Jan 24, 2012 Erin Wisneski Uncategorized
Controversy did not end with the former Lysander town board.
At the Jan. 23 board meeting, a contentious public hearing was held regarding the new board’s desire to increase the planning board from five to seven members. After nearly an hour of comments from residents and the board, most of which were against the proposed law, a vote was held and the law was approved, 4-1.
“It’s one more thing we needed to do,” said Supervisor John Salisbury, who added he received a number of phone calls and emails from residents who were in favor of the law. “We have studied this issue over and over, and looked at other boards for reasonable numbers.”
Ultimately, Salisbury said the board is looking for a wider presentation of Lysander residents on the planning board.
“I don’t know why the decision had to be made so early in your reign,” Lysander resident Kevin Rode said about the decision. Another resident said he was shocked that the board didn’t look into it more.
Before voting, Councilor Art Levy, who was the sole vote against the law, said the board should consider tabling the motion and conduct further studies, as the existing planning board members had suggested during their Jan. 19 board meeting.
“I don’t understand the rush − ¬I don’t understand the need to do this in the first month,” Levy said. “I believe we need due diligence.”
Levy added that Cicero is considering reducing their board from seven to five members. “We need to find out why,” he said.
Prior to the vote, Lysander resident Jim Stirushnik said he would be in favor of increasing the members if Van Buren, Baldwinsville and Lysander all combined their respective planning boards into one. He added that the existing board met for 15 hours during the 12 meetings last year and more than half those hours were spent on the YMCA.
In fact, many of those against increasing the number of planning board members felt the motion was politically motivated and that the majority of the town board members were trying to manipulate the planning board in order to increase the chances of having a YMCA built at the corner of Drakes Landing and Route 31 in Radisson.
While Supervisor John Salisbury tried to dissuade this train of thought, specifically stating, “Expanding from five to seven members has nothing to do with the Y,” many did not buy his sentiment.
Norm Ashbarry, who ran for Lysander Town Councilor in November and was defeated, brought a copy of the Nov. 2, 2011 Baldwinsville Messenger, which featured a full page ad endorsing Salisbury and councilors Melinda Shimer and Andrew Reeves. That ad also said, “Help Build the YMCA Now!” and “We considered providing funds to the ‘Y’ to sue the Lysander Town and Planning Boards and all of their respective members for arbitrary actions, financially harming the ‘Y,’ and placing their personal agendas before those of the Lysander community,” and was signed by Salisbury, Shimer and Reeves.
Salisbury reiterated the vote wasn’t about the Y, but about getting wider representation on the planning board. He then told the audience the two new members would not be able to legally vote on anything currently before the board, and, even if the matter of the Y was withdrawn and came back before the planning board as a new item, and the two members appointed were in favor of the Y, the vote would still be 3-4 against it. A member of the audience shouted at that point, “That’s only one vote to sway.”
Marty Oxford, one of the few residents to speak in favor of the proposed law, said, “It’s not about the Y − with more members there would be more ideas.”
Lysander is currently accepting resumes for the new planning board positions, which will be appointed by the board.