Amherst residents learn that money trumps voters
In 2017, I learned some interesting things. Vacant land on New Road in East Amherst that has been zoned suburban agricultural is being considered for rezoning to residential.
At the end of our dead-end street that runs off New Road is an area that has been designated wetlands for decades. The trees are marked wetlands and sometimes you can hear the sound of water moving. I learned that wetlands could lose such a designation as long as another parcel of land of equal or greater acreage is designated wetlands. Of course, the original land remains just as wet.
Also, I learned that the foundations of any homes built on wetlands must be reinforced with rebar or concrete pylons to avoid sinking.
I learned about a super majority vote that occurs when people who live within 100 feet of land considered for rezoning sign a petition against it. As a result, only two Town Board votes are needed to defeat the initiative.
Some Town Board members elected last fall are not in favor of the rezoning. So it was another lesson when I learned that the vote of the elected board members can be overridden by the vote of appointed members of the Town Zoning Board of Appeals, who could issue a variance. Doesn’t that negate the votes people cast in the November election? We wonder why people don’t vote.
Whether it’s selling land, rezoning vacant land, building houses, changing wetlands’ designation or ignoring the will of the people who vote, I already knew this: Money talks.