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Thread: Residency/ownership requirements for planning commissions

  1. #1
    moderator in moderation Suburb Repairman's avatar
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    Residency/ownership requirements for planning commissions

    My city is reviewing the qualifications for individuals to serve on the Planning and Zoning Commission. In particular, we are reviewing residency and property ownership requirements for membership. Our department has been asked to contact other communities regarding requirements for individuals to have lived in the city limits for a certain time period and/or own property in the city limits. We are especially interested in cities that have large rental populations and smaller (50k population) college towns.

    What does your city require for an individual to be qualified to serve on your Planning and Zoning Commission?

    "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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    Unfrozen Caveman Planner mendelman's avatar
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    For both our Zoning Board of Appeals and Plan Commission you simply have to be a resident of the Village (with no minimum residency times or ownership requirements).

    We are a med-large (76,000 pop) 2nd ring suburb of Chicago and not a college/university town.

    I would think that minimum residency times could be acceptable, but requiring property ownership could be unethical (at best) and unconstitutional (at worst). Although, you could probably be safer if a certain number/percentage of the appointees be property owners.
    I'm sorry. Is my bias showing?

    Let's not be didactic in this profession, because that is a path to disillusion and irrelevancy.

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    Cyburbian TexanOkie's avatar
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    By property ownership, you mean allowing people who do not reside in town but own property (i.e. business owners, etc.) to be in, right? Isn't there a Texas statute that requires city residency for all municipal commissions except for specialized commissions that can bring in "outsiders" who have specialized education or experience (like historians or restoriationists for historic preservation)?

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    Cyburbian Otis's avatar
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    We are a small (8,000) coastal city. A third of our homes are owner-occupied, a third are occupied by long-term renters, and a third are second homes (technically vacant). We have a small community college. We have a seven member planning commission. Commissioner qualifications are that they must be a qualified elector and reside in the city, except that up to two commissioners may be from outside the city but within the urban growth boundary. No more than two members may engage principally in the buying, selling, or developing of real estate for profit, and no more than two members may be engaged in the same type of occupation, trade, business, or profession.

    Requiring members to be property owners seems un-American. If you want to keep students from taking over the commission, limit the number of students who can be on the commission, like we do with realtors and developers, and every other trade.

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    moderator in moderation Suburb Repairman's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by TexanOkie View post
    By property ownership, you mean allowing people who do not reside in town but own property (i.e. business owners, etc.) to be in, right? Isn't there a Texas statute that requires city residency for all municipal commissions except for specialized commissions that can bring in "outsiders" who have specialized education or experience (like historians or restoriationists for historic preservation)?
    P&Z can have some folks from the ETJ, but you're right, Texas law has some comment on this.

    I feel requiring property ownership is unconstitutional and would lead to unpleasant discussions with the AG and Dept. of Justice. I could see maybe requiring a percent of the Commission to be property owners, but not the whole thing.

    "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
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    I'm in a town of 50,000 with a college population of 15,000 -- so I think my town meets both the criteria you listed.

    In order to serve on the Planning Commission here, the nominee must be a current (at time of appointment) resident of the city and must maintain residency throughout the duration of the term. There are no specific requirements about residential history. Property ownership alone does not qualify a person for a commission appointment.

  7. #7
    Cyburbian Plus Salmissra's avatar
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    Here's what my fair town has to say:

    To participate, you must be a resident of TOC for at least one year and be a registered voter in the City of TOC. This covers all boards and commissions.

    How large is TOC?
    The city is 14.71 square miles.
    What is the city's current population?
    39,200 as of January 1, 2006.

    We are not a college town/city, but are nestled between Dallas and Denton, both with multiple college campuses.
    "We do not need any other Tutankhamun's tomb with all its treasures. We need context. We need understanding. We need knowledge of historical events to tie them together. We don't know much. Of course we know a lot, but it is context that's missing, not treasures." - Werner Herzog, in Archaeology, March/April 2011

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    Cyburbian The One's avatar
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    Ahh....

    Wasn't there a supreme court case that decided a city couldn't require property ownership for elected officials....I just heard Robert H. Freilich, Esq speak about it last week in Phoenix. So if the high court said you didn't have to own property to be mayor....why would you need to own land to be an appointed planning commissioner?
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  9. #9
    moderator in moderation Suburb Repairman's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by The One View post
    Wasn't there a supreme court case that decided a city couldn't require property ownership for elected officials....I just heard Robert H. Freilich, Esq speak about it last week in Phoenix. So if the high court said you didn't have to own property to be mayor....why would you need to own land to be an appointed planning commissioner?
    Geez, I knew it was out there but couldn't remember the name.

    In the case of Quinn v. Millsap, 491 U.S. 95, the United States Supreme Court ruled that a property ownership requirement for appointed officials was unenforceable as it violated the Equal Protection Clause to the 14th Amendment to the Constitution.

    Thank god that wasn't on the AICP.

    "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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