Category “Planning Board”

MISSING: Public participation at Town Public Meetings this week!

This is a full week for Amherst Town government activity.

1. The Town Board “meets” on Monday, April 20 at 4 pm.
2. The Zoning Board of Appeals “meets” on Tuesday, April 21 at 6:30 pm.
3. The Planning Board “meets” on Thursday,  April 23 at 6:30 pm.  (“Pre-meeting” at 6 pm)

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

The agenda content for each of these “meeting” is full, in fact very full as if for the Town of Amherst, the corona virus pandemic is not happening.   It’s business as usual, and get as much done as possible regardless of the collateral damage to meetings caused by the pandemic.

But there is one thing that is different, actually overwhelming different.  It appears ways of fully including the public in the process of a “public meeting” do not yet exist.  While it is clear that the corona virus pandemic makes public gathering almost impossible at this time, it is also clear that the the town hasn’t yet found OR proven it has an minimally adequate replacement.

The Town of Amherst must first PROVE, not ASSUME, that the Zoom Meetings videoconferencing process it is attempting to use for the first time for ZBA and Planning Board meetings is “good enough” to support robust and meaningful public participation.  Starting with meetings that contain heavily loaded agendas,  where some of these items appear both complex and controversial is asking for trouble.

So start simple, reduce the number of agenda items and put off the controversial ones for a month or two. Work out the problems with Zoom Meetings videoconferencing, and if it is not good enough, find a better way and test that method. But don’t fail to adequately provide for public participation by insisting to schedule large agendas where public participation is not properly supported.


ALSO ...

  • Town Board: The Town Board “meeting” this Monday does not even support any meaningful or effective form of public participation. No live streaming. just a video posted later. The justification appears to be that since this “meeting” has no public hearing, no live streaming and no public expression is OK.
  • Planning Board: Also it appears the Planning Board agenda is a “double stuff” one, at least two months of REGULAR agenda items crammed into one. Actually it might even be more than that, so this agenda is even more suspicious than usual as to why it is NOW so full.

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New Way for Important Government Meetings in Amherst

The Town Board, Zoning Board of Appeals, and Planning Board meetings for the month of April will held remotely using videoconferencing software. While this is the right way to protect the board members, town employees and public from potential viral infection, it also makes it more difficult to have a public meeting that is truly public.

The ZBA announced it would use Zoom videoconferencing for its April 21, 2020 meeting with the meeting id and password on the Town of Amherst (TOA) website. The Planning Board later followed with its own Zoom videoconferencing meeting id and password for its April 23, 2020 meeting.

TOA website link: http://www.amherst.ny.us/content/track-us.php

The Town Board held its March 25th and April 6th meetings using remote videoconferencing software, but decided not to publish the meeting id’s or passwords. Will they do this for the next Town Board meeting?

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Big Buildings Coming Soon to Your Neighborhood – Benderson Edition

Fittingly the former Friendly’s Restaurant on Sweet Home and Maple is

about to become very un-friendly with a proposed 6-story hotel working

its way thru town approvals. Site plan approval for this “friendly hotel”

is on the Planning Board agenda for its next meeting on Feb 20 at 6:30 at

Town Hall.

 

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The Serfs Must Challenge the Monarchy

Jan. 5, 2020

I think it is important the communities are listened to and that their voice is heard, particularly with local government, because you are talking very much about communities.

Amherst Town Hall

A gift was given to Rudy Giuliani, oops I meant Dal Giuliani of Amherst, NY. He has been on our very important Planning Board as a holdover for 2 years.

Giuliani’s term on the Planning Board expired in 2017 but for some unknown reason, the Town Board refused the public outcry to remove him or give the public a valid reason.

A government that doesn’t follow the rules in our Town Code is a monarchy, not a Republic. This is a major and intentional move to override our Town Code for the good of our Town Board not for the people of Amherst.

There are several instances where the same person whose term has expired is held over for the good of the town not the people of Amherst. This must stop now. Amherst is either a Republic or a cesspool of a monarchy.

At tomorrow’s Town Board meeting, January 6, 2020, the board will once again put Dal Giuliani officially on the Planning Board as well as name him the Chairman of the new board called the Design Advisory Board.

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