The spotlight story on the Massachusetts Historical Commission (MHC) appearing in the recent edition of MassINC’s CommonWealth magazine is not a surprise to anyone who has had to deal with this agency.
It is a shame that a well-respected, growing business like Meditech should have been treated in such a manner to cause them to question doing business in the Commonwealth. But this goes beyond this one company, and the outrage should not be focused only on the resolution of this particular site-specific problem.
The problems include the lack of transparency throughout the permitting process, the lack of regulations and timelines relative to the review of sites listed on the MHC Inventory of Historic Places, and the purposely limited opportunities to meet with this agency. MHC should begin by allowing full, convenient public access to all of its files, as most every other agency is required to provide. These issues must be addressed to provide for a fair and predictable system.
Without these changes, the MHC will continue to be viewed as a political tool, unaccountable to the general public.