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OM 20-53 Clem v. North Smithfield Planning Board and Conservation Commission No violation

The Complainant alleged that both the North Smithfield Planning Board and the North Smithfield Conservation Commission violated the OMA when they convened a "site tour" of a solar farm outside of the public purview. Based on the totality of the evidence before us, we determined that the Conservation Commission did not convene a meeting outside of the public purview as contemplated by the OMA because a quorum of the Commission was never present. We further determined that although the Planning Board had a quorum present and retained supervision, control, jurisdiction, or advisory power over the solar project that was the subject of the tour, the Planning Board never engaged in a "collective discussion" as to the solar project and thus did not violate the OMA. We did, however, strongly urge the Planning Board to exercise caution as to future assemblances outside of an open meeting that could implicate the OMA. NO VIOLATION FOUND.

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