Category “UBMD”

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.

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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.

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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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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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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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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/

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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.

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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.

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