Category “Local News”

The BIG Town Board Meeting is Monday, July 6th

Amherst Municipal Building
5583 Main Street Williamsville, NY 14221

The Town Board’s BIG day is this Monday, July 6th is here!

Don’t miss it! These meeting will be epic.

Log in on Zoom at 4 pm then to another at 5 pm and the kicker at 6 pm as indicated below. Good viewing to all!

4 pm Public Work Session
(same as the Regular Town Board meeting, just stay connected)

To view the Work Session via Zoom:
Phone: 1-929-205-6099
    or on computer
Meeting ID: 886 6176 5986
Password: 149405

5 pm Regular Town Board Meeting

To view the Regular Town Board Meeting via Zoom:
Phone: 1-929-205-6099
      or on computer
Meeting ID: 886 6176 5986
Password: 149405

6 pm Special Town Board Meeting

To view the Special Town Board Meeting via Zoom:
Phone: 1-929-205-6099
      or on computer
Meeting ID: 816 4890 7151
Password: 338064

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“It stinks”

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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.

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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?

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SPECIAL Planning Board Meeting Thursday, June 25th at 6:30 PM

 

UPDATE June 25th:    Apparently the rezoning vote on June 18th will stand. A procedural problem with a previous Z-2020-04 vote on April 23rd requires another vote to rescind that action at the next Planning Board meeting on Aug 20th.


This is a rather unusual situation since the Planning Board met just last week. What’s going on here?

Agenda: http://amherstny.iqm2.com/citizens/FileOpen.aspx?Type=14&ID=2676&Inline=True

The Minutes of June 18th Planning Board haven’t yet been finalized, and somehow a Special Planning Board meeting has been scheduled in less than a week to reconsider a rezoning request that was unanimously voted down at that meeting.

REQUEST TO REZONE 0.39± ACRES FROM R-3 TO OB,
Z-2020-04 Property located at 21 Klein Road (835 Hopkins Road)
RJK Buffalo Properties LLC, Petitioner

Call-In Instructions: 1-646-558-8656
Meeting ID: 842 7493 5505
Password: 743990

For those who would like to see something different and educational, this is the meeting for you.

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Town Hall to Remain CLOSED for Months

Amherst Municipal Building
5583 Main Street Williamsville, NY 14221

At the June 18thy Planning Board meeting a resident asked when the Amherst Town Hall will reopen to the public. Deputy Supervisor Jacqui Berger Town Board liaison to the Planning Board can be clearly heard stating it is going to months before the public would be allowed into Town Hall for public hearings.

Click on the left arrow below to hear a statement by Jacqui Berger about how long the Town Hall will be CLOSED to the public.

The State of Emergency as declared by Supervisor Kulpa has officially ended as of May 15th, and public meetings of up 25 people are now permitted by New York State, so where is this new restriction on public gatherings coming from?

Link: http://www.amherst.ny.us/pdf/supervisor/executive_orders/200427_2020_extension.pdf

Neither the Supervisor nor the Town Board has as yet made any official statement or town law imposing restrictions on public gatherings at Town Hall greater than that allowed by New York State law.

This decision needs to be debated and voted on in an open public meeting by the entire Town Board with public expression, and not just to prohibit all future in-person public meetings indefinitely without at least open public discussion about it.

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WESTWOOD..SWAP OR SWINDLE??

Source: Z-2020-05_500 Maple Rd_052120_Drawings

By Judy Ferraro

A concern for many has always been, and remains of utmost importance, is keeping all of Amherst residents informed as to what a land exchange would be to acquire Westwood. Of equal importance is preserving as much green space, as possible, both on Westwood and the Audubon and protecting surrounding neighborhoods from punitive development.

Apparently, during the world-wide pandemic, while everyone was preoccupied with it, our town was working diligently to put forth the latest iteration and moving the process along swiftly. There was little or no information available to the public. Input from those trying to follow was complicated or ignored.

Now, at the 11th hour, still in a world-wide pandemic, there is a zoom meeting to rezone the people’s parkland to approve something most know nothing about. A medical office building larger than most Super Walmarts with parking for 1000 cars, including a four-story parking ramp.

The disposition of Westwood has been in the public realm since 2012. It is the single most important community project in decades. The solution to the dilemma, therefore, requires public engagement with all information available before any rezoning should be permitted. Covid-19 and a willingness to conduct public hearings without public participation because of it, is unconscionable and shocking.

This proposal is not the solution to making Westwood a park. It is basically what Dr. Weinstein rejected in 2012/13, for good reason.

Westwood and the people’s Audubon parkland development is too critical an endeavor to be moving forward in darkness. There must be other and better solutions.

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Democracy in the Town of Amherst

Amherst Municipal Building
5583 Main Street Williamsville, NY 14221

The 2nd of 4 Town Board meetings this June is on Monday, June15th at 4pm.

Link: http://amherstny.iqm2.com/Citizens/Detail_Meeting.aspx?ID=3772

This is a first of two Special meetings this month intended for ONLY public hearings. The Town Board could have held these public hearings during  either of the two regular Town Board meetings his month, but deliberately chose not to do so.

Including public hearings at a regular Town Board meeting would have allowed the public to comment on the other content of the regular meetings, but that is what our Town Board is apparently trying to prevent.

If you look ahead to the last two Town Board meetings on June 22nd, you can see how this restriction on public participation is very clearly reflected in the way these meetings are scheduled on the Town Meeting Portal website.

These meetings occur one after the other, a regular meeting first with NO public participation followed by a special meeting with public participation limited to a single resolution.

Town Meeting Portal website: http://amherstny.iqm2.com/citizens/

Is this the way our Town Board thinks democracy in Amherst should function?

 

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The Amherst Town Board is missing

Amherst Town Board Councilmembers

For the past 3 months, the Amherst Town board has been working from an undisclosed remote location.  Conducting public business in hiding.  While many of us still work from home, others are back at work and  we can  have lunch on a patio, get a hair cut, as the region begins to reopen.

But, the town board is nowhere to be found.  Their regular monthly meetings are closed to the public apparently contrary to State guidelines that require live stream public viewing if the town chooses to meet virtually.  But the town board aint doin that. What’s worse, the public has been specifically excluded from past meetings upon express ok from the Supervisor.  The Planning Board Chair, looking to finger the supervisor in this nefarious deed says this on the record at the Planning Board meeting, repeatedly. So what gives?

It’s not clear if the town board members go to town hall at all to work.  What is clear is that they conduct the public’s business from their patio or bunker via Zoom and post an edited video a day or so later. Just what are they hiding from?  One member, is actually running a political campaign and is in the  primary for State Senate.  But she’s too busy to  do her current job?

Maybe the board should petition the ZBA for a permit allowing chickens in town hall.  They may not all be hens, but they sure are chickens.

The Amherst Town Board is missing.

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Playing Hide ‘n Seek with the Town Board meeting agenda

Resolution 2020-507 Temporary Access Agreement – Nussbaumer & Clarke (CRS#
2076)

The Monday, June 8th Town Board meeting contains several important and substantive resolutions which before COVID-19 would certainly attract public comment during public expression. But now our Town Board will not allow the public to view or participate at the live streamed Zoom video of the meeting for reasons that are vague and questionable.

In the larger agenda packet, Resolution 2020-507 – Temporary Access Agreement – Nussbaumer & Clarke (CRS#2076) states only that it is for “access to the lands outlined in the boundary survey of the land site, attached as Exhibit “A”“. The shorter meeting  agenda doesn’t have even that level of detail.

When reading a Town Board agenda these days it has become increasingly necessary to dig deeper into seemingly ordinary resolutions to find out what they really mean.  After you do sometimes they are not so ordinary. The image below is the “lands outlined” of this resolution.

Exhibit “A”

Link: http://amherstny.iqm2.com/Citizens/Detail_LegiFile.aspx?Frame=&MeetingID=3774&MediaPosition=&ID=21998&CssClass=

Has the Town Board forgotten what the words “public trust” mean?

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