Voting at Business Meetings
Both residents and businesses come to the Neighborhood Association in order to gain neighborhood support for their project or proposal. Like any group, when ESNA supports or opposes a project, we try to not only express the will of the majority of the membership, but make decisions that will benefit the community as a whole and our quality of life. This FAQ will help answer some questions on ESNA voting policies and procedures.
How is an issue presented?
The presenter is given time on the floor to present their request. It is up to the presenter to give a complete and thorough presentation, including enough data for ESNA residents to evaluate the proposal and make an informed vote. After the presentation, members engage in a Q&A session to ask for more details. If everyone is satisfied at this point, the presenter is asked to leave the room, where ESNA members discuss and then vote on the issue
Who can vote?
Any paid Eight Streets member in good standing may vote on an issue. Anyone present may ask questions and engage in discussion.
Why can only members vote?
While we do not want to exclude any resident, there is always the possibility of a presenter 'loading' a meeting - that is to fill this one meeting with supporters, in order to get their proposal approved. To try and curb this, we restrict voting to members only. members must have joined before the meeting at which the issue is discussed in order to vote on that issue.
On occasion, a large number of non-member residents will attend a meeting in order to make a case for or against an issue. In these cases, the president will, at their discretion, decide if the vote will proceed.
What if I don't agree with the Eight Streets Vote?
Eight streets does not give final approval to any project or proposal; the City of Boston's regulatory boards give final approval on proposals. Eight Streets, by its votes, send letters to these boards with the results of the NA's vote.
If you do not agree with any vote by Eight Streets, individual residents may send their own letters to the boards and express their own viewpoints on the presented proposals.
Why are most votes to "oppose" or "not oppose" proposals? Don't we support anything?
Our decision to vote in this way is the result of a debate in the NA many years ago, during the gentrification of the late 90's. Many of the proposals coming to Eight Streets are for work on individual homes and small business requests. We used to vote on supporting/not supporting these items. But residents questioned why we "supported" someone's decks, or why we "supported" a developers plans that would only benefit the developer and not residents.
After much discussion we came to the conclusion that most issues fell into the category "We have no problems with what you are doing", which translates into "we do not oppose your project". We feel this is a more neutral tone for most requests to ESNA.
Should any really great project come forward, like a park improvement the benefits everyone, the Neighborhood Association can choose to support such a project