Letter from Town of Wheatland Planning Board Chairman Jay Coates
First and foremost, I hope everyone is well and surviving these trying times.
I am cancelling the Tuesday May 19th Town of Wheatland Planning Board work session. We do expect to have a meeting and public hearing at our next regular meeting on June 2, 2020.
This decision is based on this week’s changes in the COVID-19 emergency New York Executive Orders.
The current rules involving public meeting and gatherings still remain in place. When we meet and for any public hearing the meetings and hearings will be held electronically using Microsoft Teams and with a call-in number for people to listen and participate. The meetings and public hearings will be recorded, and a transcript done in addition to the meeting minutes. Public hearings can happen during these times with the public being able to comment using a call-in number or by using a link to the meeting. In addition, written and email comments can also be made. Public assemblies and meetings are still limited at this time.
Electronic meetings have their own special challenges- unmuted and unwanted noise, feedback and in some cases outright disruptions to name a few. During regular meetings, the public may listen and only participate if recognized by the Chair. At public hearings, each person is recognized by the Chair, gives their name and address and provides their input, typically we limit comments to 3-5 minutes per person. In the case where the same comment or concern is raised by multiple people the repetitive discussion may also be limited. For electronic and remote meetings, it is good practice to mute your microphone, be aware of what can be seen in the video feed and especially for those with only telephone access everyone should start speaking with giving their name.
Public input is critical and valued in our approval process. What changed this week is that we are going to be able to partially open the Town Office next week. People will be able to come in by appointment only in order to conduct some business. This change will allow people to be able to come into our office and see full-size plans and drawings in addition to seeing them on-line during the meeting or using electronic files.
We had two major items scheduled for the work session:
Clearview Farms Phase 2 North – We received the updated submission Monday we are doing the final review; it looks like we have a complete application. We are drafting the finding of facts, SEQRA resolutions and motions. Board members expect to see an email next week with links to on-line files for all the information and drafts.
Hewitt Subdivision North Road - We had anticipated doing a public hearing for this at the work session. However due to the recent NY PAUSE changes, we will be able to allow an additional option for the public to see information in person, this hearing will be held in June. Again, Board members an email will be forthcoming.
In addition to our normal public hearing notices in the paper and mailed to nearby property owners, we will be posting the agenda and electronic meeting public access information on the Town Facebook page and the Town website. Based upon the current PAUSE NY and NY FORWARD we can expect remote meetings to be the new normal for at least the next several months. I appreciate and thank the applicants and their representatives for their patience in working through the mandated changes in our planning board process.
Be safe, be aware and remember to do best practices in these times. If you need any further information, please let me know.
Jay D. Coates
Town of Wheatland
(585) 889-1553 x122