Hampstead city council may have voted to approve an apartment development project but opponents are still fighting to stop it, serving Mayor Bill Steinberg with a lawyer’s letter on Thursday.
The group claimed Steinberg broke the law by vetoing an earlier council vote against the project last month.
That project would see the tenants of two apartment buildings on Cote-St-Luc Rd. evicted and the structures demolished to make way for luxury condos.
Earlier this month Steinberg cast the deciding vote to approve the project. A previous vote had been held in July but Steinberg vetoed it, saying a city councillor had missed the city council meeting due to illness.
According to resident Marie Pontini, who is among the group against the condo development, Steinberg’s veto violates the Cities and Towns Act, which says the mayor can only veto projects the town council has approved.
“He’s making a mockery of the politics and of democracy and also of the law,” she said. “For me, it was really disgusting and it feels like for him, he has every right, that’s his city and he’s doing whatever he wants. That’s the feeling it gave me.”
Steinberg confirmed he received the letter but denied any wrongdoing.
"It's nonsense. I heard from my town clerk, a very experienced lawyer in municipal affairs and also the outside law firm we use for municipal matters and both expressed the proper opinion that a mayor can veto any resolution, whether it's in favour of something or opposed to something," he said.
Steinberg insists he acted legally.
"The way it works is that whatever the resolution is, it's considered as a decision about something. It could be a decision pro, it could be a decision con," he said. "It doesn't matter. The mayor has to sign the resolution within 96 hours or it's vetoed"
A public hearing on the project is scheduled for Aug. 19.