Deliberations and votes by the Central Planning Authority should be held in public, Public Accounts Committee Chairman Ezzard Miller said at a meeting of his committee on Wednesday.
The Central Planning Authority currently allows members of the public to attend the portions of its meetings where developers present their plans and any potential objectors can air concerns. These meetings have been public since 2017, and stem from a 2015 audit report that criticised the planning board for holding closed meetings.
However, the portion of the meetings where Central Planning Authority members deliberate and vote on development applications is still held behind closed doors.
He asked Planning Authority Director Haroon Pandohie why the deliberations and votes are not public, and Pandohie responded that it’s so board members can have “open and frank discussion”.
Miller said this state of affairs is unacceptable.
“If the application is open to the public, and the presentation and objectors are open to the public, why would it be necessary to have the deliberations of evidence presented to the board?” the chairman asked.
He added, “It’s the actual act of voting that the public needs to know if we’re going to demonstrate that acts of corruption aren’t occurring and people aren’t being influenced.”
“You’re point is taken,” Pandohie told Miller. The planning director said his department will work with the board to help them move towards all aspects of the meetings being held in the public.