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Letter: Amherst Town Board is ruled by special interests

Amherst Town Board is ruled by special interests

It’s a special time of year. Christmas. New Year’s. Family and friends and festivities. The hunt for the extra special gift. And usually a time for a lull in government meetings and public hearings. But not in the Town of Amherst. Nope. Not this year. And certainly not when the majority party in Town Hall is set to flip on Jan. 1.

Scheduled for the week between Christmas and New Year’s, there are not one, but two special meetings. Special meetings are unusual. Two, back to back, is extraordinary. Highly irregular. Perhaps unprecedented. And they are special because they are unplanned, unscheduled and called in order to act on items of import to special interests.

First, a special Town Board meeting on Dec. 28 is likely to approve the Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the hot potato Westwood property. The next day, a special Zoning Board meeting is expected to act on a colossal variance for the Youngs Road senior project set to encroach on federal wetlands. Both projects have drawn the special ire of the community. And despite yeoman efforts, both remain open items as the year is ending.

So what happens when our special friends don’t get the special gift they wanted at this special time of year? They use their special powers and schedule a special meeting or two at a time when those pesky neighbors are most likely busy doing something special with their families.

The neighbors and residents of Amherst are not looking for special treatment, but remain in search of a semblance of fairness to return to the decision making in Town Hall. That would be special.

Michele F. Marconi