The Greensboro Board of Adjustment yesterday upheld a ruling of the Greensboro Historic Preservation Commission about the cutting of a tree in Fisher Park. I wrote about the HPC's vote here, and I should note that I made the motion on the HPC to deny the request to cut the tree. The N&R's Jim Schlosser writes,
The Greensboro Board of Adjustment sided with the Fisher Park Neighborhood Association on Monday by ruling the church must keep a willow oak in a new church parking lot planned along North Elm Street.I wasn't at the BOA meeting (I was teaching my historical linguistics class), and I believe they made the correct ruling, but I'm going to pick a bone with Jim Schlosser.
The job of the BOA is not to re-hear cases de novo, and the Board does not have to agree with the original ruling in order to uphold it. The Board's job is to determine whether the original ruling of the HPC was made fairly and reasonably.
When the HPC ruled that the tree in question should be preserved, it was not siding with the Fisher Park neighborhood; it was applying what's written in the Historic Preservation Design Guidelines to a specific case. Nor was the BOA siding with anyone in this appeal -- it would be a gross dereliction of their duty for them to do so. The BOA simply found that the HPC had ruled within its authority in a fair hearing.
Portraying a case like this as an amusing feud between a neighborhood and a church, with various boards and commissions taking sides, makes for a lively story.
But it demeans the work of the board and commission volunteers, who take their duties seriously, and it deprives the public of accurate knowledge of how their city government works.