Category “Amherst Parks”

OPEN MESSAGE TO TOWN BOARD

Amherst Town Board Councilmembers

By Judy Ferraro

To start…a few points

I firmly believe that everyone should have proper information and a voice in what should be built on Westwood and their Audubon Parkland. All will be varied, depending on where they live, priorities thereof, and recreational interests. That applies even among our own small group. exemplifying why it is so important for everyone to have the information and is able to partake in the development of these two prime beautiful examples of green space in Amherst.

There is no hard resolution deadline to proceed at warp speed as we are doing. It was changed once It can again. The resolution is non-binding.

Whatever was done before is irrelevant. It is the current plan that is being obfuscated and out of the public eye. This project having a document dump on July 2 and the SEQR submitted, today, the day of the vote, should never happen…All of you should know that.

Message:

I appreciate the efforts put forth to acquire Westwood and make it a beautiful, passive park with a touch of classic entertainment provided by Musical Fare. I appreciate the committees chosen to brainstorm as to how the transfer of Westwood would/could be achieved. I was on one of those committees. My understanding of committees, working with honorable people, on an honorable task, is that, in the end, the combined findings make their way to the owners…In this case, it is the PUBLIC. It is the TAXPAYERS. It is THEIR land, THEIR money and THEIR lives that will be affected by the consequences.. good or bad. THEY are the integral part of this transaction. And THEY have been excluded and their voices stifled. Is that/was that by design???

Deciding to move this latest rendition forward in a fog of no information or convoluted, confusing information while everyone is still in a Covid-19 stupor is disgusting, corrupt and evil. It is a breathtaking abuse of power…And a serious diversion of what you all ran on. Residents first. No, This is a blatant display of developers first, probably the worst that I have seen. And a wholesale sell-off of our parkland. The alienation of 93 acres was a huge mistake, in your hands! Any one who is complicit in this subterfuge, knowingly or not…would hopefully reexamine and/ or educate yourselves as to the underhandedness of what is going on here and deny the rezone, or any other action until such time as the public can be informed with all the details including financially and how their taxes will be affected. To do otherwise is an abdication of your duty to the electorate and betrays who you truly are.

Now, suddenly, we have to supercharge the charade to get it done? Still without people being fully informed and able to participate in decisions, while in a pandemic. Is it possible to be more out-of-touch, arrogant and corrupt??

Who knows, the community may like what you have created. But until they are told, no one knows. As it stands, the question now is, Westwood at what cost, the public must decide not selected people or group in CENTRAL PLANNING.

Never forget that you govern by the consent of the governed. They can’t be ignored. Deliberately circumventing them as you have been doing procedurally during the entire process is criminal. Subjugating yourselves to be in the service of developers to destroy central Amherst under the language of Amherst Central Park only underscores the web of deceit that you have employed to perpetrate one of the biggest con jobs on the people of Amherst.

Vote NO on any Comprehensive Plan amendment and/or rezoning of anything until the people are fully informed. This exchange of the people’s parkland is too important for the community to be excluded.

Comments (4)

BIG changes coming to the Town of Amherst!

Really?

The Work Session for the July 6th Regular Town Board meeting at 4 pm could prove “interesting”!

Agenda: http://amherstny.iqm2.com/citizens/FileOpen.aspx?Type=14&ID=2678&Inline=True


The full agendas for both July 6th Town Board meetings are now posted on the Town of Amherst meeting portal, and both are blockbusters!

The following are the resolutions that are the most concerning since they involve the selling or purchasing or swapping of very $$$ land namely the Town of Amherst land at the Audubon Recreational Complex and Mensch Capital Partners land at the former Westwood Country Club.

July 6th Regular Town Board meeting at 5 pm
http://amherstny.iqm2.com/Citizens/Detail_Meeting.aspx?ID=3778

2020-572   Creation of Amherst Central Park Guidance Task Force

2020-576   Statute of Limitations Tolling Agreement (CRS #2103) Between Mensch Capital Partners, LLC an the Town of Amherst

2020-577   Contract of Sale (CRS #2105) Between The Uniland Partnership of Delaware, L.P. and the Town of Amherst

2020-578   Purchase and Sale Agreement Between Town of Amherst and Bones & Guts, LLC(CRS #2107) Portion of 500 Maple Road

2020-579   Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) (CRS #2108) Between Mensch Capital Partners, LLC, Bones & Guts, LLC and the Town of Amherst

July 6th Special Town Board meeting at 6 pm
http://amherstny.iqm2.com/Citizens/Detail_Meeting.aspx?ID=3747

2020-567  500 Maple Road Rezoning


There are many more “normal” resolutions in these two Town Board meeting, but the passage of those listed above will fundamentally change the nature of what we call the Town of Amherst for years, if not decades to come.

Comments (4)

July 2020 Reminder Notes

On Thursday, July 2, 2020 the Town Board agendas for the next two Town Board meetings, both on Monday, July 6, 2020, will be posted on the Town of Amherst Meeting Portal website.

Link: http://amherstny.iqm2.com/citizens/

The work session starts at 4 pm, TB meeting 1 at 5 pm, and TB meetings 2 at 6 pm. That is quite an ambitious time schedule given the topics being discussed. Apparently they are planning on little or no discussions.

We recommend you look at both agendas, and for anything like “MOU“, or “Audubon“, or “Mensch” or “Westwood“.

If you view the YouTube video posted on the Supervisor’s re-election Facebook page you see why the July 6th Town Board meeting is important to you. It is when the Town Board will decide on a whether to approve a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Mensch Capital Partners and the Town of Amherst on the land swap of a portion of the Audubon Recreational Complex (ARC) and Westwood.

We really have no idea what the Supervisor and his people are doing behind virtual/real closed doors with Mensch, but we MAY get a small glimpse of what they are willing to let the public know in the July 6th Town Board agenda.

Remember the Town Board currently says they are constrained to complete this MOU by July 10th, or Town Hall will become a pumpkin patch. But don’t hold your breath, they moved the goal posts before and they can do it again using their infamous use of the “Suspension of the Rules” to hide agenda items.

Resolution 2020-570: http://amherstny.iqm2.com/Citizens/Detail_LegiFile.aspx?Frame=&MeetingID=3744&MediaPosition=&ID=22067&CssClass=

What else is happening at the July 6th Special Town Board meeting (the second one that day)? The Town Board votes on the UBMD/Ciminelli rezoning of 14.97 acres at Audubon to allow private development there, a key element to the larger plan for something similar with Mensch for the remaining portion of the 93 acres the town originally alienated.

Comments (1)

BAIT AND SWITCH? SWAP OR SWINDLE?


UPDATE:
Apparently the Supervisor realized it didn’t look good for an official Town of Amherst video to be posted ONLY on his Facebook page, so all such videos of his (there were several) were pulled a day or two after we pointed this out to our readers. This may not be an admission anything by him, but it sure looks like some sort of a reaction to us.


The Town of Amherst (note the Amherst seal!) recently took the unusual action of posting a YouTube video “staring” Supervisor Brian Kulpa about the “Town Board’s plan” for the acquisition of Westwood from Mensch.

Is this a good faith effort at keeping the public informed on the Westwood initiative, or a blatant sales pitch to justify an unpopular deal that opens the door to the development of a portion of the Audubon Recreational Complex by Mensch?

Given the liberal use of suspension of the rules at Town Board meeting, and the slow drip, drip, drip of the little bits of information released over a long period of time about this deal, you be the judge.

Why has the Supervisor gone to the extraordinary effort of using a high profile YouTube video to communicate his Westwood plan, and why now? Does he feel that YouTube is more appropriate for his target audience, or is he trying to proactively reduce public resistance for this potentially huge change to Amherst?

Listen closely, and then ask yourself did you hear a coherent, well reasoned, and competent presentation that increases your confidence in the plan, or was it more of a collection loosely connected individual actions somehow related to each other which may or may not work.

Finally ask yourself why is all this happening without robust public interaction, and without the public being able to comment in-person at Planning Board and Town Board meetings?

Comments (6)

The Senator and the $817,000

Have you ever read or heard someone say “Senator Ranzenhofer gave us that money for the library, …for the fire hall, …for the senior center, …for the pickle ball courts”, or whatever?

Senator Ranzenhofer has garnered funds for local projects. However, it was never HIS money. It was OUR tax dollars doled out to elected officials in the majority (in this case) of the NYS Senate for use as electioneering gimmicks.

Electeds who are members of the majority party in either house get more of OUR tax dollars to return to our communities for projects than do members in the minority. But, make no mistake, this is the return of tax dollars to the community via a political process rather than a competitive grant making process.

Senator Ranzenhofer is not seeking reelection this year in order to spend more time with his family. AND/OR because his party lost the majority in the last election and Senator Mike lost his office, his committee chair, his staff, his power and his lulu. He also lost his ability to bring our bacon home to us because he is now in the minority.

However, Senator Mike DOES have a substantial pot of money that IS his own. Money that he gets to keep in 2021 (with some strings) when he is out of office. The last time we checked, Senator Mike had $817,000 on hand in his campaign account. That’s a lot of money—mostly from NYC developers donating to a once powerful committee chair in the majority—but, this is still his money. His leftover campaign money.

We think Senator Mike’s benevolence should continue in his waning months in office and we would like to help him accomplish this. Coincidentally, the cost of bathrooms, picnic tables and re-mulching the golf cart trails at Westwood comes in at exactly $816,500. We think this would be a good use of his money and is synonymous to his allocation of OUR money for pickle ball courts. This donation would leave sufficient funds for the Senator to send out the occasional newsletter at his own expense. I’m sure the Town would be delighted to accept any money from Senator Mike, even his own.

Comments (2)

Golfers Gone Wild!

 

It was a raucous, riotous meeting in Town Hall Monday night—the likes of which hasn’t been seen in years. Audubon golfers furious about a cemetery encroaching on their links packed the parking lot and then the council chamber itself. And they were boiling mad.

To further add to the chaos, the 3 minute “Shut up and sit down” bell was apparently in the shop for repair because it was no where to be seen or heard. Just where is Marjory when you need her? After 4 elongated public hearings, golfers marched to the podium one by one and all seemed to have spent 15 minutes each of back and forth with the Supervisor.

Supervisor Kulpa only lost his cool once when the crowd catcalled a speaker from Forest Lawn Cemetery, in what mimicked a Trump rally. He was right to blow his top at the complete lack of decorum.

Town Board season ticket holders sat with mouths agape at what was playing out before their eyes.

And you can watch it all on video and its FREE. So make some popcorn and tune in.

Comments (4)

Comment from a Concerned Citizen

If what Michele is saying is true, this whole charade is truly an outrage. Either Kulpa is naive or he believes the rest of us are. The cemetery was proposed by Mensch during the original land swap with Westwood. Weinstein refused to play their game mostly because of the lopsided value of the people’s parkland, versus Westwood’s. It appears what we have here is the Mensch swap by stealth, bit by bit to get all of the Audubon. Kulpa already finagled 93 acres of parkland using Westwood as the single reason. He initially wanted 240 acres. Now, he’s going back for more parkland to transfer to a for-profit corporation? What else will emerge down the pike to get more parkland? After all, it is still shy of 240.

The parkland spoils being divided and Westwood still not in hand would indicate a giant con job on the people. Kulpa with his selected employees were to be different from the past. Sadly, they are. They are not merely tools of these developers, they are their agents. And, we’re paying for it.

Looks like Mensch gets the “mulligan” and the town’s people get shafted.

This comment was originally submitted on February 14, 2020 in response to Town of Amherst Asks for a Mulligan.

Comments (1)

Town of Amherst Asks for a Mulligan

Long rumored to be an Indian burial ground but now acknowledged as a relocated Potters Field, Amherst residents are about to get a brand new cemetery on the Audubon Golf Course. It is a reasonable solution to the shabby treatment of the remains of the poor.

And, as opposed to “Amherst is operating a cemetery”, the truth is that Amherst is allowing customers to golf in a cemetery. Maybe it would be wise to close the affected holes this golfing season.

Comments (6)

Concerned Citizen Letter: A Person Who is Right and Wants the Public to Know What’s Happening in Amherst

May 31, 2019

I am requesting that this letter be incorporated into the town public record.

After I read the recent articles in the Buffalo News and the Amherst Bee article on its front page regarding Supervisor Kulpa’s comments regarding Westwood and parkland alienation and conducting a rather speedy hearing scheduled for May 20 on this matter I found myself very much alarmed. For starters, this is hardly enough timely notification for a hearing on such an ambiguous matter to most town residents. To the best of my recollection the concept of “alienation” has never been mentioned publicly before. And then to turn around later on in the town board program to have the gall to put it to a vote via the town attorney resolution #2019-617 is nothing short of unbelievable. Also, specifically what will be presented at this hearing when it appears to me that at this stage no one knows what the heck is going on and if there is enough specifics to even have an intelligent hearing. This sounds very much to me like a sham hearing just to move this parkland alienation thing along to meet some preliminary requirement with the state to obtain its approval to swap land. Once this is accomplished on such very short notice without an adequate dissemination of the materials available to weigh benefits/ detriments of such a hasty action this will put far too much power in the hands of this town board to make a deal that I frankly do not think this town board on its own is competent enough to handle for the greater good of our town. Also, I do not like that it appears that the only elected official directly involved in whatever has occurred between the town and Mensch Capital Partners, LLC is the town supervisor. Too much is at stake here to trust just one person to get the story straight. Checks and balances are sorely needed.

let each of you remember that the Mensch Capital Partners are not driven here by some altruistic motive to make Amherst great again. They are driven to make their hasty purchase of Westwood as profitable as possible for them first and foremost. The town did not seek the Mensch group out to make this land swap. They sought the town out. The town holds the stronger cards in this poker game. If any good comes out of wheel spinning effort to-date the people the town folk put their faith better make dam sure the greater good of the town is served and that we come out with our interests best served. The town does not owe Mensch a deal. They didn’t elect any of you. And lastly to put the “cherry” on top of the sundae when all is said and done if anything comes of this The Mensch Capital Partners and associates will be suing the town for every bit of tax breaks and favorable funding our IDA can give them. Go figure.

In wrapping this up I’m going to let you in on a little secret, this deal, if it ever comes to fruition, is not going to be the equivalent of the Central Park of NYC. We are not New York City. And to make this park come even close to rivaling Central Park would bankrupt us. I’d expect this example of “Puffing” form a used car salesman, not something from our elected officials. Also, when this resolution comes to a vote later this evening, except for the supervisor the people deserve nothing less from each town board member a substantive explanation of why each voted the way you did. No cop outs by just merely saying, “aye.”

Sincerely,

Edward F. McKee 75 Hobnail Drive Amherst, NY 14051

P.S. Amherst comprises approximately 54 square miles or 34,568 acres. As of the most recent town records I have available (2016) the amount of designated town “green space the town has total designated green space, excluding land specifically designated for private development amounting to 4,428 acres, or 12.8% of town land.

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