In order for the public to meaningfully participate in the Whole Foods process, it needed reasonable advance notice of the meetings at which the Town Board intended to take action, and a reasonable opportunity for the Neighborhood Association’s traffic engineer and lawyers to review new technical reports.
For that reason, for 10 weeks starting on November 14, 2017 and continuing up to just hours before the Board’s January 24, 2018 meeting at which the Town Board summarily approved the new traffic study, the Association asked five times in writing and twice by phone, to be notified when the Town received the anticipated new traffic study and a chance to review it before any Board action, and/or reasonable advance notice as to when the Board would take action.
The communications could not have been clearer. For example:
“There is a lot of concern that the Whole Foods matter will be on a Town Board agenda soon without the public getting adequate notice. Could you or someone else at the Town please provide me some information on the Town’s proposed schedule? A previous request for this information on November 14, 2017 has gone unanswered. We want to make sure that the public has adequate notice of when this is going to be on an agenda – instead of just being surprised a day or two before the meeting without adequate time to prepare and meaningfully participate in the process . . . We also understand that an FEIS [traffic study] might have been submitted. Can you please provide an update as to the status of the [traffic study] and how I can get a copy if one in fact has been submitted.” January 9, 2018 letter from Neighborhood Association’s attorney to Supervisor Moehle.
Mere hours before the January 24, 2018 meeting, and without any advance notice to the Neighborhood Association as repeatedly requested, the Board posted a highly technical 78 page- traffic study (which it apparently had for over a month, without ever responding to the Association’s multiple requests to see it). It also posted a proposed resolution to approve it that night.
The Neighborhood’s Association’s attorney appeared at the meeting and asked for two weeks to give it time to review the new materials before the Board took action. The Board refused and summarily “approved” the traffic study as complete.
The Developer, however, had enough notice to have its engineers appear and make a lengthy, professional presentation with exhibits – all of which the public was effectively prevented from seeing that night before the vote because posting it on the Town’s website mere hours before the meeting was ineffective notice.
The facts are all laid out in detail on pages 11-21 of the Complaint, which you can review by clicking here.