I haven't read the live blogging that went on during the Village Planning Board meeting last night, because I want to articulate my thoughts without being distracted by whatever excellent points my esteemed coblogger may have made.
Last night's meeting was long, hot, and complex. I'm grateful as many people showed up as did, and that as many of them stayed for the duration as did. I'm glad that Bill Mulcahy recorded most of it before he had to go, and that three Village Board members were in attendance.
I'm particularly thrilled with my colleague Linda Welles for doing such a fine job of expressing our frustrations. She told the Woodland Pond representatives that it's completely unfair to come to us for solutions to problems that were out there from day one, screaming about urgencey because they need to get people moved in next month or their funding will dry up. It's not only unfair to the Planning Board, it's terribly unfair to the people who have been planning on moving in to the facility.
I have found that the more aggressively an applicant wants to push forward with an agenda item, the more it makes me want to slow down and look more carefully at the information. Why are you pushing me to judgment? Is it because you just realized we meant it when we made you agree to these conditions, or is it because you're afraid if I look too closely that I will see things that may sway my decision in a direction you don't care for? Like Linda, I'm going to make my decision on the facts; but I for one won't be bullied into making that decision before I think the facts are all before me.
I found it incredibly refreshing that so many senior citizens were in attendance, but I regret that we don't have a public comment period at our meetings, because I really would have liked to have heard what they had to say. There were also many environmentalists in attendance, but they're quite good at making their views known to me. Since we don't have a public comment period, I would like to extend an invitation to people to comment here, email me, or call me to share their views. I want to know what people think, because that's my job. I won't put my full number here on the internet, but 9947 is all you really need to know to find me.
The chairman, Ray Curran, did a spectacular job of reminding the applicant that this urgency was created by circumstances unrelated to the Planning Board, and that the urgency doesn't mean we won't look at the issues as thoroughly as we would any other matter. In fact, I would go so far as to say he held their feet to the fire. He also controlled the meeting like a pro, keeping myself, the other members, and the applicant's representatives on point.
I wish the Woodland Pond Board would show up to the next meeting so I can meet these local folks and make sure that they know we aren't doing anything to hold up their approvals, and that any delays are simply related to the fact that the Planning Board has a job to do, and we owe it to the community to do the best job we can.