Pinecrest Referendum Fails 

Samantha Elkins, Print Co-Editor-in-Chief

On March 7, Pinecrest’s proposed Charter Amendment Referendum failed as voters decided to keep the current voting system. The referendum required a simple majority vote, and with a 52.92% voter turnout, a majority of Pinecrest citizens established their faith in the current Village Council system. 

63.02% of 6,964 voters voted “no” on the question asking if at least 60% of Pinecrest members should approve amendments to zoning codes or development regulations. In recent weeks, the Village of Pinecrest has held community meetings to discuss the referendum and hear from both sides of voters, including the Concerned Citizens of Pinecrest (vote “yes” supporters) and Pinecrest Friends (vote “no” supporters).  

Some members of the Pinecrest Council turned to social media to express their gratitude to the community for rejecting the referendum. Vice Mayor Anna Hochkmammer made a video on Instagram expressing her thanks, discussing future plans and warning how misinformation continues to affect people. 

The Friends of Pinecrest website listed seven facts to know before voting, as they claimed misinformation posed difficulties for voters to make an informed decision. For example, many residents claimed the Council permitted high rises on U.S. 1, but in Dec. 2022, the council voted unanimously to keep the height of buildings to four stories. 

Discussions about overdevelopment have occurred for over a year as projects on U.S. 1 and developments in the community sparked concern about zoning issues. Members of Concerned Citizens of Pinecrest believe the council holds too much power over zoning and building decisions that would alter the Pinecrest community. Opposing the construction of high buildings that stray away from the suburban family-centered community, Concerned Citizens of Pinecrest gathered over 1,700 signatures to call for a special election to vote about whether or not to take action about the zoning concerns.  

The elected council members have the authority to make zoning decisions. Yet, many argued that citizens already possess the right to petition for a vote to overturn a zoning change with a simple majority per Article 5, Section 5.2 in the Pinecrest Charter, rendering the referendum unnecessary. This created a great schism as “vote yes” and “vote no” signs littered yards around Pinecrest homes, with many reported stolen. 

The Canvassing Board met on March 10 to solidify the results of the election, and no callback has been declared. The council members have applauded citizens for using their voice and ask for people to continue cooperating and moving forward.