POTANOVIC UNHAPPY WITH LEVEL OF PUBLICITY FOR TOWN HEARINGS ON ZONING

To the Editor,

On Tuesday, September 9 the Stony Point Town Board held two meetings. At 6 p.m. there was a special “workshop” meeting held by the town’s planner, Tuner Miller Group, on the future rezoning of our Stony Point waterfront for condos and townhouses and at 7 p.m., a presentation about proposed future rezoning of the Letchworth property.

Are you interested in how we might develop these two important parcels? You should be part of that conversation, but unfortunately, you are being left out of the process. Yes, the town posted a notice on the town website (if you could find it or even knew to look) and they placed a small obligatory legal notice printed in the back of the newspaper (which only lawyers and developers actually read). However, why didn’t the town board send out a press release to publicize and to invite the public to these important meetings? Instead, it took SPACE to send out a notice to town residents about the meeting.

In addition, the town board meeting agenda was not released in advance of Tuesday’s meeting. While it indicated a presentation by the town planner it did not specify what the presentation was about. Other towns have well publicized meetings and the public is invited to provide input and to participate in developing these plans, not just come to a public hearing after the plans have already been decided. Is this the kind of “transparency” that we should expect from Supervisor Finn and our town board? This town board also holds regular “executive sessions” in private after the regular town board meeting and does not indicate on the agenda what subject will be discussed, which Is a clear violation of the NYS Open Meetings Law. [Editor’s note – claim is the author’s]

We have been waiting for almost 20 years for a sensible well thought out plan for the Letchworth property that we purchased from the State of New York back in 1996. The town’s Local Waterfront Revitalization Plan (LWRP) was approved around the same time. We now have at least one other critical issues along our waterfront – the proposed Champlain Hudson Power Express (CHPE), which the town board should actively fight because it will not only disrupt and severely limit our opportunities for waterfront development, but will diminish commercial property values and shift lost revenue and tax liabilities onto the backs of town taxpayers.

Attracting suitable economic development and growing the future tax base of Stony Point is key but our options need to be carefully considered in a process that invites the public into the planning process. Supervisor Finn says an obnoxious electronic billboard in town is his answer to accomplish this. Simply making a sincere effort to communicate, inviting and involving the town residents into the conversation is what’s really needed.

The Stony Point Town Board will hold a workshop meeting on its proposed rezoning of the Letchworth property on Tuesday, October 14 at 6 p.m. at the Rho Building, prior to the 7 p.m. town board meeting. Please plan to attend. To learn more, go to www.stonypointer.org.

Sincerely,

George Potanovic, Jr.,
President, SPACE – Stony Point Action Committee for the Environment