On Oct. 15, a public hearing was held in the town of Richfield concerning a proposed moratorium on large-scale industrial development. Interest was so great that it was necessary to hold it in the public school, and support for the moratorium was overwhelming. As an observing town board member from a neighboring town said to me – why have a public hearing, if you just ignore them?
This has become an essential step in light of New York’s Article X. Article X will give home rule an end run and towns need new laws in order to successfully negotiate with the state.
Board members Domion, Bond and Synder voted against it. When challenged why, they answered they didn’t like the verbiage. Since their own town attorney prepared it, they could have sought changes, before the hearing. The irony is that Synder ran last year on a platform opposed to fracking, assured people of her opposition to wind projects, and simply deceived the electorate.
After the 3-2 votes, there was a vocal outburst as many felt disappointed and betrayed – seeing that this board did not have their best interests at heart. Board member Domion immediately called the police, Several troopers arrived, but it was an absolutely unnecessary show of intimidation (becoming a Richfield tradition), that further showed these board members disdain of the democratic process.
All the residents were asking for was a breathing space while the town formulated new responses to challenges that could never have been anticipated in the existing 1992 law. Who could have imagined hydraulic fracturing back then, or 500-foot-tall industrial wind turbines? The moratorium would have shown that the board was concerned about the town’s future and the well-being of its residents.
Who with any common sense could oppose it?
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