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Thread: Rules of procedure for planning boards

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    Cyburbian hilldweller's avatar
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    Rules of procedure for planning boards

    A question for planners serving as staff to local planning boards/commissions...

    Has your board/commission adopted any rules of procedure which spell out issues such as membership/ terms of office, conduct of hearings, ethical issues, etc.? If so, are they adhered to?

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    Forums Administrator & Gallery Moderator NHPlanner's avatar
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    Here's what we have. I developed them a couple years ago, when I realized that the Board had never adopted rules of procedure, which is required by state law.
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    "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

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    Cyburbian vagaplanner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by hilldweller View post
    A question for planners serving as staff to local planning boards/commissions...

    Has your board/commission adopted any rules of procedure which spell out issues such as membership/ terms of office, conduct of hearings, ethical issues, etc.? If so, are they adhered to?
    We have a set of by-laws based largely on Roberts' Rules of Order in terms of procedure. Other guidelines such as makeup of the Board, attendance, quorum, votes, etc. can be based on State Statutes and existing municipal codes. No need to reinvent the wheel.
    ...my lifestyle determines my death style!
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    moderator in moderation Suburb Repairman's avatar
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    Commission makeup, term expiration, etc. is dictated by ordinance. The City Charter contains meeting rules for City Council and the Planning & Zoning Commission, with a stipulation that Robert's Rules are followed when not in conflict with the meeting rules listed in the Charter.

    "Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."

    - Herman Göring at the Nuremburg trials (thoughts on democracy)

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    Cyburbian btrage's avatar
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    For us, some things are dictated by state statutue. We just amended our Rule of Procedure last month to reflect how we have been conducting our public hearings. We also revised our agenda format.

    In terms of ethics, we will be creating a document this year that outlines expected behavior. This will touch on things such as ex-parte communiciation, as well as things like "try your hardest to speak into the microphone". The intent as that this document will be signed when a new member is appointed or when a current member is reappointed.

    I think having the document helps to set expectations for new members, and also serves as a reminider to long serving members who are being reappointed. It also provids a little more teeth when it comes time to have a member removed.

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    Zoning Lord Richmond Jake's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Suburb Repairman View post
    Commission makeup, term expiration, etc. is dictated by ordinance...
    Same here.

    Public hearing procedures are loosely based on Robert's Rules. Here they're called "Chairman's Rules." And because they're Chairman's Rules, they're not adhered to. AKA, he who holds the gavel makes the rules.

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    Cyburbian CDT's avatar
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    The last municipality for which I worked had Rules and Regs (which is required by state statute here) that included ethics. They were pretty good about following the rules. The city I'm at now just adopted Rules and Regs that I drafted. It did not really touch on ethics, much to my dismay. The administration didn't want to include that type of regulation.

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