A Texas Township resident is fed up with township officials and says the time has come for some changes.
Chris Decker says he was basically told to be quiet during a workshop meeting last week and feels that is the wrong approach by officials.
"Everyone in Texas Township has a right to be there and voice opinions," said Decker.
Decker said during the meeting of the planning board, which is discussing updating planning and zoning ordinances, a motion was made and passed to stop public commenting.
Board member John Torrick confirmed this week such a motion was made and passed by members.
Torrick said it was his "understanding" that workshops are meant "for public observation and not comment."
He did confirm a motion was passed during the meeting that no more public comment would be taken.
Board member John Bartron stated that the planning board "doesn't need to give a reason" for making the motion of no public comment.
Decker said not only was he shut out of commenting, the board members did not make available to the public the material which was being discussed.
He questions how members of the public, during a public hearing, can follow what's going on when they aren't given the information.
Decker said it was during his questioning about whether the zoning areas of the township would be expanded when he was cut off and the motion was passed.
Torrick confirmed the motion was made by board member John Bartron. Barton could not be reached for comment.
"I'm here for a workshop and that was telling me to shut up," said Decker.
Decker said the officials in Texas Township are out of touch with reality.
"They are going about this the wrong way," he said.
For Decker, he believes it is the people of Texas Township who should be making the decisions.
"We own Texas Township and we should have a say in what is going on," said Decker. "It should not be up to four or five guys deciding on what's going on here."
Decker said he understands there has to be certain regulations but believes more input by the public is necessary in order to reach some agreements.
"If they would let the people decide what goes on in this area, it would work out much better," said Decker.
Decker said one of his biggest frustrations is the fact when people speak up at meetings, they are often told they should attend the public hearings.
He did that, says Decker, and then was stymied by those on the board.
Page 2 of 2 - Decker firmly believes those with means get their way and others have no say.
"If you have money in this township, you can do whatever you want," said Decker.
He also pointed out that Texas Township "is not a little town anymore," and officials should realize it has to be operated in a different manner.
Decker himself said he has been a victim of ineptness on the part of township officials. He owns a building east of Honesdale on Route 6 and said he had permits to have seven apartments in that building.
But, he said, township officials told him they lost all of the paperwork.
That is not the first instance where paperwork has allegedly been lost by the township.
"I have had it with this place," said Decker.
The planning board is hosting a series of workshops to discuss new regulations. The next one is today starting at 9 a.m. at the township building.
Reporter Kelly Waters contributed to this story.