Dear Friends and Supporters:
Our town ordinances are complex and can be a source of frustration to non-attorney residents. One of the most frequent requests I receive as a Town Board member is to help residents who have projects under consideration by the Town’s land use boards: our Planning Board, Zoning Board, and Architectural Review Board.
The nuances of land use law and the related board hearings can be overwhelming. Many residents cannot afford the high cost of retaining an attorney with specialized expertise to represent them.
In order to respond to residents’ many requests for help in this area, when I was elected to the Town Board I realized I needed to improve my knowledge of the Town’s zoning code and our land use boards’ processes and procedures. That is what led me to regularly attend meetings of these boards, something no other Town Board member has done in recent memory.
Years of attending these meeting and studying the Town’s zoning regulations has enabled me to respond to requests for assistance from residents. I am sometimes able to explain the complexities of our zoning code to them in ways that are readily understandable. Or I can sometimes shed light on the standard processes and procedures of our land use boards in ways that residents find helpful.
I would never actually represent a resident before such boards, abuse my position by attempting to influence board members’ decisions, or accept any financial or other benefit for my input, all violations of ethical standards. But I may be able to make suggestions to residents that may make their projects more likely to win approval, such as by benefiting the community at large or remediating an existing problem.
For residents who cannot afford a specialized attorney to achieve less favorable land use decisions than those who can would be terribly unjust. I have tried to level the playing field by lending a hand to residents when they ask for help and cannot afford a specialized attorney.
This level of commitment to resident service and deep involvement in important Town decisions will be the hallmark of my administration as your next mayor.
More information on the Moving Harrison Forward team can be found at www.movingharrisonforward.com.
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Candidate for Mayor
Moving Harrison Forward
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