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Thread: Is it weird that I don't do staff reports? [Temp 1]

  1. #1
    Cyburbian Seabishop's avatar
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    Is it weird that I don't do staff reports? [Temp 1]

    Is it weird that I don't do staff reports?

    Other planners I know spend a lot of time preparing lengthy staff reports for planning or zoning board meetings. I just show up and say what I need to say, and our zoning officer does the same at the zoning board. Planners in this town have never done written summaries of every plan.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    We did staff recommendations, until a development was denied by the planning commission almost cost a planner his job. That, and our zoning hearing board just approves everything anyways, so we realized that they did not matter in once case, and too much in the other.

    Now we just write down if they comply with our comprehensive master plan and the subdivision and land development ordinance.
    Not my monkey, not my circus. - Old Polish Proverb

  3. #3
    Every city I've worked for required staff reports for every zoning case.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian Emeritus Chet's avatar
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    Yes you're wierd.

    I have always done them.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian Plus
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    just consider yourself fortunate,
    I help write them and lucky me don't attend/present at meetings.
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    Corn Burning Fool giff57's avatar
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    The last place I worked was like that. They didn't want the paper. I just attended the meeting and told them what I thought. My comments were written into the meeting minutes and recorded. That way if something would come up later I was covered. I thought it was weird at first, but it was a small town, and learned to like it. The problem came though when I applied for a job and they wanted to see an example of my staff reports. If I had to do it over I would write them and file them even if they never wanted to see them.
    “As soon as public service ceases to be the chief business of the citizens, and they would rather serve with their money than with their persons, the State is not far from its fall”
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  7. #7
    Cyburbian
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    We always write staff reports, but it's a pretty big city and there are always new petitions coming in. It helps to keep things straight, as well as creating precedents and lots of paper trails.
    I don't dream. I plan.

  8. #8
    Moving at my own pace....... Planderella's avatar
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    I don't write staff reports anymore. Sometimes I miss the monotony of them. How many of you guys did the good ole-fashioned cut-and-paste method??
    "A witty woman is a treasure, a witty beauty is a power!"

  9. #9
    NIMBY asshatterer Plus Richmond Jake's avatar
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    Originally posted by Planderella@Sep 5 2003, 03:22 PM
    I don't write staff reports anymore. Sometimes I miss the monotony of them. How many of you guys did the good ole-fashioned cut-and-paste method??
    I write plenty of staff reports. And yes, we use cut-and-paste--why reinvent the wheel? But care must be taken so that the report is specific to the project. I've seen that mistake made plenty of times.
    RJ is the KING of . The One

  10. #10
    Cyburbian Seabishop's avatar
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    Originally posted by giff57@Sep 5 2003, 02:41 PM
    The problem came though when I applied for a job and they wanted to see an example of my staff reports. If I had to do it over I would write them and file them even if they never wanted to see them.
    Thats a good idea. I'll write reports for interesting ones here and there. Were mostly built out so most of our PB applications are very straightforward lot splits. I can't see the monotony of doing staff reports for everything - especially the zoning board's mundane fence and deck applications.

  11. #11
    We recently stopped writing reports and have replaced them with summaries that cover the relevant issues. We include a "staff summary" that resembles our "famous last paragraph" where we had the staff recommendation.

    We were a staff of three full-timers, but our Director was axed and now it's just two of us (and even minus an administrative assistant). The volume didn't go away when the Director did, and it's just the only way to maintain the paper trail.

    We usually try to get some clever repartee in our reports. Everybody else misses it, but the staff gets a kick out of it. :lol:
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  12. #12
    Cyburbian donk's avatar
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    Where I work they used to not have reports, try figuring out what happened 10 years ago is hell. I write staff reports ( I am writing one right now) for everything from variances in the area of a garage to the merit of a Plan Amendment and rezoning for a major retail development. Some are boring and totally cut and paste while others take a great deal of thought and time.
    Too lazy to beat myself up for being to lazy to beat myself up for being too lazy to... well you get the point....

  13. #13
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    Most department managers here write a summary memorandum of all items that will be included on an agenda. Plan Board is no different in this regard, however, larger projects are usually accompanied by a report from the consulting planner, and sometimes by the enginner or other staff who have reviewed them.
    Anyone want to adopt a dog?

  14. #14
    THis might be slightly OT, but anyway.

    I have worked with alot of different architecture firms, and some architects are really, really organised, necessitating Monday morning to be spent, marking everyones diary etc, etc. While that was a small 12 person, tightly run organisation - working with a 50 person architect firm i was never in one single Monday morning, diary marking session, or anything else for that matter. I don't know, i filled out timesheets, but that was about it.

    I worked for a third architect whose memory was incredibly bad, since he was a terribly nervous kind of individual. Terrible to work for actually. But I implemented my own practice of writing down everything i said, when he/i said it, in a diary. Why? Because then, if the asshole challenged me, i could do something about it. Instead of it being his word versus mine - he being the boss. Even things like making a phone call - I would have to write that down, just to prove to him, i did in fact do what he asked me to do, on the 6th Sept 2003. He never really trusted his employees to begin with - suspected them constantly of all sorts of rubbish.

    My Dad works for the government, so i guess he is more like you guys in the planning world. He has written a diary every day of his life, and is now 60+ years of age. I think his diary is submitted at the end of each year, as a requirement for his job. Alot of scribblings, and inventing was often done, but nonetheless, he has some recollection of events afterwards, years down the road to show for it.

    Now i when i handle jobs for myself as an architect, i have adopted a totally different filing system, to the one i used working for other people. (Computer filing system that is) I am a one-man operation mostly, and i file everything according to file type (Word, PowerPoint, jpeg, DWG etc) and by date (Year, month, day). So that 6 months later, i can look at every word document, powerpoint presentation, CAD drawing, digital photo etc i did for someone.

    Working for other people i always used to look on the main file server, for a particular job/client folder. This system was a nightmare to use, working for myself. As i could never distinguish later on, what work i did for a client, and when. What turning points, decisions etc were made. So that now, my current dated as oposed to job filing system, acts as a kind of record for myself. To know exactly how/when/where i dealt with a particular client/job.

  15. #15
    Cyburbian Plus Zoning Goddess's avatar
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    I'm and yes and no kind of person on this. For decades, our Board of Adjustment got verbal recommendations, but the Planning and Zoning commission and Board of County Commissioners got written reports. Then new mgmt blew in. Suddenly, we had staff reports for everything, development orders for everything, run everything past the county attorneys, and hey, all the planners are now dividing up all the boards (previously, 1 had BOA, 2 had P&Z and BCC, etc.). It became a nightmare of paperwork. There were suddenly so many chances for mistakes, all the planners had to bail. We had a lot of bright people, but nobody could deal with the sudden volume of paperwork, computer entries, etc. Suddenly instituting multiple documents (like, 30- to 40- page reports) for simple variances...

    If they had only said, let's see a 1-page summary of findings for the BOA....

  16. #16
    Cyburbian Rem's avatar
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    We handle about 5,000 development applications each year. Between 200 and 300 are reported to the Council and are accompanied by a staff report. The remainder are determined under 'delegated authority' by a planning officer.

    One of the uglier parts of my job is to check all these reports before publication in a business paper. This is a once a fortnight job and you will be able to tell when I'm doing it by how caustic my Cyburbia posts are (I hate correcting spelling and grammatical errors before even getting to the qualities of the arguments in the report).

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