by Michael R. Allen
’twas the Friday before the Preservation Board Meeting, and not an agenda could be found!
The Board’s website no only does not have an agenda today, but it lists the next meeting date as “August 28, 2006.” While this oversight is no fault of Board members and likely not that of the Cultural Resources Office staff, whoever is in charge of updating this website needs to be chastised for constantly failing to provide citizens with the information they need to know well enough in advance so that they might plan to attend these meetings. The website is how most people get the agenda; few have time to go to the Cultural Resources Office to pick up a copy.
While I am a historic preservation professional and can easily attend these meetings because it is part of my job, others are not so lucky. Most city residents could not attend a meeting about a demolition permit if they only found out about it Monday morning and the hearing was at 4:00 p.m. That’s barely enough time to send in a statement via e-mail. Meanwhile, developers who know about the permit long in advance can attend and in the absence of citizen testimony state that no one in the neighborhood cares about the issue since no one showed up.
Really, there is no reason why the agenda could not be published one week prior to the meeting. Items that came in late would simply have to be placed on the next month’s agenda.