ROXBURY – With no candidacies in front of it, the Zoning Commission spent its time on Monday, December 13, discussing the organization and possible activities of future meetings.
Among the topics raised was a discussion that should take precedence: the printed rule book or the online version.
President Jim Conway suggested keeping “continuous review of bylaws” as an agenda item. “It could be on our agenda in the future,” he said. “I think if it’s on the agenda, people can come and listen.”
He asked the members to “take their book” and read it, in order to see if any problems stood out to them.
Vice President Kim Tester agreed, saying that when the city’s land use lawyer, Gail McTaggart, came to help with a recent regulatory update, there had been a lot of questions about article 7, which is supposed to deal with special permits, but does not clearly do so. say that is its purpose.
Ms Tester noted that there was also a conflict over political signs, with two different sections saying otherwise. Apparently, the commission had updated its regulations in one section but had not deleted the other.
This led to the discussion of the final authority, the print book, or the online version. Ms Tester said the online version updates almost immediately, offers a search function, and highlights references. She said she can find things much more easily in the online version. She also pointed out that the book is not always updated with every change.
Mr Conway said the committee must decide which is the “official” version. If a commission has two formats, one should be seen as the final authority, he said, especially if something is to be taken to court.
Land use administrator Karen Eddy said the online version should be authoritative, in her opinion. Even if only one word is changed, the book will need to be updated to reflect the change.
Mr Conway said there had also been issues over the years with the online version, but he agreed that this commission was constantly reviewing and updating its bylaws, unlike other cities where years could flow without any revision.
Commissioner Bill Horrigan asked what would happen if Commissioners were to refer to bylaws in an online meeting.
Commissioner Candi Valeri asked if Commissioners would need to bring laptops with them if they returned to meetings in person at some point.
Julie Cady, who chairs the meeting and manages the committee’s screen at the virtual meetings, explained that she might still have some sections available for screen sharing if she knows in advance that this is needed.
Before closing the meeting, the commissioners elected the officers for the coming year. They elected Mr Horrigan to replace Mr Conway as chairman, who explained that he “is not rushing to leave the commission, he is simply stepping down”.
He said he believed a chairman should stay no longer than three to five years, which would allow for new ideas on the committee. Ms Tester has been appointed Vice-President.