Category “Town Board”

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 (3)

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)

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.

Comments off

Public Participation at Town Board Meeting on Monday June 22nd at 4:30 pm

 

Amherst Municipal Building
5583 Main Street Williamsville, NY 14221

The next regular Town Board meeting on Monday,  June 22nd at 4:30pm will be the first meeting since the March 9th meeting where the public will be allowed to participate, albeit virtually via Zoom video conferencing application or their phone.

Zoom Meeting Login: Visual/Display Online https://us02web.zoom.us/j/85162861202?pwd=aXEwRXd3dHFpU0JSd3ZqZHJXZTQxQT09

Audio/Call-In Instructions: Note to callers your phone number will display to the public, to conceal your number enter *67 before you enter the phone number. 1-929-205-6099,

** CORRECTED **
Meeting ID: 813 4110 3660
Password: 646998

The last SIX regular Town Board meetings were restricted to only the Town Clerk’s office, Town Attorney, certain town staff,  and the Town Councilmembers. Normally the public is allowed to express any of their opinions and concerns on any town related issue at a Town Board meeting.  But the Supervisor decided that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, public participation was just too risky, even using Zoom.

Special Note: The 4 pm public Work Session does not have its own Zoom meeting ID or password, so try to join the regular Town Board Zoom meeting at 4pm.  Public participation has never been allowed at a Town Board work session so this may not work.

Link: http://amherstny.iqm2.com/citizens/FileOpen.aspx?Type=14&ID=2673&Inline=True

 

Comments (1)

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?

 

Comments off

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?

Comments off

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)