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 April 2016, 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.
Each speaker will submit his/her name and address upon a form to be provided by the Town Clerk of his/her designee. On such form, the speaker shall also provide the resolution(s) he/she wishes to comment on, or a brief description of what he/she will comment upon prior to speaking. Speakers must be recognized 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 items or documents 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 an item. All items for presentation that are granted authorization or requested by a Board member shall be presented to the Town Clerk who shall pass it to the Board. Speakers’ remarks shall be addressed to the Board as a body and not to any specific member thereof. Speakers shall observe the commonly accepted rules of courtesy, decorum, dignity and good taste and shall not use foul language, display unacceptable behavior, or be disruptive of the proceedings. Members of the public and Board members shall be allowed to state their positions in an atmosphere free of slander, threats of violence or the use of the Board meeting at a forum for politics. Sufficient warnings may be given by the Board at any time during a speaker’s remarks and, in the event that any individual shall violate the rules of decorum heretofore set forth, the presiding officer may then cut off comment or debate. Any person making offensive, insulting, threatening, insolent, slanderous or obscene remarks, or who becomes boisterous, or who makes threats against any person or against public order, and security while in the Board Room shall be forthwith removed at the direction of the presiding officer, unless permission to continue is granted by the majority vote of the Board members present. Any person failing to follow the determination of the presiding officer shall be forthwith removed at the direction of the presiding officer. Any person removed from a public meeting at the direction of the presiding officer may be charged with disorderly conduct in accordance with New York State Penal Law, Section 240.20.
A timer is utilized to indicate that a speaker’s time limit for addressing agenda items has been reached. Upon being notified that his or her time limit has been reached, a speaker shall cease speaking, leave the lectern and return to his or her seat. The presiding officer may modify these guidelines if warranted.
Speaking on Hearings
Speakers, other than the applicant or its attorneys or experts, shall have five minutes to address the Board on the specific matter that is the subject of the Public Hearing period. Speakers may once again address the Board during the Public Hearing period for one additional five minute period, but only to rebut statements made by the Board or other speakers in regards to the matter that is the subject of the Public Hearing.
Speaking on Action Calendar
Residents interested in speaking regarding any resolution on the calendar may sign up for the period identified as ‘opportunity for the public to address the board on agenda items only.’ Speakers shall have three minutes to address the board on a given resolution, a total of six minutes for two resolutions, and a total of 10 minutes for three or more resolutions.
Speaking During Public Comment
During the public comment period, speakers shall have five minutes to address the Board. Board members may interrupt a speaker during the speaker’s remarks, but only for the purpose of asking questions of the speaker for purposes of clarification, information or to ask follow-up questions.
Use of Recording Equipment
All members of the public and all public officials 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. It 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 person failing to follow the determination of the presiding officer shall be forthwith removed at the direction of the presiding officer. Any person removed from a public meeting at the direction of the presiding officer may be charged with disorderly conduct in accordance with New York State Penal Law, Section 240.20.
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, but will do so with restraint. 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.