Category “Town Board”

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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Town of Amherst COVID-19 Recovery Task Force

Novel Task Force

The Monday June 8th Town Board meeting contains Resolution 2020-501 initiated by Supervisor Kulpa for the Creation of Town of Amherst COVID-19 Recovery Task Force.

Link: http://amherstny.iqm2.com/Citizens/Detail_LegiFile.aspx?Frame=&MeetingID=3774&MediaPosition=&ID=22013&CssClass=

A proactive planning approach to help mitigate the negative economic impacts of COVID-19 is great idea, but a completely open process is a minimum requirement.

The Town of Amherst Emergency Operations Center, Planning Division (a new group created by and reporting to the Supervisor) has  proposed  the creation of the Town of Amherst COVID-19 Recovery Task Force, a subcommittee of the Town Board.

That’s a quite a bunch of bureaucratic sounding Divisions and Task Forces.  It’s clear this is a new economic power group which at present appears to have little public accountability or transparency.  Sure hope the members of the Task Force at least fill out their financial disclosure forms as required by the Town of Amherst Code.

Town of Amherst COVID-19 Recovery Task Force

·            •  Besch, Jeremy (The Park School of Buffalo)
·            •  Baynes, AJ (Amherst Chamber of Commerce)
·            •  Bray, Brian (Town of Amherst Senior Services)
·            •  Ciminelli, Paul (Ciminelli Development)
·            •  Conroy, Christopher (Amherst Resident)
·            •  Knight, Dr. Jason (Buffalo State)
·            •  McMahon, Joe (Town of Amherst)
·            •  Mingoia, Dave (Amherst IDA)
·            •  Nair, Sibu (CHAI)
·            •  Rich, Sara (Hillel Buffalo)
·            •  Stiver, Carrie (Buffalo Niagara Heritage Village)
·            •  Whalen, Dave (Niagara University)
·            •  Winship, Maggie (Town of Amherst Economic Development)

Finally, there will be NO public participation at this Town Board meeting making the TOTAL lack of any public input complete.

Comments (5)

Amherst: Reopening/Response/Recovery

Town Board Work Session Agenda June 8, 2020

The Town Board Work Session originally scheduled for June 8, 2020 at 3 pm was CANCELLED because of health impact of COVID-19.

Another Town Board Work Session has been rescheduled for same day at 4 pm to address the economic effects of COVID-19.


The agenda states as all previous Town  Board agendas have claimed something that is blatantly untrue

This meeting is being recorded
and will stream live online Amherstny.iqm2.com

All previous Town Board agendas in the COVID-19 era have claimed that Public Expression is occurring which is also blatantly untrue.

If the Town Board and Town Clerk are going to publish untrue content in their agendas they should be held accountable for it. There is no excuse for being  sloppy and inept, they must proof read the entire agenda and make them accurate!

Finally since this meeting is closed to the public, we will learn the content of the Supervisor’s Reopening/Response/Recovery plan after the fact and without any ability to question or comment.  Apparently public input isn’t all that important.


 

Comments (2)

FOUR Town Board Meetings in June

Amherst Municipal Building
5583 Main Street Williamsville, NY 14221

There are FOUR Town Board meetings scheduled for this June where TWO are additional SPECIAL meetings for work that apparently need to be handled right away. A very BUSY month for the Town Board councilmembers indeed!

We anticipate that there will be NO public participation at the TWO REGULAR Town Board meeting listed below (i.e., IF no public hearings).

1. Monday, June 8, 2020 at 4 pm (4:30 pm) — Work Session at 4 pm   (Updated June 3)
2. Monday, June 22, 2020  at 4 pm

The other TWO SPECIAL Town Board meetings appear to involve a “virtual public hearing” of some kind.

3. Monday, June 15, 2020 at 4 pm

” … substantial amendments to the 2018 and 2020 Annual Plans regarding the use of the CDBG-CV funds and previously determined programming, and to revise the Citizen Participation Plan allowing for virtual public hearings.”

4. Monday, June 22, 2020  at 6:30 pm

 ” … public hearings regarding the pending request to amend the zoning classification of 14.97 acres of 500 Maple Road (“Project Site”) from RC to CF and to amend the Comprehensive Plan to accommodate the proposed UBMD project.”

These Town Board meetings are listed on the Town website.

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

Comments (5)

Town Board Meeting Tuesday, May 26th

Amherst Municipal Building
5583 Main Street Williamsville, NY 14221

There is another Town Board meeting on Tuesday, May 26th at 4 pm. Presumably it will again be held using Zoom video conferencing, and recorded for posting on the town website sometime later this week.

Agenda: http://amherstny.iqm2.com/citizens/FileOpen.aspx?Type=14&ID=2663&Inline=True

Apparently this is the new normal for Town Board meetings. No more attendance or participation at meetings, everything we need to know is in the final video.

Comments (1)

Planning Board Meeting Thursday May 21st

Source: Z-2020-05_500 Maple Rd_052120_Drawings

Just a reminder that the Planning Board will hold five PUBLIC HEARINGS this Thursday May 21st at 6:30 pm via Zoom video conferencing.

Agenda: http://amherstny.iqm2.com/Citizens/FileOpen.aspx?Type=14&ID=2635&Inline=True

The last two public hearings concern the preparation of 14.97 acres of the Audubon recreational area for sale to a private owner. The fourth public hearing is to discuss if the Comprehensive Plan should be amended to allow this rezoning (RC to CF).  Expect a quick positive vote with little discussion so they can move on to the main event of the evening, the rezoning request.

The fifth and final public hearing is to discuss the rezoning of a portion of 500 Maple Rd (Audubon) by Audubon Park MOB LLC, petitioner. Also expect a rather quick positive vote with little discussion. The deal to get a UBMD facility built on this parcel has been in the works for months. Over a year ago the town’s started the process to request that the State grant the alienation 93 acres of Audubon property in anticipation of selling some or all of it.

Comments (1)

He feels the NEED… the NEED for SPEED…

Source: Z-2020-05_500 Maple Rd_052120_Drawings

The agenda of the May 21st Planning Board meeting contains two public hearings related to the 500 Maple Rd rezoning that must be held quickly in order for the Supervisor to get his Audubon parkland alienation/UBMD/Westwood/Ciminelli/500 Maple Rd rezoning deal done on time.  But the clock is ticking, TICK, TICK, TICK!

How much time remains to get this deal done you might ask. The short answer is apparently 9 months after Oct 3, 2019. The Governor signed Senate Bill S6285A into law for the Audubon parkland alienation on Oct 3, 2019.


For those who want the messy details, let’s start with Town Board Resolution 2019-617 of May 20, 2019 which states at one point that …

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that a signed MOU for the Town’s question of  Westwood must be in place within 9 months or the Town Board directs the Town Attorney to re-designate the Audubon property as inalienable parkland,  and

Resolution 2019-617:  https://amherstny.iqm2.com/Citizens/Detail_LegiFile.aspx?ID=20469

But it wasn’t until Aug 19, 2019 when Resolution 2019-990 was adopted that the unsigned MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) first appeared in public. This MOU contained a 9 month “Exclusivity” clause between the Town of Amherst and Bones&Guts, LLC, a legal entity insulating other involved parties.

Resolution 2019-990:  http://amherstny.iqm2.com/Citizens/Detail_LegiFile.aspx?ID=20882&highlightTerms=2019-990

Will the Town of Amherst hold true to it’s promise of a 9 month window to get this deal done?  The answer is  … MAYBE, it all depends how much we trust our Town Board to act with honesty and integrity.

Comments (3)

TRUST- the “glue” that BINDS the people AND government

Where PUBLIC TRUST starts!

One sad aspect of the closed-to-the-public government in the Town of Amherst during this time of a pandemic is going to be the possible lingering impression somehow town government likes it that way. This is not good for anyone, either the public or town government because it can erode the public trust of town government.

Historically public participation in town government has been lackluster at best, with only a few residents bothering to come to Town Board meetings, and even fewer to Planning Board or Zoning Board of Appeals meetings. Of course there have been times when public attendance at a specific Town Board or other meeting has been “through the roof”, but these are rare. The recent upset with the proposed changes to the Audubon Golf Course comes to mind here.

It is understandable that knowing that public participation at Town Board meeting is normally quite small that the Supervisor would conclude that there was no need to allow the public to “attend” a video only Town Board meeting. But the recent large and complex Planning Board and ZBA agendas tell another story to those willing to listen.  The Planning Board chairman can be heard on the April 23rd meeting video stating loudly and often that no public comments would be allowed based on the Supervisor’s Executive Orders to that effect.

One blatant example that comes to mind immediately is the seemingly fast and furious effort of the Planning Board and ZBA to move a specific project located on Park Club Lane as quickly as possible past all the hurdles it faced with little/no public participation or potential public opposition.  What makes this process even more suspicious is that the attorney for the petitioner and his support people were allowed to present their arguments for the project inactively over video while all public attendees were continuously muted and could only listen! At one point there were 52 people on this video meeting, but ONLY the Planning Board members, appropriate town staff, or agents for the petitioner could speak (i.e., were NOT muted)

The Town Board was also busy this year providing “Relief of Zoning Condition” for a project on Park Club Lane. Check out Resolution 2020-215  passed at the March 6th Town Board meeting just before the Supervisor’s first Executive Order of March 15th.

Comments (1)

Special Meeting of the Town Board – Monday April 27th at 6pm

Amherst Seal on Garbage Tote

There will be a Special Meeting of the Town Board this Monday April 27th at 6 pm. This will be a video only meeting where the PUBLIC must be able to attend since it is a public hearing that most likely will result in a “small” tax increase for all residents. So if you have the time and the interest use your computer or smartphone to log into a Zoom meeting.

Meeting ID: 865 274 878
Password:    024750

This could be a good time for many of us to test how committed the Town of Amherst is to actually listening to the public. Even if you do not intend to speak, you can listen in on the meeting. One bit of advice, you do not need to activate your video camera if you do not want to be seen. Also you can use any name you like in the Zoom profile information.

Special meeting FULL Agenda:
http://amherstny.iqm2.com/citizens/FileOpen.aspx?Type=1&ID=2659&Inline=True

The Town Board members will be voting remotely over a video link. I wonder what the existing law or laws cover this?


ALSO …

Apparently the current Town Comptroller retired, and a new Comptroller will be appointed.  It’s an interesting time to break in a new comptroller during a pandemic, and the associated Executive Orders by the Supervisor “supposedly” limiting the operation of the Town Government and the Planning Board.

 

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Village of Williamsville April 13th budget meeting on video

Village of Williamsville Zoom Meeting:

Our readers are encouraged to view both the video of the Village of Williamsville’s budget meeting held on April 13th using Zoom, and then compare it to any of the past three video meetings of the Town Board also held using Zoom.

Video of the Village of Williamsville April 13th Budget meeting is available on YouTube at: https://youtu.be/GeRIJIl9q6I

Town of Amherst Zoom Meeting:

Here are the some simple observations.

  • The Village Zoom meeting allows public participation while the Town does not!
  • The Village Zoom meeting has active public expression for its residents while The Town does not!
  • The Village Zoom meeting shows ALL board members on screen while the Town does not!
  • The Town Zoom meeting shows a useless, grainy, out of focus agenda page on screen at all times with just a small thumbnail image of the speaker !
  • The Town Zoom meeting focuses mainly on the Supervisor while the Village includes all participants, board members, attorney, and staff!

The residents of Amherst deserve to have Zoom meetings as good as that of the residents of Williamsville. This includes at Zoning Board of Appeals meetings, Planning Board meetings, and especially at Town Board meetings. It isn’t difficult, the Village of Williamsville has already done it.

The message the Town Board appears to be sending its residents is that we’ve got everything under control, relax and trust us your participation isn’t needed!

The residents of the Town of Amherst  deserve a better effort to include their voice in town government.


  • The next Village of Williamsville board meeting is April 27th where all public comment must be provided via email by April 24th. There will be NO PUBLIC COMMENT at the April 27th meeting. Maybe they have watching the Town Board meetings.

Comments (1)