Friends of the Zeiss
Electronic Mail: < email@example.com >
Internet Web Site: < http://www.friendsofthezeiss.org >
2003 June 9
Mr. T. Lawrence Palmer, Senior Deputy Attorney General
Western Regional Office
Office of Attorney General
Commonwealthof Pennsylvania Regional Enterprise Tower
Sixth Avenue Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15219
Re: Historic Review Commission of
Takes Official Action without Quorum Pittsburgh
Dear Mr. Palmer:
Last Wednesday afternoon, the Historic Review Commission of Pittsburgh voted to grant a "Certificate
of Appropriateness," allowing certain changes and modifications to be made to the Old Allegheny Post
Office and Buhl Planetarium buildings in
on the North Side of Pittsburgh. This action Allegheny Center
was taken to allow construction of the proposed Pittsburgh Children's Museum and Center project. However, this
action was taken when a quorum of Commission members was not present for the public hearing and the vote.
The monthly meeting of the Historic Review Commission began at on June 4. General business was
transacted at the beginning of the meeting, followed by eleven public hearings. Four Commission members (barely a quorum for the seven-member Commission)
were in attendance for the business meeting and the first nine public hearings: Michael D. Eversmeyer [Chairman], Ronald S. Graziano [Secretary],
Linda Metropulos, and William Barron. Mr. Graziano left the meeting prior to the beginning of the hearing regarding the proposed
Children's Museum project. No other Commission members attended the Children's Museum hearing, and Mr. Graziano did not return to the meeting.
I participated in the public hearing, delivering a statement giving the views of Friends of the Zeiss,
regarding the proposed Children's Museum project. Friends of the Zeiss is an organization created last
year to preserve, maintain and operate, and to raise funds for these purposes, two historic scientific
instruments and associated apparatus and artifacts originated at The Buhl Planetarium and Institute of
Popular Science in
. The Children's Museum proposes to make major changes to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
the Buhl Planetarium building, including the addition of a "
" connecting Buhl Planetarium Nightlight Building
to the Old Allegheny Post Office building.
After public testimony and consideration by the three Commission members in attendance, Mr. Eversmeyer, the
Chairman, called for a motion to approve the "Certificate of Appropriateness" for the proposed
Children's Museum project. Before a motion was made, I IMMEDIATELY announced the following:
"Point of Order. Mr. Chairman, I believe the Commission no longer has a quorum."
Mr. Eversmeyer overruled my objection. He stated that a quorum is only needed to call a meeting to order.
Friends of the Zeiss is of the understanding that this is not correct; a quorum is needed for the Commission
to take any official action. Despite the continuation of the public hearing, Roberts Rules of Order makes it quite clear that
no official action can be taken, short of adjournment, when a quorum no longer exists in an assembly. Further, there is precedent
for our understanding. There have been occasions, within the last couple of years, when the Commission had to postpone taking official action, due to the lack of a quorum.
Mr. T. Lawrence Palmer 2003 June 9 Page 2 of 2
Friends of the Zeiss, respectfully, asks that your office investigate this matter. Should your
investigation confirm the facts that this letter has provided, we ask that your office seek corrective
action by the Historic Review Commission, including a new public hearing and vote on the consideration of
awarding a "Certificate of Appropriateness" for the proposed Pittsburgh Children's Museum and Center project.
Glenn A. Walsh
Wednesday, June 4, 2003
Copy: D. Michael Fisher, Attorney General,