Planning board needs new member that will give the same weight to small neighbor as it does to large corporation

To the Editor:

As many of you now know, Jim Cohen, longtime member of the Guilderland Planning Board, has stepped down. I would like to thank Jim for his 20-plus years of service to the town, and his lifelong commitment to trying to make things better for his community [“Making room for ‘new blood’ on the planning board,” Letters to the Editor, The Altamont Enterprise, Aug. 27, 2020].

His letter stated he was stepping down now to make room for “new blood,” during this rapid expansion of growth in Guilderland. It is indeed a challenging time, and an inflection point for the town.

I agree with Jim that this is a time to get some new perspectives on town growth on the planning board.  For each project, a planning board member must examine the environmental impacts of the project, the residents’ vision for their town as embodied in the town code and the master plan, and the effects of the project on the town’s character, then balance that against the need for some reasonable growth, especially for small local businesses, in this time of COVID. 

We need independent voices that will not be afraid to speak out with a new perspective on town planning.  I strongly believe that bringing in a diversity of backgrounds and voices is the way to make the best decisions — decisions that ideally, in the true meaning of democracy, will give the same weight to the small neighbor as it does to the large corporation.

Serving on a town planning board is a fantastic way to get involved with your town. If you are tired of sitting on the sidelines, and feel the urge to do something to help out, now is the time. It is a challenging and exciting way to help shape your town’s future.

If you love your town, and would like to become a part of the process, please submit your résumé and cover letter, explaining your qualifications and reasons for seeking the appointment to Jessica Montgomery, Town Supervisor’s Office, at by 4:30 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 2, 2020.

The planning board meets every second and fourth Wednesday evening of the month at 7 p.m. The position now open would be for two years, to complete Jim’s term, then the seat would be up for possible re-appointment for the full seven-year term. More information on the work of the planning board can be found at the town’s website:

I encourage all interested applicants to please apply.

Laurel Bohl


Guilderland Town Board

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