Editorial: Why did Peterborough staff and selectmen wait till everyone was gone to bring up zoning protest petition?

Published: 5/8/2019 9:28:55 PM

With nothing left on the agenda at Tuesday night’s Select Board meeting, Selectwoman Barbara Miller thanked the 15 in attendance for their opinions and said goodnight. Most got up and left, including our reporter. A few minutes after the room had cleared, town administrator Rodney Bartlett and his deputy Nicole MacStay presented the board with a protest petition against the zoning article Amendment 15. (See our story on page 1.) The impact of the petition? A two-thirds vote is now required for Amendment 15 to pass. The vote on Amendment 15 is Tuesday, yes Tuesday.

The board was told they are required to sign the protest petition and that they are required by law to post the two-thirds majority requirement at the polls Tuesday and to have the town moderator announce the two-thirds majority requirement at the opening of the polls, which is 7 a.m. Miller asked if the protest petition needs to be announced in the newspaper. “It doesn’t have to,” MacStay told her.

The Monadnock Ledger-Transcript was told by a resident about the protest petition and thanks to the town’s streaming service watched the unattended end of the meeting in which all of this took place. Bartlett said the next morning that the protest petition came in after the agenda had been made so it was brought up at the end of the meeting under “other business.” He made it clear the town would do no more than the minimum to make the public aware of the protest petition and said they had no plans to send out a press release regarding it. He did say the town would post it on the town website Wednesday, but as of press time Wednesday night they had not.

We at the Monadnock Ledger-Transcript say this is unacceptable. Residents have a right to be fully informed, especially in matters related to an upcoming vote. Town officials, elected and paid, have an obligation to serve all residents, not just those who vote the right way.

Read our news coverage of the protest petition:

Protest petition alters zoning petition article in Peterborough


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