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Thread: Longest Planning Commission Meetings

  1. #1
    Member Glomer's avatar
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    Longest Planning Commission Meetings

    Just thought I would get some responses on your experiences with the length of PC meetings. I've only been a planner for a year now, so not much experience in the longevity of these meetings, but last nights meeting went over 4 and half hours.

    granted we are making changes to our comp plan and future land use plan but for the love of God.

    I guess I'm just in a bad mood seeing as I live 45 minutes from work (yes I commute) so by the time I hit the pillow the alarm went off and I am back to work.

    So, let me here of some longer meetings, so I can stop feeling sorry for myself.

  2. #2
    Forums Administrator & Gallery Moderator NHPlanner's avatar
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    4.5 is nothing...

    I've had Planning Board meetings start at 7PM and end and 1:30AM in the past.

    We've changed our regulations since those days, and our typical meeting is now between 2.5 and 4 hours.
    "Growth is inevitable and desirable, but destruction of community character is not. The question is not whether your part of the world is going to change. The question is how." -- Edward T. McMahon, The Conservation Fund

  3. #3
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    When I worked for a certain mega-burb in Colorado, P&Z meetings would normally start at 6:00 PM. Considering very long agendas and very active community associations, it wasn't unusual for meetings to end around midnight.

    I didn't call meeting records "minutes" ... I called them hours. Lots and lots of hours.
    Growth for growth's sake is the ideology of the cancer cell. -- Edward Abbey

  4. #4
    Cyburbian el Guapo's avatar
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    Shortest meeting.

    We once had a meeting at one of my former workplaces that lasted maybe 5 minutes. But we did meet the legal requirement of being available for public comment that night for an ongoing case. It was just that no public showed up. I never really had any meeting go past 2.5 hours that I recall.

  5. #5

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    I used to work for a regional planning commission in New Hampshire as a circuit rider planner, covering several towns. One Planning Board regularly started at 7:00 and ended after midnight. The latest we ever went was nearly 2:00 and the earliest we finished was about 11:00.

    That was also the same Planning Board that was called "a pimple on the ass of progress" by an applicant in a public meeting. At another meeting, the chairman called for a recess and took another member out into the hall. They got into a huge shouting match that everybody in the meeting room could clearly hear. After several minutes, they returned to the meeting (both red-faced and angry) and we continued. Nobody said a word. Those meetings were always interesting. Not necessarily fun, but interesting.

  6. #6
          Downtown's avatar
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    5 1/2 hours

    We meet EVERY week and meetings typically last 1-3 hours. However, so far my longest meeting started at 7 and ended at 12:30, the following week's meeting was 4 hours long. But I can't bitch too much, because I get 3 1/2 hours comp time regardless of how long I'm there, and 75% of the time I'm making out.

  7. #7
    Member seannelson's avatar
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    antsy board members

    My Planning Commissioners don't like it if the meetings go too long. They usually begin to get restless about 10:00. Our meetings begin at 8:00 and get over around 10:00 or soon after. Monday we went from 8:00 to 11:30, but they tabled two items or it could have been a real long one.

  8. #8

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    Our Planning Board's meetings convene at 7:00 PM and regularly run to 11:00 PM, although the agenda clearly states that no new business will be considered after 10:30 PM. Our part of the country -- coastal New England -- is undergoing a development boom, so this means that items at the end of the agenda are commonly carried over to the subsequent month. At our last meeting, the last item -- an upscale used car sales room -- was not heard because of the late hour. The attorney representing the applicant grabbed the podium and chewed out the Planning Board, only to have the Board chairman expell him from the room. This attorney and his client then went to a local bar, got drunk, and proceeded during the wee hours of the night to fill up the sales lot with all of the junked, wrecked and decrepit vehicles they could get their hands on, liberally spray painting their views about the Town on the vehicles. Of course, this parcel is adjacent to a rvier where the local Chamber of Commerce a couple of days later had its annual fund raiser duck race which several hundred people attended. When contacted by the newspaper, the applicant said that the "problem" cars would be removed if the Planning Board immediately held a special meeting to approve his application. The newspaper (whose office is across the street from the sales lot) responded with an editorial demanding that the cars be immediately removed with no preconditions attached. This editorial emboldened some of the weaker kneed town officials to stand fast, and as this is being written, the plan will be heard at the next regular meeting, not beforehand. Incidentially, the plan itself sucks, as the applicant has so far refused to comply with those items of the zoning regulations (e.g., landscaping) that he disagrees with. The next Planning Board meeting should be interesting, as the applicant's loud and disagreeable hostility towards the entire site plan review process may again surface.

  9. #9
    maudit anglais
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    Can we get some pics of the lot, biha?

  10. #10
    Member Glomer's avatar
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    Wow!!!! would like to see the minutes of that meeting...biha

  11. #11
    Forums Administrator & Gallery Moderator NHPlanner's avatar
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    Politics and Planning Boards

    Names changed to protect the "parties" involved.

    Planners seek clarity from TOWN X council
    By Joe Reporter

    Newspaper X Staff Writer

    TOWN Xó The chairman of the Planning Board says the council never shared its design vision with planners, which has forced out a high-tech firm that had hoped to build its headquarters in town.

    The Town Council on Monday rejected a plan by Town Y-based Company Z to set up shop at the TOWN X Business Park after taking issue with the proposed pitch of the roof. That decision concluded two years of negotiations and reversed the Planning Boardís earlier approval.

    "The council apparently prepared some design guidelines that were part of the agreement with Company Z then neglected to give it to the Planning Board or the Planning Department," Planning Board Chairman John Doe said. "I still havenít seen them."

    The design guidelines recommend buildings be compatible with the environment, blending in instead of dominating the landscape. Also, according to the guidelines, a building should have a pitched roof instead of a flat one, and match colonial-style architecture.

    "A brick building without a predominance of glass windows," Councilor M.R. Politics explained. "The building should also have a maximum of two stories and parking was to be screened from the highway and not concentrated in one area."

    Politics said the guidelines were established several years ago by a committee whose charge it was to evaluate ideal tenants for the TOWN X Business Park.

    Outside of the meeting at Town Hall on Monday, Doe said he didnít know which guidelines the council was referring to concerning Company Z.

    Minutes later, when asked if he had seen the guidelines, the Town Planner said he had ó after the board made their recommendation.

    Councilor G. I. Joe said he would not have voted for any business to locate on land by the Nameless River.

    "Iíve argued that this is a very, very special piece of land that should not be used for substantial structures," Joe said. "We have other land in town to do that. This property should be kept in its natural space and it should be used as a recreational area."

    Joe did add, and Politics concurred, that despite their refusal, Company Z is the type of company that they would like to see come to town.

    Politics said he does not mind putting a business there, just not that building. Politics described it as a typical industrial park building.

    Doe admits that the building is not that attractive, but it is not the Planning Boardís decision to "judge attractiveness."

    "I just wish we had the guidelines because we could have worked with them before the issue went before the council," Doe said. "It was a homely building, but we tried to work with them." Doe added that it is interesting to watch the council "cry poor mouth" when the budget is discussed and then turn down a company like Company Z, who would add 100 to 150 jobs to the community and add $300,000 to the tax coffers.
    "Growth is inevitable and desirable, but destruction of community character is not. The question is not whether your part of the world is going to change. The question is how." -- Edward T. McMahon, The Conservation Fund

  12. #12

    New Hampster PB meetings

    They do go on and on. We met every week. The record was 7PM to 2AM. Then I had to drive home (1 hour). Now I'm in bliss with a 15 minute commute and a board that likes to meet once a month from 6:45 PM to no later than 9PM. Nirvana!!! No I don't miss the weekly meetings, what's the matter, you think I'm crazy?

  13. #13
    Cyburbian mike gurnee's avatar
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    Board of Appeals: only met three times last year; average time--1/2 hour. We studied appeals and variance requests while revising our zoning code, accommodated to a large degree what the board had been granting, and now they have little reason to meet.

  14. #14
    Cyburbian Jen's avatar
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    For a rural township our planning board of volunteer citizens really have their act together. We are lucky to have a P&Z Attorney as chairperson, they stick to their guns on zoning issues and are proponents of controlling growth.

    I was recently appointed to two township committees and with one(farmland pres and open space) I know the meetings are gonna zigzag all over the place and last until everyone is talked out. Some nights I gotta pay a babysitter to do my civic duty so I'll do everything I can to keep the agenda moving forward!

  15. #15
         
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    After missing a quorum one month, my planning commission had a double-header the next month. Eleven hours of fun, fun, fun.

  16. #16
    My former employer (New Berlin, WI) has notoriously long meetings. A public hearing on a power plant went until 4:00 AM last year, and it is not uncommon for 5-6 hour PC meetings. When I worked there, rarely did I leave a meeting before midnight.
    "I'm a white male, age 18 to 49. Everyone listens to me, no matter how dumb my suggestions are."

    - Homer Simpson

  17. #17
         
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    Our PC meetings usually run from 7-11/11:30, and that's for your everyday special exceptions and development plans (I'm not even sure why they review the by-right development plans - holdover from the good ol' days, or something). If a really hot topic comes up, the meeting will run longer. Sometimes they hold a "pre-PC" meeting that staff is to attend to as well.

    With a hour commute home these nights and the following days (thank God themeetings are on Thursdays) are rough.

    I think a time limit such as that mentioned by someone else in this forum (10:30pm) that the meetingwill adjourn by, could really help. Many times these commissioners just go on and on, enjoying hearing themselves speak, unfortunately at our expense. Many of these commissioners don't work so they can't appreciate our having already put in a 9 hour day BEFORE the meeting even begins.

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