Barre officials should have given residents more notice of public hearing on wind ordinance
Hello, Town of Barre residents, property owners and surrounding community members. This evening is scheduled for a public hearing in regards to the proposed changes to our Wind Ordinance.
I wanted to share the specifics of what I shared with my fellow Town Board members in regards to the decision to continue to hold the public hearing this evening, and ensuring transparency, effective communication, and serving the residents and property owners of Barre to the best of our abilities.
I understand that we have met most of the minimum legal requirements to hold the public hearing this evening; however, I do not believe that we have done what is in the best interest of the residents of our community to enable them to feel that they are being heard, and have the opportunity to share with us as their elected officials their support and/or concerns in regards to the proposed changes to our Wind Ordinance.
The notice was posted solely in the Batavia Daily News on November 17th (we know that many of our community members do not get the Batavia Daily, but this helps to meet our legal obligation) and on our Town website (however, we know that about 50% of our community does not have internet access).
No notice was posted in the Pennysaver, despite us telling the community at our last Town Board meeting that it would be there.
No notice has been posted in the Orleans Hub at the time of me writing this letter.
With the Town Hall being closed no in-person comments will be accepted.
The public hearing will be held online – however, communication may only be submitted in written form via text or email during the meeting. What about our community members who do not text and do not have internet access?
What about community members who would speak but are not comfortable writing down their comments?
We as Town Board members know that this is a controversial topic, one that our community is passionate about on both sides. By not doing what we said we would, and by going about this in the manner that we have, we are giving a poor impression.
Town of Barre Definitions 350-98 – PUBLIC HEARING
A meeting announced and advertised in advance, and open to the public, with the public given an opportunity to talk, participate and express their opinions, support or concerns.
In our local law (see excerpt above), specifically the Wind Ordinance, we define a public hearing as where the public is given an “opportunity to talk”. However, in the manner that we are holding this meeting we are not allowing this opportunity to our residents.
In conclusion, this excerpt taken from “NYS Conduct of Public Meeting” expresses my objective in that proper procedure “results in proper accord for the rights of all parties, a better airing of public opinion on community issues, and ultimately greater public confidence in the decisional process.”
(Richardson is a member of the Barre Town Board.)