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Shuffle Referendum a Go: Signatures Verified

Town Clerk Donna Rajczewski has notified the Board of Selectmen that there are more than the required 631 petition signatures to force a townwide referendum vote on whether to stop the planned town facilities shuffle.

When workers at the Town Clerk's Office on Wednesday had verified 635 signatures were good and true for the petition to hold a townwide referendum on whether to block the shuffle plan, Town Clerk Donna Rajczewski had enough.

She said she stopped working on the laborious verification process—making sure all signatures were from Darien registered voters and that there weren't any duplicate names—and notified selectmen that the referendum would start.

An employee in the office continued to verify more names just in case any errors had crept into the count.

The Board of Selectmen will decide where and when ("as soon as practicable") and how, but the what had been decided by the numbers: Out of perhaps 970 petition signatures handed in to the Town Clerk's Office on Saturday, Rajczewski said her office had confirmed there were more than the required 631.

On Friday, the Town Clerk's office had received 73 sheets of signatures for a petition to reverse the shuffle plan, which would shift the 's offices to the old library building at 35 Leroy Ave., and move the fraying  into a renovated annex (to be called the "Mather Community Center"). The current senior center would then be replaced with senior housing.

Opponents of the project worked after the RTM gave final approval for it in a 58-28 vote on Nov. 1.

The referendum will be the first in town since December 2001, when voters affirmed the RTM's decision to fund a new Darien High School building, by 4,335 votes to 2,539. Ten weeks before, voters threw overboard a $26.7 million plan to buy the tract now occupied by Avalon Darien, 3,207 votes to 2,505.

New First Selectman Jayme Stevenson has said it should take about a month to hold a referendum.

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