How to Participate at a Public Meeting
Public Meetings: A public meeting is scheduled when the Commission wishes to obtain public input on a particular topic they are being asked to make a recommendation on to the City Council. The public meeting allows the Commission to hear information from the public as they deliberate on the particular issue, before forwarding their recommended action to the City Council. In legislative actions, the City Council holds the open record public hearing and considers the Planning Commission’s recommended action and obtains “on the record” public testimony. Legislative actions involve the creation, amendment or implementation of policy or law by ordinance. In contrast to other types of actions, legislative actions apply to large geographic areas and are of interest to many property owners and citizens.
HOW TO PARTICIPATE AT A PUBLIC MEETING BEFORE THE PLANNING COMMISSION:
- After the public meeting has been opened, the Chair will ask a representative from the City to make a brief presentation explaining the issue and make a staff recommendation.
- The Chair may swear in individuals who wish to provide public input.
- In matters where the legislative action is the result of an application from a member of the public, the applicant will then be invited to give a presentation on their application.
- The Chair will then open the public comment portion of the public meeting. Those who desire to speak to the Commission must go to the podium, state their name and complete address, and provide comments on the legislative action. At some public meetings, there may be a sign-in sheet for those who wish to speak before the Planning Commission. Comments should only be given at the podium and it is important to clearly state your name and complete address; please spell out unusual last names or street names, to allow staff to contact individuals by mail as necessary.
- Comments should be limited in length. A three-minute limit may be imposed if there are a number of individuals who wish to speak. Complex information should be put in writing, with 8 extra copies provided to the Commission for insertion into the record.
- Repetition should be avoided. Unless new information is presented, a brief statement of support or disagreement with previous comments is all that needs be presented.
- Rebuttal by the applicant must not be repetitive of previous comments and should be brief, generally not exceeding a few minutes.
- Commissioners may ask questions of staff or speakers during or immediately after their comments, or later in the meeting during their deliberation.
- After all comments and rebuttals have been given, the public comment portion of the meeting will be “closed” (ended), and the Commission will begin its deliberation.
- After sufficient deliberation, a recommendation to approve, amend or deny the application will be made. Occasionally, with a complex issue, the matter may be continued until a later Commission meeting.
Please remember that it is not appropriate at anytime during the public meeting for members of the audience to disrupt the meeting (e.g. clapping, cheering, ridiculing or jeering). The Planning Commission Chair may require the removal of citizens who disrupt the orderly conduct of a meeting. If order cannot be restored by removal of individuals, the commission may order the meeting room cleared and may continue in session or it may adjourn and reconvene the meeting at another time, subject to certain limitations.