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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WESTWOOD..SWAP OR SWINDLE??

Source: Z-2020-05_500 Maple Rd_052120_Drawings

By Judy Ferraro

A concern for many has always been, and remains of utmost importance, is keeping all of Amherst residents informed as to what a land exchange would be to acquire Westwood. Of equal importance is preserving as much green space, as possible, both on Westwood and the Audubon and protecting surrounding neighborhoods from punitive development.

Apparently, during the world-wide pandemic, while everyone was preoccupied with it, our town was working diligently to put forth the latest iteration and moving the process along swiftly. There was little or no information available to the public. Input from those trying to follow was complicated or ignored.

Now, at the 11th hour, still in a world-wide pandemic, there is a zoom meeting to rezone the people’s parkland to approve something most know nothing about. A medical office building larger than most Super Walmarts with parking for 1000 cars, including a four-story parking ramp.

The disposition of Westwood has been in the public realm since 2012. It is the single most important community project in decades. The solution to the dilemma, therefore, requires public engagement with all information available before any rezoning should be permitted. Covid-19 and a willingness to conduct public hearings without public participation because of it, is unconscionable and shocking.

This proposal is not the solution to making Westwood a park. It is basically what Dr. Weinstein rejected in 2012/13, for good reason.

Westwood and the people’s Audubon parkland development is too critical an endeavor to be moving forward in darkness. There must be other and better solutions.

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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

 

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?

 

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The Amherst Town Board is missing

Amherst Town Board Councilmembers

For the past 3 months, the Amherst Town board has been working from an undisclosed remote location.  Conducting public business in hiding.  While many of us still work from home, others are back at work and  we can  have lunch on a patio, get a hair cut, as the region begins to reopen.

But, the town board is nowhere to be found.  Their regular monthly meetings are closed to the public apparently contrary to State guidelines that require live stream public viewing if the town chooses to meet virtually.  But the town board aint doin that. What’s worse, the public has been specifically excluded from past meetings upon express ok from the Supervisor.  The Planning Board Chair, looking to finger the supervisor in this nefarious deed says this on the record at the Planning Board meeting, repeatedly. So what gives?

It’s not clear if the town board members go to town hall at all to work.  What is clear is that they conduct the public’s business from their patio or bunker via Zoom and post an edited video a day or so later. Just what are they hiding from?  One member, is actually running a political campaign and is in the  primary for State Senate.  But she’s too busy to  do her current job?

Maybe the board should petition the ZBA for a permit allowing chickens in town hall.  They may not all be hens, but they sure are chickens.

The Amherst Town Board is missing.

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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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Comment from Concerned Citizen

Amherst Council Chambers

The council chambers at Town Hall has a capacity of 300. So 25% of capacity is 75 people. It is obvious that the town board could easily hold their public meetings in that room while maintaining proper distance Live streaming the meetings and allowing for public engagement in some manner needs to be reconstituted in the short term Arrangements should be made to inform and accommodate the public.

Comments (1)

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.


 

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