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For the first time, the North Castle Town Board will be holding work sessions on weeks where it does not hold regular meetings because of several looming issues that need its attention.
The board, which has traditionally held 22 meetings a year, typically meets on the second and fourth Wednesdays of each month, except if a regular meeting night falls on a holiday and in August and December when it has just one meeting. Work sessions, when needed, have been held prior to the regular 7:30 p.m. Town Board meetings.
However, with a series of key issues on the board’s plate, the members last week took the step to add Apr. 13, May 4 and May 19 to its schedule for work sessions. This month, the board had scheduled its two regular meetings for the first and fourth Wednesdays because of the approaching school spring break and the Easter and Passover holidays.
Supervisor Michael Schiliro said work sessions won’t be automatically added but will be scheduled on an as-needed basis when the board’s workload warrants it. The off-week work sessions are expected to begin at 6 p.m. and could last up to three hours, if necessary.
“Once we catch up, we may determine work sessions aren’t needed or needed as regularly and they don’t need to be scheduled for as long as three hours,” Schiliro said.
Among the matters that the board is facing in the upcoming weeks is a review of the mandatory state Uniform Building Code changes proposed for next year and discussions on the future of the former Mariani Gardens site, where a new partnership has taken over and is likely to submit a revised formal application but has also sued the town.
Discussion on the Uniform Building Code is likely to take multiple sessions, said Town Administrator Kevin Hay. The board will open its discussion on the subject at its work session before this Wednesday’s regular Town Board meeting.
However, adding work sessions will also be met with a couple of additional challenges. Mindy Berard, Schiliro’s confidential secretary, said the first Wednesday of each month Town Attorney Roland Baroni is unavailable. The third Wednesday evening of the month, the Town Hall meeting room is taken by the Architectural Review Board for its meetings. That will force the Town Board to move to an alternate location, such as the Town Hall annex, the North White Plains Community Center or Hergenhan Recreation Center.
The work sessions will be broadcast on the town’s website with replays available.
Schiliro said the board will still hold some work sessions before its regular meetings and will try to avoid scheduling items that are likely to require Baroni’s legal advice on the first Wednesdays.
Councilmembers Barbara DiGiacinto and Saleem Hussain said the board should aim for a 6 p.m. start for the work sessions for a maximum of three hours.
“I would prefer not to start later and I would really like to agree, as much as we can, on a finishing time, maybe nine o’clock,” DiGiacinto said. “That’s three good hours unless something, obviously, I’m not saying set that in stone, but I really think we know we need to be very productive.”