Wednesday, July 09, 2008

BC Task Force Meeting Schedule for July

The BC Task Force will be meeting during July to consider various parts of the revised institutional master plan (the draft project impact report) that BC submitted to the city on June 20th.

All meetings are 6:30-8:30 pm, Brighton Marine Health Center, 77 Warren Street, Brighton.
July 10 [Thursday]: Athletic facilities [Chapters 5 and 7]
July 15 [Tuesday]: Housing [Chapters 5 and 6]
July 22 29 [Tuesday]: Transportation, etc. [Chapters 5 and 9]
Note that none of these meetings is the one that the BRA is required to hold under the Article 80 review process, so there will be at least one more meeting in addition to those listed above.

For more information, contact: John Fitzgerald, Project Manager, BRA, 617-918-4267,

To Attend, Or Not To Attend: That Is The Question for BC Officials

These meetings will differ from previous ones in that there will be no presentation by BC officials -- since most attendees are quite familiar with their institutional master plan. Task force members will be facilitating the meetings as an opportunity to hear community feedback, so there will be no time set aside in the agenda for BC officials to present the plan or answer questions.

City officials (e.g., BRA and other departments) are likely to attend; the task force is, after all, an official advisory body of the BRA. The attendance of BC officials is unclear: this is a public meeting, so they may attend if they wish, but the task force appears neither to have invited nor discouraged them from attending.

At previous meetings during the comment period of the IMPNF, at least one BC official stated publicly that they would be happy either to attend or not -- whatever the community and task force would prefer. (Harvard's counterpart has made the same offer to the Harvard Allston Task Force.) A peculiar situation unfolded in the four January meetings, in that the BC officials were asked to sit in attendance -- yet say nothing as the neighborhood residents made various comments and posed questions. In general, those questions weren't answered because the format didn't allow it. It was an odd format, and several of the BC officials appeared visibly uncomfortable.

This week I have heard from quite a number of Brighton residents, all of whom have told me that they would prefer that BC officials not attend -- since the format appears to avoid allow back-and-forth discussion between residents/task force members and BC officials. Last week's public meeting of the BC Neighbors Forum had only residents in attendance (plus a few reporters and a couple of elected officials' staff members), which allowed the discussion to be thorough and very lively. There is little question in my mind, based on experience, that the discussion is far more frank when only neighborhood residents attend.

We'll see how the task force addresses the situation Thursday night.

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