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Planning Board from hell

Mud Princess

Cyburbian
Messages
4,896
Points
26
What can we do about our local Planning Board? Most of its members have been in office for years, but it's time for them to go. They are rude and argumentative, in some cases engaging in yelling matches with residents rather than listening to and acknowledging their concerns. They have also lost their ability to make objective decisions. Development projects are often approved unanimously by the board, while legitimate questions go unanswered.

Frankly, it has become an embarassment to our community. The town board refuses to take action. Any suggestions?
 

Lee Nellis

Cyburbian
Messages
1,371
Points
28
If its as bad as you say, the best therapy is probably legal. Let them make their mistakes, then take them to court in a situation where you know you can win and, hopefully, where you know you can embarass the town. Time on the witness stand has a sobering effect on most people …
 

Chet

Cyburbian Emeritus
Messages
10,624
Points
33
I presume they are appointed by the elected officials on rotating terms. Start by electing officials that oppose the current planning board tactics, in order that the membership be replaced over time.
 

Repo Man

Cyburbian
Messages
2,550
Points
24
I agree with bturk. Is your mayor/village president/town chairman aware of the problems? If you can get them onboard with all of the problems, maybe they would start replacing them with qualified people. Usually there are staggered terms of 3 years or so, so turnover may take a while.
 

Zoning Goddess

Cyburbian
Messages
13,853
Points
38
We didn't have much luck with a similar situation involving the Board of Adjustment.....until the local paper did an expose on their behavior and penchant for approving almost every single variance request in the last 25 years. They are now beginning to say "No" and back off on the insults to staff. Do you know any nosy reporters in your area?
 

Mud Princess

Cyburbian
Messages
4,896
Points
26
I think all the reporters in our area are their buddies. Whatever happened to investigative journalism, anyway?
 

Jeff

Cyburbian
Messages
4,161
Points
27
Mud Princess said:
I think all the reporters in our area are their buddies. Whatever happened to investigative journalism, anyway?
Well then you should report the story yourself through an editorial in the paper.

When you say local planning board is that just a township board? Is there a "higher power" planning board such as the county or such, whom you can appeal to?
 
Messages
3,690
Points
27
A lot of this depends on which state you're in, I think....for example, New York is a home rule state, so unless the project is in a part of town that is required to have county review, there isn't anyone higher outside of the court system. And even if the County board recommends denial of a project, the Town can overrule.

One of the biggest problems the public has with our Planning Board is that there is this perception that they will approve anything - and it is true, they pretty much will. If our board denies a project outright, the develope can (and probably will) file an article, crap, maybe 78? against the board, and if they win, and they usually do, the board is required to approve a project out of hand, with minimal conditions. So basically, our board just tries to finagle the best project possible out of the developer.

I'm also with Bturk - the only way to get a board ousted is to get a Town Board elected that won't re-appoint the Planning Board.
 
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