Nassau County Executive Laura Curran has vetoed a bill passed by the Legislature that would bring more transparency to government. The bill required more advance public notice of the meetings, agendas and actions of the Nassau County Planning Commission whose decisions and recommendations on zoning and development often affect the local economy, environment and historic preservation of the county.
“In every aspect, this legislation was sound, proper and meant to create greater transparency,” Presiding Officer Richard Nicolello said. “It is disappointing to see the County Executive veto a bill that would result in more opportunities for residents to have their voices heard in the actions of county government.”
The legislation required the Planning Commission to post its agenda to the official Nassau County website and to disseminate the agenda to local officials at least seven days prior to a meeting in which zoning and subdivision applications would be considered and possibly voted upon. The measure required the Planning Commission to establish and maintain an email notification system that would allow citizens and community leaders the opportunity to receive agendas by email at least one week in advance of meetings.
Prior to this legislation there was no formal time frame in place to allow the public and elected officials a reasonable period to review and reaction to the applications involving the Planning Commission. Typical past practices of the Planning Commission provided minimal notice of two or three days lead time.
“The County Executive’s veto will limit residents’ ability to have their voices heard on important issues that come before the Planning Commission,” Nicolello said. “Community leaders, officials and residents should have proper notice to review and respond to governmental decisions that will impact their communities and their daily lives. Unfortunately, the County Executive’s veto leaves in place Planning Commission procedures that ensure minimal public input into their decisions.”