July 21, 2011

Now that was a PUBLIC hearing

I'm not sure how many people came. The parking lot was full at 6:45, and the room was overflowing, with lots of people in the hallway. I stood in a corner that didn't make for great pictures, but you can see a little of the density here:

Crowd at July 20th Town Board meeting
Crowd at July 20th Town Board meeting.

My probably imperfect notes record 74 speakers, with about a 3-1 split in favor of the ban. I think nearly everyone was from Dryden, with the notable exceptions of a lawyer from Fabius and a geologist from Cayuga County who were there to speak against the ban. Speakers mostly did well at keeping it short, and I was impressed by the efforts people made to avoid simply repeating each other.

Given the intensity of debate and the huge number of people in the room, I thought the crowd behaved pretty well, keeping applause brief and understanding the board's need to keep comments short. Yes, there were some cranky comments, sighs, and coughs from the audience. It wasn't a church service, but it was generally impressive.

Board reviews speaker list.
Board reviews speaker list.

It may be the first board meeting where I've seen substantial numbers of people under 25. A 19-year-old and a 21-year-old spoke, and there were younger kids there too. The age distribution was impressive, from the very young to the very old. Geographic distribution was impressive too - there seemed to be people there from nearly every corner of Dryden.

The board didn't vote on the fracking amendment last night - they have 60 days after the public hearing to do so. The next likely opportunity is at the extra meeting they scheduled for other hearings August 2nd.

I'll be getting and posting the Town's recording of the meeting soon.

Posted by simon at July 21, 2011 8:34 AM in ,
Note on photos


Hilary Lambert said:

Were there any of the younger ppl speaking in favor of fracking? I don't recall any. I was reluctantly impressed by the stern pro-freedom farmers.

Maura said:

I'm sorry I couldn't be there. Will the board accept written comments over next 60 days? Please post info if so. Sounds like a great turnout of ban-fracking supporters who spoke well on behalf of water, air, food supply, community, property values, and quality of life. Proud of you Drydenites!

Mary Ann Sumner said:

Yes, written and email comments are welcome! supervisor@dryden.ny.us with copy to townclerk@dryden.ny.us

Record attendance: the code enforcer stopped counting at 170 and people were still arriving. I'm sure the total was more than 200.

In addition to the young people, one speaker told us he's 102!

It was truly inspiring to see so many people come together to speak and listen respectfully.

Claire Perez said:

Thanks for updating me on the meeting via your post.
I think you make several good points about property and the impact of gas drilling on our rights.

We have been hounded in the past to participate and
have always said no.

I wonder too, if the folks who say yes, realize the tax ramifications of any money they get. One couple I met, received their $5000 check, spent it on things to keep their farm going, and then were shocked that they had to include the $5000 in their income for Uncle Sam. I bet a lot of people get this surprise.
Claire Perez