Be Presented to City Council on Its November 26th Meeting

On September 24th, Norfolk City Council voted 7 to 1 in favor of the aforementioned land-sale agreement with the Pamunkey Indian Tribe. The deal regarding a property situated in close proximity to Harbor Park includes an intergovernmental agreement between the tribe and the city, as well as a 5-year opportunity to purchase a piece of land situated between the Amtrak station and Harbor Park at the price of almost $10 million.

Further federal and state regulation would be necessary in case of any casino development in the region.

As CasinoGamesPro reported at the time when the first petition effort was unsuccessful, the Citizens of an Informed Norfolk Committee announced their intention to make another attempt to stop the potential construction of a casino resort. They claimed that the approval of the deal was rushed and local citizens were not properly informed about all aspects of the agreement.

The group had 120 days to collect a total of 1,250 local voters’ signatures in order to force public hearings on the matter and a new City Council vote, respectively. The first effort of the campaigners, however, turned out unsuccessful. The same complaints were backed by petitioners who started an effort to organize a referendum on the City Council decision. They, however, were also unable to gather the required 4,000 votes within the 30-day deadline, falling short of the number they were supposed to collect.

Another effort was made, and yesterday, City Clerk Alan Bull revealed that the petition was filed in City Council, with everything looking to be in order. The petition is set to be sent to the voter registrar in Norfolk so that the collected signatures are verified. After this happens, the petition will be presented to the local City Council at its meeting scheduled for November 26th. The members of the City Council will be given 30 days to set up a date for public hearings and a new vote to decide whether or not to pass an ordinance that overturns its initial ruling.

If the approval of the deal with the Pamunkey Indian Tribe is reaffirmed, petitioners will be given nine months to gather 4,000 signatures to force a referendum on the matter.

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