I just read Chris Sawyer-Laucanno's OP-ED piece in the Montague Reporter and though he is correct about the lackluster participation in Town Meeting, democracy does not end there. All citizens have to have some faith that there voices will be heard if democracy is to flourish. The Montague Center School issue becomes a prime example of how citizens can and have become discouraged with a failed democratic process. A five-member board (Zoning Board of Appeals) basically ignored the opinion of about 150 individuals and in many minds overstepped their authority in approving a variance for the residential development. Another five-member board ignored the views of the majority who attended the Planning Board hearing and will ask the Select Board to change the the Zoning By-Law so that this development project can continue unabated.
In addition, when agenda's and minutes are not posted on the website in a timely manner it becomes almost impossible for citizens to know what is going on.
So yes it is important that Montague citizens participate in Town Meeting, but it is also important
that boards, committees, and Town officials keep others informed and respect their opinion.
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