More Town Shenanigans
The Town Board does it again.
On Halloween, the Town Board scheduled a special meeting to approve a hearing on the Shelbourne special permits. There was no agenda provided on the website until the last minute, a then a quick resolution to schedule the hearing during the week of Thanksgiving when no one was looking. Of course, the Town will schedule more time if there are objections.
However, the question remains: why hold a hearing at all if there's litigation on the matter? Why commence the process when the Court has yet to rule? Below is a letter which appeared in the Scarsdale Inquirer asking, when there are already two separate lawsuits on the matter, why the Town Board is holding this hearing at all:
More Feiner Shenanigans
Paul Feiner is once again subverting the legal process to the detriment of Edgemont residents.
This past summer, Feiner and the Town Board tried to take away the right of Greenburgh citizens to petition to form a village. They made a “Home Rule Request” asking the legislature to change the law so that Greenburgh residents would no longer have the same rights in that regard as every other citizen in New York. To avoid public scrutiny of this blatantly unconstitutional action, Feiner and the Board voted on it at a hastily-called “special meeting,” with no meaningful prior notice to the public. When their actions came to light, Feiner and the Board were forced to call a public meeting on the evening of Father’s Day — and despite the inconvenience, hundreds of unincorporated Greenburgh residents, from both within and outside of Edgemont, showed up to decry the Board’s sneaky attempt to turn Greenburgh residents into second-class citizens. The Home Rule Request died when the legislative session ended, but the way the Town Board conducted itself further damaged its already-shaky credibility.
Apparently the Town Board didn’t learn anything from the last debacle. Last week (on Halloween, no less) the Town Board once again convened a “special meeting” on an important topic, with no prior notice to the public. This time, the issue was whether to consider Shelbourne’s request for a special permit to construct an assisted living facility at the site of the Sprainbrook Nursery. There are two pending lawsuits challenging the legality of Shelbourne’s proposal, including one brought by the Greenville Fire District. Given those proceedings, it makes no sense for the Board to even consider Shelbourne’s application for a special permit; the Board should respect the process and wait to see how the Court rules. But instead, the Board determined at its “special meeting” to schedule a hearing on Shelbourne’s application for Monday, November 20th— three days before Thanksgiving, when many residents will be out of town.
As with its ill-fated Home Rule Request, there was no legitimate reason for the Board to consider this issue at a “special meeting,” rather than at a regularly scheduled Board meeting with prior notice to the public. This is simply another attempt to avoid public scrutiny of decisions that the Board knows cannot be defended. Worse yet, the Board’s decision — and the manner in which it has conducted itself — suggests an effort to circumvent the Court’s authority to determine whether Shelbourne’s proposal is even lawful. That’s not how government is supposed to work.
Instead of conducting itself in an open and transparent manner, the Town’s approach has been to rush important decisions through at unnoticed “special meetings” and/or on family holidays when it knows attendance will be lower. Given that the Board is going to follow its predetermined course no matter what concerns their constituents raise, one wonders why they even bother with these scheduling gymnastics. Perhaps Mr. Feiner just wants to pander to Edgemont voters with a meaningless “no” vote, knowing that the rest of the Board will still approve Shelbourne’s special permit. Even if the Board were to reject the special permit, that would just result in another lawsuit by Shelbourne. Either way, holding the vote now will only result in more protracted litigation, at taxpayer expense, for no legitimate reason. Why drag us into that quagmire? The Board should call off the hearing and allow the Court to rule on the issues.