Fair Street Extension Stipulation Does Not Prohibit Virtual Public Hearing

“But Shaut said that the city’s hands were effectively tied by Mott’s order. ‘We have to do it in person because that’s what the judge told us to do,’ said Shaut, who said she consulted city legal attorneys about the issue. So unless the judge tells us something different, it will be in-person.’”  Council to Take Back Fair Street Extension, For Now (Kingston Wire)  

By Rebecca Martin

Yesterday, KingstonCitizens.org launched a petition to request that the City hold the upcoming Fair Street Extension public hearing as either a hybrid or virtual meeting in order for the community to have the opportunity to participate during a time of high Covid infections. In 24 hours, 88 residents have signed. 

In a recent news story, President Andrea Shaut says that the city’s “hands are tied” and that the public hearing must be in person due to a directive by Judge Mott. However, there is nothing in the stipulation that suggests the meeting should be in-person only. 

In the transcript of the meeting during which the stipulation was settled, it is clear that the City of Kingston’s Corporation Counsel requested the in-person meeting, not Judge Mott, who would go on to provide an opinion, not an order: “Look, it’s you guys who are complaining about it. If there is going to be any potential for a problem in this next one, I think that can be totally averted if it’s in-person.”  

The public shouldn’t be punished at a time of high Covid infections by being denied the option to participate virtually.   Please SIGN THE PETITION to request a hybrid or virtual Fair Street Extension public hearing on January 12.