LARCHMONT, N.Y. - Some Larchmont residents' complaints about their local government are limited to pot holes, but Frank Shea has a much larger problem, claiming not all residents are given a voice.
"It seems like our local government allows people with a lot of money to do what they want and holds the rest of us to a different standard," said Shea, who grew up in Larchmont during the period when many of, what he called, the "McMansions" were built.
When Shea grew up, he said Larchmont was mostly middle-to-upper-class. Today, he described it as almost entirely wealthy upper-class. "I think I'd be able to get up and speak at a meeting, but, whether or not anything I said would register, I doubt it," he said.
Residents with a question before meetings can contact the village clerk, whose phone number is listed on the Village website, in addition to all other officials. During meetings, the Larchmont Board of Trustees has a public comment period and usually asks for commentary before a vote, said Mayor Josh Mandell.
Like Shea, Patrick Flynn thinks Larchmont's elected officials don't make it easy to find information about where or when meetings will be held, or what will be discussed. Flynn, a Larchmont resident, searches for that information on the Village website, but said it doesn't have a lot of information.
Agendas for both televised and un-televised board meetings are posted to the Village website's calendar five days prior, but can be made public as far in advance as two months through official publications. Residents can also find a copy of the agenda on the board outside Village Hall.
The Larchmont Board of Trustees holds one televised meeting per month, which Mandell said they try to hold on a Monday. The Village has held Board meetings on other days of the week, and different weeks of the month.
The Village also holds between two and three work sessions, which are also open to the public and have a written record, but aren't televised and only offer a one-sentence outline for the agenda.
"A work session is a public meeting without all of the formality," Mandell said. "I don't have to worry about getting LMC-TV cued up, but it's a public meeting all the same."
Mandell likes how small Larchmont is because residents watching their monthly televised meetings from home can decide half-way through to go to Village Hall and make it in time to comment in person.
Becky Salko may not have liked some of the decisions made by Larchmont's land-use boards over the years in regard to her three Larchmont homes, but she never found the process or the people difficult.
In Shaprio's first home, she had to apply for various building permits through the Zoning Board of Appeals, which she said was "very cut and dry." In her second home, she had to renovate the sun room and said the Architectural Review Board was too "aesthetically opinionated."
When she completed the renovation, the value of her home increased, along with her property taxes, which she fought, but lost. "It was unfair," she said.
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