Seneca Falls board activates new rules; 80-person limit, metal detectors to be used

The Town of Seneca Falls has decided that the “tone and rhetoric” have grown to be a concern at monthly board meetings.

Seneca Falls Town Supervisor Greg Lazzaro, working in coordination with Police Chief Stu Peenstra released new guidelines for all future Town Board meetings.

Among the changes will be full-utilization of the metal detector for all visitors during public Town Board meetings. The 80 person, maximum occupancy will also be enforced, which hasn’t been up to this point.

The statement also notes that anyone attending the meeting will be required to remain seated unless they are at the podium speaking.

As part of the new rules, signs will continue to be banned from the meeting.

In a phone interview shortly after the new standards were released — Supervisor Lazzaro said that it was a necessary move, which was executed in coordination with Chief Peenstra. “People are angry when they come to the meetings,” he explained. “The rhetoric has gotten heated at times and this is a precautionary measure.”

The full-statement read as follows:

“Due to the Town of Seneca Falls commitment to public safety, the Town has made the decision to implement the use of the metal detector for all visitors during public Town Board meetings. The maximum occupancy of 80 persons will also be enforced. All persons attending the board meetings will be required to be seated unless they are at the podium. Also, signs will not be allowed at the board meetings.”

Town Board meetings have become highly-charged amid ongoing debate around the future of the Seneca Meadows Landfill.

Supervisor Lazzaro said issuing the statement now was an effort to give residents time to adjust to new regulations at these meetings. “I didn’t want anyone surprised when they arrived at the Town Offices next month,” he added.

Lazzaro also said that the recent events in Alexandria, Virginia — where Rep. Steve Scalise was shot by a gunman on a baseball field “brought the safety issue home,” and made the Town take a different look at safety.