Some jurisdictions have community plannning initiatives that try to get the local community involved in the planning process. A county I know of in Florida has employed growth management "agents" that do outreach work which includes informing residents of development projects that may affect their neighborhood. These programs clearly go beyond the minimum requirements of state and local laws which generally require publishing notices in the paper and sometimes sending letters to neighboring properties owners (such as in the case of a variance).
The question this brings to mind is: what responsibility should we as planners have in dealing with public participation, or lack thereof? Is it really our responsibility to encourage public participation if the public really doesn't seem to care?