Letter: Amelio no friend to the B-zone

To the Editor,
Who do we vote for? So far I have three definites, Jackie Greer, Nancy Masi and any candidate other than Councilwoman Marlane Amelio.

A vote for Greer and Masi, because I think it is ridiculous that their jobs should be politically connected. They spend two years at their job learning it, or gaining more experience, then, because of party-line voters, they may lose it and a new, less-experienced, less-qualified person wins the post and has to spend two or more years all over again to learn the job themselves.

For mayor, I’ll vote for whichever candidate first promises that, by year one in office, he or she will reduce the mayor’s job to part-time and will have laws in place to allow the hiring of a full-time qualified municipal manager.

Councilwoman Amelio’s history reveals she proposed a change to our zoning laws that would allow new, or same, business applicants to seek approval from the town building inspector rather than go before the Town Planning Board, a body of seven volunteer residents. Building inspector jobs and actions are always subject to the approval of the mayor and town board, who are the authority that hired the inspector initially.

The town board calls most public hearings during a scheduled town board meeting, but this zoning change hearing was scheduled on a special off meeting night. Consequently, it was not on the town agenda for viewing, no one heard about it and it was not televised, so most residents are unaware of this zoning change. Since 95 percent or more business properties border at their rear with B-zone properties, those B-zone properties were affected the most and suffered the biggest loss in ability to protect their property value. Out of 1,500 B-zone properties in Harrison, I was the only B-zone owner that attended that hearing.

America is founded on freedom of speech. I asked the board to vote no because it was unfair to the B-zone owners, including me, that border the business district and because the Planning Board mandates that each residential property within 300 feet of the applicants property be notified by registered mail of the hearing. Amelio’s proposal didn’t even give us that courtesy. She responded “that when the business puts up its grand opening sign; that will be notice enough.” Three other board members intervened and agreed to add that provision later.

To me, it’s apparent that Amelio is not a friend of the B-zone; add also the Belmont administration, with their proposal to phase out the B-zone lots at a loss to each owner of more than $100,000 etc.

Emil Toso,
Harrison