BRONXVILLE, N.Y. Bronxville resident Helen Levitz has attended the village planning board meetings each month since February.
"I have gotten up to speak at each one of them for at least 10 minutes," she said.
Levitz is opposed to the specifics of a proposed addition to Lawrence Hospital. While Levitz supports adding the new space, which will hold six new operating rooms along with a center for chemotherapy and radiation, she vehemently opposes where the hospital has chosen to build it, less than a 50 feet from the condominium complex where she and her husband Larry have lived for the last 13 years.
Levitz said she feels the members of the planning board do give her and her fellow residents who show up in a large group ample opportunity to speak. The board does not limit the number of people who can speak, nor do they limit the amount of time a person is allowed to speak.
In contrast, residents who attend Eastchester Town Board meetings have two opportunities to speak but they are limited to three minutes per person. The first opportunity comes before the board handles any business, but speakers are only allowed to speak on agenda items. During the second opportunity, a speaker may speak about any topic.
Tuckahoe has an opportunity for residents to speak as well, but only one and without a time limitation.
For the town and both of its villages, the meeting schedule is posted for the year for all three municipal meetings, town or village board, planning board and zoning board of appeals. On their websites, the upcoming meetings are highlighted. Agendas for the meetings are posted the Friday before, and the minutes are posted about a month after the meeting. In Bronxville they have meeting minutes posted from as far back as 2004.
Levitz said ?that while she does not think the access to town and village government is perfect, she does think it is a good system. "I used to live in New York City," she said. "It's a lot tougher to get an opportunity to speak before the city council than it is here in Bronxville," she said.
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