Just Do it.
Lacking its conscience, Lee Buffinton, who was forced to recuse herself because her employer Champlain Housing Trust, supports the project, the remaining members present cooperated with the unconscionable and irresponsible push to, in the words of one supporter of the project, the owner of LeZot Cameras, "Get it done any way possible". Before the mad rush to get it done ensued, Emily Lee read a letter drafted by herself and Lee Buffinton (who had not yet recused herself), outlining the reasons why they both felt that the public hearing should be stopped (full text of this public record is below in another post). The letter cited improprieties in the warning process and multiple inaccuracies and misrepresentations of Planning Commissioner positions and clearly stated that the required report on the compliance of the zoning change with our comprehensive plan written by the Director of Planning and Zoning, David White, had never been seen by them, discussed by them, or voted on by them. Further, it did not represent the prevailing position of most members of the commission. The audience broke into applause. We thought, for once, that honesty and integrity would prevail. Not so. Immediately after the applause died down, Emily Lee took back her support of the letter, noting that the City Attorney's explanation had satisfied her as to the legality of the proceedings. Eileen Blackwood, City Attorney, had reported that even though Vermont State statutes require a Planning Commission to draft and approve such a report, that's not how we usually do it in Burlington. Thus it is fine for the Director of Planning and Zoning to write such a report without the knowledge or agreement of the Commission, in the Commission's name! According to the Vermont Zoning Administrator's handbook, however, this is not at all correct. Here we read: "The board or commission should make its own decision in a deliberative session without the ZA[zoning administrator]present, and to avoid an unhealthy mixing of roles, the ZA should not write the board or commission’s decision". But Emily Lee was satisfied and Lee Buffinton announced the bombshell that she was required to recuse herself.
Business as usual could now proceed without the pesky obstacle of conscience, due diligence, the law, ethics, consistency, responsibility to the public.