Hampshire Superior Court Judge Richard J. Carey, dismissed on Thursday (1/13) the suit by Amherst residents charging that the November 2 referendum on the $36.3 million Jones Library renovation and expansion needed a two-thirds vote to be valid. The outcome was reported in the Daily Hampshire Gazette on January 13.
Carey said that the two-thirds margin was satisfied by the 10-2-1 vote by the Town Council on April 5, 2021. At the November 2,2021 election, the library project received 65% of the vote. The judge also determined that the complaint by the plaintiffs that some signatures on the voter veto petition were wrongly disqualified was satisfied by the council allowing a referendum on the project, as would have been required if the necessary number of signatures had been gathered. Because 22% of the signatures gathered were ruled invalid, the petition fell 24 votes short of the 864 needed to force a referendum.
Town Manager Paul Bockelman received notice of the Hampshire Superior Court ruling during the Jones Library Building Committee meeting. He announced the verdict and said, “This is very good news. Now the project can proceed without further worries about the pending lawsuit.”