When the Zoning Board of Appeals faced complaints earlier this summer from developers and residents alleging unfair treatment, Selectman John Rooney suggested televising ZBA meetings would go a long way toward correcting perceptions of unfairness. At a recent meeting, the ZBA discussed doing just that.
Reports the Metrowest Daily News:
Matthew Hurley, the new Zoning Board chairman, raised the idea Wednesday night of televising or possibly audiotaping the meetings. The tapes would not only aid transparency but also help the recording secretary in creating minutes.
The board decided to ask Town Counsel Aldo Cipriano whether either measure would be prudent.
Many communities, including Marlborough, Westborough and Northborough, do not televise Zoning Board meetings, and Hurley said that may be for legal reasons.
What do you think? If the zoning board televised it’s meetings, would you watch? Would it help the perception issues?
Currently the only meetings recorded and televised are the Board of Selectmen and school committee. What other boards and committees would you like to see televised (or streamed online of course)?
Share your thoughts in the comments.
I am not quite sure why the ZBA would consult with town counsel on this matter. A lawyers natural reaction is to resist disclosing information. I think we saw this in the recent pizzagate debacle.
On the other hand consulting with the BOS who are our elected executive would be more productive.
For the record I am all for televising more of Govt.
I’m with Al. If you have no reason to be secretive, have nothing to hide, there is no reason not to televise. As for the word “transparent”, I saw recently that it is one of the most overused words in modern politics.
Just for the record – in addition to televising School Committee and BOS meetings, Advisory meetings were also televised this past year. Other than Donna McD, I’m not sure how many viewers we had or of our Nielsen rating !
Thanks, Claire. I forgot Advisory started televising their meetings too.
I’d think it hard to find a reason NOT to televise an open meeting. My only concern, as a former ZBA member, is that there’s some homework to be done to understand what a ZBA can and can’t do. It’s not a matter of counting people for and against who come or speak the loudest or longest!
The applicants are asking the board to allow exemptions from our zoning bylaw–a serious matter. We don’t pass those bylaws lightly and we mean them to be enforced! One kind of request is a variance for which the property in question must meet certain strict standards (landowners can be very good at finding reasons that THEIR land shouldn’t be subject to a particular zoning), Maybe. Maybe not. The other is a special permit. These permits are specifically listed in our zoning code. They include uses allowable under certain circumstances, principally focused on whether there’s a detreimental effect on the neighborhood). I’ll write more about this in my column sometime soon.