Weekly Feature

2017-07-12 / Letters to the Editor

Town, Zoning Board lawsuit unacceptable

The town suing itself couldn’t be a clearer example of the recent failings of the Amherst Town Board.

How did we get to the point where the Town Board has found it necessary to sue its own Zoning Board of Appeals? This is an unacceptable waste of taxpayers’ money, as both sides must hire outside counsel to represent their interests. One must wonder why the folks representing us are incapable of just sitting down in a room and hashing things out.

Let’s not forget the Town Board members are the ones who appoint the members of the ZBA. Are there no conversations or communication between these people? This isn’t the way our government should operate and certainly not the way I intend to handle disagreements if I’m privileged enough to be elected to the Town Board.

The inability of these two groups to figure this out without resorting to legal action could result in tens of thousands of dollars in legal expenses that we, the taxpayers, are on the hook for.

While the ZBA has a duty to act within the boundaries of the law, it’s the Town Board that sets the tone, policies and direction of the town. The responsibility to fix the problem lies with the Town Board through open and honest communication, not expensive lawsuits. My goal is to actively engage with all parties to ensure these type of unfortunate and costly situations don’t arise again.

I have already spoken with hundreds of town residents as I knock on doors and attend community events, and while opinions on issues vary greatly, we can agree that this type of dysfunction is not acceptable. I look forward to sharing my vision for the future of Amherst with many more of you over the coming months.

Erin K. Baker
Amherst Town Board

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