Category “Zoom Video Meeting”

When is something seemingly MINOR really something really MAJOR?

Amherst Municipal Building / Amherst Town Hall

Making changes to the Amherst Code of Ethics really should not be all that exciting, and most people would probably assume they would be necessary and not bother reading them. But it’s not that simple, and should be read, especially if you are currently appointed to a town advisory committee or board.

DRAFT Code of Ethics: http://amherstny.iqm2.com/Citizens/FileOpen.aspx?Type=4&ID=15412&MeetingID=3757

The new Code of Ethics first floated at the March 9, 2020 Town Board meeting at the start of the COVID-19 virus pandemic was the last public hearing where people could attend in person. Here is the justification given for this major change to the Amherst Code of Ethics.

“The purpose of this Local Law shall be to amend various sections of Chapter 19 of the Code of the Town of Amherst with respect to the list of officials, notice and verification of filing.”

Link: http://amherstny.iqm2.com/Citizens/Detail_LegiFile.aspx?Frame=&MeetingID=3612&MediaPosition=&ID=21723&CssClass=

This justification sounds reasonable and probably any changes would be necessary and relatively straight forward. Well the old code was six (6) pages long, but the proposed new code is twenty two (22) pages long!

► It was adjourned from the March 9, 2020 Town Board meeting, and moved to the May 26, 2020 Town Board meeting.

► It was adjourned from the May 26, 2020 Town Board meeting , and moved to the August 3, 2020 to the Town Board meeting.

► It was adjourned from the August 3, 2020 Town Board meeting , and moved to the September 21, 2020 to the Town Board meeting.

No substantive reason has been ever given for any of these previous adjournments other than it didn’t seem to be the right time. And no changes have ever been made to the DRAFT Code of Ethics since it was first made public on March 9, 2020!


The Bottom Line

► On September 21, 2020, guess what, it has been adjourned again and moved to the Town Board reorganization meeting on January 2, 2021! No reason was given!

It looks like this resolution will be buried in the reorganization meeting where many more important things are happening.

The Board of Ethics is currently one person short at four(4)  (five is full membership). On 12/31/2020 two(2) more members will be at the end of there appointments giving the Town Board the ability to appoint three (3) new members or a majority of this board.

There will be a time in future posts to examine the problems with the DRAFT Code of Ethics, and we have until the end of the year to do it. Keep tuned!

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Town Board Meeting Monday 9/21/2020 7:00 PM

Amherst Municipal Building
5583 Main Street Williamsville, NY 14221

The public work session starts at 4 pm via Zoom remote Video

Meeting ID: 854 7139 4175
Passcode:     737412

Agenda link: http://amherstny.iqm2.com/Citizens/FileOpen.aspx?Type=14&ID=2705&Inline=True

The Town Board meets to hold ALL its public hearing and finalize agenda voting at 7 pm via Zoom remote Video

Meeting ID: 842 8395 2557
Passcode:    025757

Summary Agenda linkhttp://amherstny.iqm2.com/citizens/FileOpen.aspx?Type=14&ID=2706&Inline=True
Detailed (LONG) Agenda link: http://amherstny.iqm2.com/citizens/FileOpen.aspx?Type=1&ID=2706&Inline=True

The picture of the Amherst Town Hall is now just a symbol of how Town Board meetings used to be held before the COVID-19 related Executive Orders prevented actual physical public hearing there. This is the new reality we all have to deal with now. The solution presented Town government has selected is to use Zoom Remote Video conferencing.

This new way of holding public hearings is most definitely INFERIOR to actually being able to be physically present at Town Hall for Town Board meetings, but it is now the only way we have left to express our points of view. Use it until we can return to the preferred method of  face to face interactions!

What public hearings/resolutions should you give a little extra attention to at this meeting?

  1. Public Hearing #2: Resolution 2020-298 Local Law Amending Chapter 19, Code of Ethics
  2. Public Hearing #3: Resolution 2020-765  Boulevard Central District Rezoning
  3. Resolutions from the Town Supervisor, the Town Attorney, and the Planning Department are usually the most significant, but the two public hearings in 1 and 2 are the most important.

 

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Planning Board meeting on Zoom

Planning Board Meeting on Zoom – {Meeting ID: 829 0760 9647} {Passcode: 298570}

The Amherst Planning Board meets today Sept 17, 2020. So why start the Planning Board Zoom meeting at 5:30 pm when it “OFFICIALLY” starts  at 6:30 pm? Is the Planning Board going to meet in secret at 5:30 pm? If the public attempts to login to the Planning Board meeting at 5:30 pm, will they be prevented from doing so?

Also the difficult to find and sparely attended for the public work session starts at 6 pm. The 6 pm “public” work session was the time the Planning Board used to discuss each item on the agenda. and get advise from the Amherst Planning Department about them . Effectively it was a private meeting the Planning Board enjoyed until eventually a few people discovered this, and started attending this meeting.

Public trust of the Planning Board is crucial, and if there is a secret portion of the Planning Board meeting where they discuss any items on the agenda, that trust would be lost.

Agenda: http://amherstny.iqm2.com/Citizens/Detail_Meeting.aspx?ID=3628

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Town Board Meeting Today, Tuesday Sept 8th

 

Amherst Municipal Building
5583 Main Street Williamsville, NY 14221

Due to the Labor Day Holiday on Monday, the Town Board meeting will be on Tuesday, Sept 8th at 7 pm.

The Work Session will be held at 4 pm, and that is when the Town Board actually discusses and votes on almost all of the agenda items with the exception of spending resolutions requiring a recorded vote. The 7 pm Town Board evening session will deal mostly with everything else such as public hearings, public expression, the consent agenda, spending resolutions, and communications.

Work session agenda:
http://amherstny.iqm2.com/Citizens/FileOpen.aspx?Type=14&ID=2698&Inline=True

Regular Town Board Agenda:
http://amherstny.iqm2.com/Citizens/FileOpen.aspx?Type=14&ID=2699&Inline=True

Examples of resolutions of significance this week include:

  1.  RES-2020-715 Request for Public Hearing – Local Law Creating Amherst Central Park Task Force
  2.  RES-2020-717 Request Public Hearing – Local Law to Amend Chapter 203, Small Cell Wireless
  3.  RES-2020-718 Non-Exclusive Shared Parking Agreement (CRS #2159)          (UBMD / 111 North Maplemere LLC / 500 Maple Rd/Audubon)

The Zoom meeting information can be found in the work session agenda and regular town board agenda respectively.

If you would like to access all the Town Board agenda resolutions in detail use the following link.
http://amherstny.iqm2.com/Citizens/Detail_Meeting.aspx?ID=3755

Comments (1)

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.

Comments (21)

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.

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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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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

 

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