Town of North Hempstead to hold remote zoning board meetings

North Hempstead Supervisor Jennifer DeSena said the town will hold remote zoning board meetings until further notice. (Photo by Robert Pelaez)

Town of North Hempstead Supervisor Jennifer DeSena announced that the Board of Zoning Appeals  will hold its hearings remotely due to an increase in coronavirus cases.

In a news release on Tuesday, DeSena cited the need to keep the public safe amid growing concerns over the omicron variant as a reason to shift the meetings to an online platform.

“The protection of public health and safety are paramount and as infection rates go up at a staggering pace during this winter surge due to the omicron variant, the Town is transitioning these Board of Zoning Appeals meetings to be remotely held through Zoom,” DeSena said.

In the news release, the town referred to legislation signed by Gov. Kathy Hochul in September that permitted virtual meetings to continue for municipalities throughout New York in an effort to reduce the spread of the coronavirus.

An executive order was signed by then Gov. Andrew Cuomo in March 2020 that authorized public meetings to be held virtually. That provision was lifted on June 25, 2021, when the state’s disaster emergency ended.

The town has held monthly public board meetings and Solid Waste Management Authority meetings remotely since September after spending the two previous months meeting in person for the first time since the beginning of the pandemic in March 2020.

Town officials did not say when any of the now-remote meetings would return to an in-person format. The town’s previously scheduled Jan. 5 hearing was adjourned to Jan. 26, officials said.

Officials said the Board of Zoning Appeals will hold meetings available at Public comments can be submitted to the board by emailing [email protected], but they must be submitted at least an hour before the meeting begins, officials said.

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Robert Pelaez

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