HERKIMER — The Herkimer village board’s recent decision not to send a "cease and desist" letter to Herkimer County regarding the jail project did not sit well with the village planning board chairman.

Brion Carroll also asked about the board’s decision not to vote following a public hearing on a local law establishing guidelines for Retail Corridor 3 as proposed in the village’s master plan.

"You decided to hold off for a reason that was not described," he said, noting he had been unable to attend that meeting.

The board was concerned some of the requirements could disrupt a future project, according to Mayor Mark Netti.

The village could establish a procedure for variances, Carroll said.

He said planning board members would have liked to have heard the village board’s reasons for not moving ahead with approval of the RC3 zone.

"That would require communication," said Chris Lotey, a member of the planning board.

Macri said there were concerns among village board members about how much authority the planning board would have in matters of new development.

Carroll had recommended last month that the village board send a "cease and desist" letter calling for the county to comply with the village’s site plan review process before going ahead with the jail project at the former P&C site on state Route 28. The board voted to send the letter, but the decision was a split one, and Mayor Mark Netti did not want to go ahead with the move without asking for legal advice.

During a special meeting earlier this month, the board voted to rescind the earlier motion, based on the advice of three attorneys, who all said there could be legal ramifications to sending the letter.

Last year, the village board passed a local law establishing a procedure based on New York state site plan review regulations that required anyone who builds in the village on a site of two acres or more to go through this process in order to make sure developers meet certain standards.

Carroll said the county was basing its refusal to submit the plans for review on a court decision exempting the county from the village’s zoning laws, but he said the decision only refers to the zoning law and the site review process is not a zoning law; the site plans would be reviewed by the planning board.

He asked Monday that it be noted that the planning board was not in favor of the board’s decision regarding the "cease and desist" letter and said the county should not be exempted from following the law. He recommended the village board send a letter to the county outlining the reasons for their decision to allow the project to move ahead without complying with village law. This would force future developers to comply with the law or provide rationale for not doing so, according to Carroll.

"You don’t need to do that," said Macri.

Netti said the board had rescinded the motion based on the opinions of three attorneys.

Carroll repeated that the site plan review law had nothing to do with zoning laws.

"Zoning and planning have been separated since 1974," he said. "The fact that the county is immune from one does not mean they are immune from another."

He questioned the advice of the attorneys. Macri pointed out that Carroll is not a lawyer and said he objected to some of the email messages Carroll has sent him.

"It would be nice if you shared pertinent information with the planning board so we could work together," said Lotey. "To this point, we’ve been shut out."

"We’re not adversaries," said Trustee Mark Ainsworth. "We want to work together."

"We understand that," said Carroll.

He asked board members to review the minutes of the planning board meeting including the schedule for implementing the master plan.

Macri said after the meeting that not every court decision is published and available on the internet. Some municipalities that have gone to court regarding similar laws have lost their cases or spent money without a positive outcome.