East Windsor’s local ballot referendum failed in this Tuesday’s election by a margin of just 20 votes, which means it is time for a recount.

According to state statutes, if a municipal referendum vote is decided by a margin of less than half a percent, the vote must be recounted to ensure the numbers are correct.

At issue is whether the town should invest $5 million in a renovation project at what is currently the Scout Hall Youth Center on Abbie Road. Under the planned expansion, Scout Hall would be transitioned into a broader community and senior center.

In an interesting move, the East Windsor Planning and Zoning Board voted to approve the plans for the renovations during a meeting on Tuesday night, while the town’s voters were still deciding whether to okay the funding for the project.

At the start of the meeting, one local resident called it “inappropriate” given the timing and expressed annoyance with the lack of public comment allowed at the time. A member of the board then pointed out that they do not open to public comment when approving plans.

Board Chair Ann Gobin said she didn’t believe the meeting was inappropriate but “my opinion is that the town is being proactive.”

The plans provided to the board by the Town Engineer included a proposed addition to the current structure as well as additional parking spaces. He said there would be “minimal disturbance” at the site, but that it would require the installation of a foundation for the addition, requiring some excavation.

The board approved the plans unanimously before recessing for the evening but whether anything will come of the proposal is now up to the recount.

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An Emmy and AP award-winning journalist, Tricia has spent more than a decade working in digital and broadcast media. She has covered everything from government corruption to science and space to entertainment...

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