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Planning Commission forums shouldn't be held during workday

  • Published in Letters

To The Daily Sun,

What is happening at the Lakes Regional Planning Commission in Meredith? A community of towns are invited to attend a forum on Workforce Housing in the middle of the day on Sept. 27, between the hours of 11 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. This is suppose to be a public outreach program!

I have e-mailed Mr. Jerry Coogan. AICP, program manager for Granite State Futures, the program of the LPPC, and CEDS on two separate occasions — Sept. 1 and Sept. 4. In the first e-mail, I asked for the format of this workshop, and if the public is allowed questions. As of Sept. 15, I have not received acknowledgement from Mr. Coogan.

In my e-mail of Sept. 4, I wrote: "Please explain to me why this meeting is from 11 a.m.to 2:30 p.m. The hours discriminate against the 'Working Class' in the towns, therefore there will be less input from 'WE the PEOPLE'. I think the time should be changed to accommodate the 'Working Class'". As of Sept. 15, I have not received acknowledgement from Mr. Coogan!

This appears to be an illegal "public meeting" because most people who pay taxes and work are unable to attend. Can people walk away from their jobs at 11 a.m.? Why would you have a public meeting without a majority of the people?

Under your enabling statute (RSA 36:47, General Powers & Duties), the Regional Planning Commissions are required "to make a good faith effort and respond to our communities". Having meetings during the lunch hour is not a good faith effort, particularly when you've had other meetings in the evening when more taxpayers can attend. Those who show up are not a representative of the majority of taxpayers in any community.

It is offensive that you would hold this important hearing at a time which is only marginally consistent with due process of law and suggests that you want to do an end-run around important public input. The meeting should be rescheduled for an evening time.

Rosemary Landry