WOODBINE, Ga. – A decisive 72% of Camden County voters who went to the polls Tuesday told the county commission that it no longer has the power to buy a 4,000-acre patch of land outside Woodbine for the planned Spaceport Camden project.
The result effectively blocks a project that’s been in development for seven years and cost the county more than $10 million so far. Steve Weinkle, an extremely vocal opponent of the spaceport, said Tuesday’s vote was a clear message to the commission.
“It means that the county commission has failed to convince the voters that the $11 million investment has been well spent,” Weinkle told News4JAX. “The commissioners have not provided enough information, or been honest enough about the prospects, to be worth the investment that we’ve been making.”
The referendum was approved when a judge determined that there were enough petition signatures collected to put the land sale issue on a ballot. That decision was fought hard by supporters of the spaceport project, including county commissioners.
On Wednesday, the Camden County government released a statement to News4JAX.
“The ability of a bare minority of registered voters to trigger a referendum election is among the key issues that the Georgia Court of Appeals determined should be decided by the Georgia Supreme Court.
Camden County is assessing the results of last night’s outcome on the future of Spaceport Camden and is working to determine the best way to preserve taxpayers’ investment in the recently issued Launch Site Operator License while the Georgia Supreme Court reviews the legal issues surrounding this election.”Camden County Administrator's Office
A spokesperson for the administrator’s office told News4JAX that no other statement would be released by the county at this time.
After the referendum election was approved by Judge Robert Sweatt, the county’s attorneys filed case against the judge, as well as the two plaintiffs in the referendum lawsuit, calling for the court to block the certification of the election results arguing that the court didn’t have the authority under the law to green-light the county-wide vote.
A judge ruled against the motion, but that decision was appealed by the county on Monday and an emergency motion was filed to block the certification.
As of Wednesday afternoon, the results had not yet been certified due to three provisional ballots that needed to be processed and cleared.
By law, the court has three days to officially certify the results of a referendum election.