Town Board Meetings
Meetings of the Oyster Bay Town Board are conducted in the Town Board Hearing Room, Town Hall North, 54 Audrey Avenue, Oyster Bay, New York.
How Meetings are Structured
Meetings of the Oyster Bay Town Board begin with public hearings. These are items which, under law, require a public hearing before the Town Board. All such hearings are advertised in advance as to the date, time, place and subject matter. Public hearings are held on a wide range of issues including proposed local laws, amendments to the Town Code, rezoning and special use permit applications, and traffic regulations.
Following any scheduled public hearings, the Town Board moves on to the Action Calendar. This consists of a list of resolutions to be voted on. Some concern routine matters such as calling for a public hearing on a specific issue, accepting bids for Town purchases and road improvement projects, and authorizing the expenditure of funds or the issuance of bonds for financing a purchase.
Once the Action Calendar has been completed, the Town Board holds a Public Comment session. At this time, residents are given an opportunity to address the Town Board on any issue of concern.
Information highlighted below reflects ‘rules of decorum,’ adopted in January 2021, which are to be followed at all Town Board meetings.
General Rules of Procedure
The Supervisor shall preside at meetings of the Town Board. In the Supervisor’s absence, the Senior Councilperson shall preside. There is no limit to the number of times a Town Board member may speak on a question. Motion to close or limit debate may be entertained but shall require the affirmative vote of four members of the Board.
Resident Participation and Rules of Decorum
Each speaker will submit his/her name and address upon a form to be provided by the Town Clerk or his/her designee. On such form, the speaker shall also indicate whether he/she wishes to speak or comment on a Public Hearing, Action Calendar item, i.e., resolution, or Public Comment. Speakers must be recognized by the Presiding Officer, and shall be called to speak in the order determined by the Presiding Officer. Speakers must step to the front of the room and speak into the microphone at the lectern. Speakers are not to approach the dais without invitation and are directed to make their remarks from the lectern. No materials (records, documents, etc.) may be placed on the dais or presented to the Board unless either authorization is requested and granted by the Presiding Officer or a Board member specifically requests to see such materials. All materials that are granted authorization or requested by a Board member for presentation shall be presented to the Town Clerk who shall pass it the Board. Members of the public shall not shout out or speak out when not recognized by the Presiding Officer.
The Town Decorum Rules are to ensure that the meetings of the Town Board are conducted in a way that allows the business of the Town of Oyster Bay to be effectively undertaken and to ensure that the Decorum Rules are understood by individual or individuals attending Town Board meetings; to ensure that members of the public who attend meetings of the Town Board can be heard in a fair and impartial manner; to ensure that the meetings of the Town Board are conducted in a professional and respectful manner that is open to all viewpoints and which is protective of the content of each speaker’s speech and; to prevent and address behavior that prevents the Town Board from conducting orderly and efficient meetings.
Speakers’ remarks shall be addressed to the Board as a body and not to any specific Board member, nor to any of the Town’s staff or other members of the audience. Speakers and members of the public shall not disrupt, delay, or otherwise impede the orderly conduct of the proceedings by defaming, intimidating, making personal insults, making threats of violence or threats against public order and security, or otherwise violating these Decorum Rules and Procedures.
If these Decorum Rules or Rules and Procedures are violated, the Presiding Officer shall request that the individual or individuals violating a Rule or Rules to stop the violation and the Presiding Officer will issue a verbal warning that the individual or individuals is required to leave the Board Room if they do not stop the violation of the Rule or Rules. If the individual or individuals refuse to stop the violation(s), the Presiding Officer shall cut off comment or debate and shall verbally request that the individual or individuals leave the Board Room. If the individual or individuals refuse to leave when a verbal request is issued by the Presiding Officer, the Presiding Officer shall verbally direct the individual or individuals to leave the Board Room. If the individual or individuals refuse the direction from the Presiding Officer, the Presiding Officer may seek the assistance of law enforcement to remove the individual or individuals. Any decision relating to the enforcement of the Decorum Rules by the Presiding Officer may be overturned by a vote of the majority of the Board Members following a motion, duly seconded.
Speaking on Hearings
Speakers, other than the applicant or its attorneys or experts, shall have five (5) minutes to address the Board on the specific matter that is the subject of the Public Hearing before yielding to the next speaker. Speakers may not yield their time to other speakers.
Speaking on Action Calendar
During the period identified as “Opportunity for the public to address the board on resolutions only,” speakers may address the Board only on pending resolutions. Speakers shall identify all resolutions upon which they wish to speak on the form noted above and shall limit their remarks as to those resolutions only. Speakers shall have three (3) minutes to address the Board on each identified resolution, but not to exceed ten (10) minutes in total.
Speaking During Public Comment
During the period identified as “Public Comment” speakers shall have five (5) minutes to address the Board. Speakers may not yield their time to other speakers. All remarks shall be addressed to the Town Board. The public comment period is designed for comments only. Board members shall not be required to answer questions or respond to comments, but may respond to questions or comments at their discretion or may direct the question or comment to the appropriate individual to respond.
Use of Recording and Electronic Equipment
All individuals shall place their respective cell phones and electronic devices in silent mode during the public meeting. All individuals attending the public meeting are allowed to photograph and tape or video record public meetings so long as the photography or recording is done in a manner which does not interfere with the meeting. The Presiding Officer may make the determination that the photography or recording is being done in a manner that interferes with the meeting after taking into consideration attendant movement and activity, distance from the deliberations of the Board, noise, size of equipment, ability of the public to participate in the meeting notwithstanding the photography or recording, and any other pertinent factor. If the Presiding Officer makes the determination that the photography or recording is interfering with the meeting, the Presiding Officer may request an accommodation to avoid the interference and if not sufficient or complied with, order the photography or recording to be stopped. Any individual violating this section shall be given a verbal warning by the Presiding Officer to cease the conduct. In the event the individual refuses to cease, the Presiding Officer shall request that the individual leave the Board Room. Upon a refusal to leave on request, the Presiding Officer shall then verbally direct the individual to leave the Board Room. Upon refusal of said direction, the Presiding Officer may seek assistance of law enforcement to remove the individual.
Executive Session Policy
It is the policy of the Town Board to conduct Town business in an open fashion and to make available as much information as many legally and practically be disseminated. The New York Open Meetings Law authorizes the Board to conduct business in executive session in a number of areas. The Board recognizes that it is authorized to use executive sessions in these and other situations. To maintain confidentiality and to encourage the uninhibited discussion of the subject matter in executive session, all statements made and positions taken by all participants must remain confidential and may not be disclosed by any participant unless and until disclosure of such information as may be legally disseminated is authorized by affirmative vote of four members of the board. It has been and continues to be the practice of the Board that all members of the Board, acting together, come to agreement by consensus on the specific information which is to be released to the public in accordance with the New York Open Meetings Law, the suitable vehicle for reporting that information, and the timing of the reporting.
All questions regarding Town Board Meetings please call 516-624-6380.
Resolution numbers below reflect those considered by the Town Board. Attached links reflect resolutions adopted at respective Town Board meeting.