Dismissal of Planning Board member causes outcry in Greene County

In a case with great similarity to recent developments in Geneseo, a controversy has erupted in the Town of New Baltimore (Greene County, NY) over the failure of the town board to re-appointed a member of the town planning board who spoke out against a proposed major development. As reported in a Albany Times Union article, the vice chairman and a six-year incumbent on the board was not re-appointed at the town’s organizational meeting last week.

The member, James Coe, was praised by the Chairman of the Planning Board as having, “exceptional skills, exceptional background, exceptional education that suited him for the board.” Coe’s supporters suspect he was dismissed because of his opposition to a massive retail project planned at the Thruway’s Coxsackie exit.

Coe apparently wrote a letter to the editor of a local newspaper last summer opposing the  project as “way too big.” His dismissal has angered members of a local citizens group organized to oppose the project. Members of Citizens for Alternatives to the Multi-Use Park, or CAMP, are urging members to contact town officials and to send letters to editors of local newspapers.

One of their complaints is the secrecy surrounding the decision. The Chairman of the Planning Board and members of the Town Board who were unable to attend the organizational meeting were not informed in advance of the decision. The Town Supervisor declined to comment saying it was a “personnel matter.”

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