Democratic process set back once again

Staff reports

Letter to the Editor,

I am one of the very few people from the public that attended the Special Prattsburgh Town Board meeting held on the Friday following Thanksgiving and am concerned by what I heard there.  Specifically I am referring to one item that to me seems to reflect a continuing problem of misrepresentation by sitting town board.

The Prattsburgh town board appointed a group of local citizens to the town Zoning Commission in February of 2010 to look at developing ordinances on topics of immediate concern to the community.  The first two concerns to be addressed were Adult Entertainment establishments and wind energy development.  Over the course of many months of open meeting the committee examined these issues at great length and developed two recommended ordinances to be made part of the already approved Prattsburgh Town Comprehensive Plan.

In the Wind Ordinance the Planning Commission established a setback from property lines for turbine towers of 1100 feet. This would require a parcel of land at least 2200 ft square which equates to 111 acres.  In the document provided by the town board at the November 25th special meeting this setback distance had been changed to a “formula” that was not related to the Planning Commission’s recommendation and would greatly increase setback distances. This move by members of the town board would effectively prohibit wind projects. Further, it would seem to be a serious affront to the citizens on the Planning Commission who have dedicated nearly two years of their time studying, discussing, negotiating and wording these ordinances. If the town board knew what the “right answer” was from the start, why did they waste the Commission’s time.

It appears that the “democratic process” has once again been thwarted in Prattsburgh. Perhaps this maneuver can be explained at the public hearings that precede the Prattsburgh Town Board meeting on December 19th.

Prattsburgh politics seems to continue to be a source of comic relief for other communities in Steuben County.

Bruce Taylor

Prattsburgh, NY