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Thread: Statement of conduct for a public meeting

  1. #1
    Cyburbian rcgplanner's avatar
    Aug 2007
    Back in SE Texas

    Statement of conduct for a public meeting


    So my director has asked me to create a 'Statement of Conduct' for public meetings (PC and BZA). Do any communities have a Statement of Conduct they use for public meetings, i.e. something the chair can read at the start of the meeting to help keep the meeting on track and spell out the rules for the public (no cell phones, address the chair in your comments, etc.)? If so, I would love to see examples of this. Thanks and Happy Friday!

  2. #2
    Aug 2007
    We have a script for the Planning Commission Chair. Our rules aren't too tough - it's rare for many people to show up, and we haven't had many cell phone problems. The same general script is used for Special Use Permits and Board of Zoning Appeals cases.

    Planning Commission
    Zoning Amendment Hearing Script

    • The Kansas Supreme Court has defined rezoning as a quasi-judicial function. To protect the rights of all parties involved and in order to create an opportunity for everyone to speak their opinions in an orderly fashion, the Hutchinson Planning Commission follows a specific fact finding procedure which is posted for your convenience. Your attention to this procedure is appreciated.

    • We would like to formally open the hearing regarding case number (insert case number and information from agenda). Have any Planning Commissioners had any outside contacts regarding this case? If so, please indicated who you have spoken with and explain the nature of the conversation.

    • Do any Planning Commissioners have a conflict of interest in this case?

    • Is the applicant or his/her agent in attendance? Please step forward and state your name. You have ten minutes to present your case. Planning Commission members may request clarification at the end of your presentation.

    • We will now hear the staff report.

    • Is there anyone in the audience who would like to comment on this case? You may have five minutes to comment. Please clearly state your name and address before commenting.

    • Does the applicant wish to rebut any statements made?

    • Does anyone in the audience wish to rebut any statements made?

    • Does the Commission have any further questions of the applicant or staff?

    • The public hearing is now closed. Acceptance of a rezoning request must be based on the following factors: 1) Character of the neighborhood, 2) Zoning and uses of nearby parcels, 3) Suitability of parcel for proposed development, 4) Detrimental effects on nearby parcels, 5) Length of time of vacancy, 6) Hardship if application is denied, 7) Conformity with the Comprehensive Plan, 8) Adequacy of current facilities, 9) Additional information. The Chair will entertain a motion on this case.

    • A motion to (repeat motion) with the following conditions (repeat conditions) based on (repeat factors) has been made and seconded. Is there any discussion?

    • Staff, please call the roll. Motion (carries or fails).

  3. #3
    Forums Administrator & Gallery Moderator NHPlanner's avatar
    Apr 1996
    New Hampshire
    In my previous job, I wrote up a handbook for the ZBA. The "conduct" portion read as follows:

    Order of the Hearing:
    1. The Chair opens the public hearing.
    2. The Petitioner presents the argument for his/her request and introduces any pertinent information or evidence.
    3. The floor is opened for public comment, first from those in support of the request, then from those opposed.
    4. he Chair asks the City Planner for the staff recommendation.
    5. The Chair offers the petitioner a chance for rebuttal to any testimony that was made in opposition to the request.
    6. The Chair closes the public hearing.
    7. The Board discusses the case.
    8. A Board member will make a motion, which must be seconded by another member of the Board. An affirmative vote of three members is required to pass any motion.
    9. The process concludes with an open vote recorded for public record by the Secretary.

    Rules and Tips for Speaking Before the Board:
    • When the Chair opens the floor to public hearing, raise your hand if you have a comment to express to the Board.
    • State your name, address, and, if applicable, who you are representing.
    • Walk to the table in front of the chamber and speak loud enough so that you are clearly heard throughout the chamber.
    • Address the Board at all times, not the applicant, public, or the City Planner.
    • Try not to repeat previous testimony. Simply state that you agree or disagree with the preceding speaker.
    • Be factual. Rely on personal experience and not hearsay.
    • Please refrain from making personal attacks.
    • Try to limit your remarks to 3 to 5 minutes.
    • Respect all speakers regardless of whether or not you agree with them.
    • Simply say “thank you” when you are done with your comments or presentation.
    • Jeering, boo’s, and applause will likely only work against your position.
    "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

  4. #4
    Dec 2008
    the delta

    The Board of Adjustment is a quasi-judicial board created by the City of Marshalltown. The board’s purpose is to decide on applications for variances from the Zoning Ordinance, Appeals of decisions of the zoning official, and applications for Special Use Permits and for Exceptions requested under the Zoning Ordinance.

    As a Board of the City, we welcome all testimony. We make our decisions based on the facts and evidence allowed under city code, presented in open meeting. Testimony before the board must be given under oath or affirmation. If the proceedings become lengthy, we may ask that testimony be focused on new facts or evidence not already presented. We ask that if you wish to speak, please come to the microphone and announce your name and address so your testimony can be duly recorded. Please address your remarks to the board only.

    We are an independent volunteer board of citizens and not part of the city administration. We are served in our efforts by a City Attorney, staff members from the Housing and Zoning department, and from the City Clerk’s office.

    The order of proceedings for each application will be: an oral statement summarizing the application from the applicant presenting any appropriate testimony and evidence, an oral summary of the issues and procedural steps presented by the staff, followed by an address by any audience member. The board will then give the applicant and the city staff an opportunity to present final summaries and arguments. Finally, the board will discuss the issues and evidence leading to a decision.

    The concurring vote of three members of the Board is required to reach a decision, regardless of how many Board members are present. In the event that a full Board is not present the applicant may request that their application be tabled until a full Board can be present.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian Planning Fool's avatar
    Jun 2005
    Northern, VA

    The Planning Commission

    Conduct of Public Hearings
    The Planning Commission establishes its own rules for the conduct of public hearings to ensure a smooth and orderly process. The public hearing procedures and policies adopted by the Planning Commission are listed below for your convenience.
    All persons planning to testify should sit in the front several rows of the Board Auditorium to help expedite the public hearing process.

    When called upon to speak, or as an unlisted speaker approaching the Commission after all of the scheduled speakers have spoken, you must be recognized by the Chairman, and you must state your name and address for the public record. Our Planning Commission Office staff needs to clearly understand this information to accurately note your testimony in the public record.

    Please remember that all presentations are timed. A light on the podium will illuminate green at the beginning of each speaker's testimony. A buzzer will sound and the red light will indicate that your allotted time has expired. All speakers exceeding the time limit will be asked by the Chairman to immediately conclude their remarks. If you do not finish your presentation, be sure to provide a copy of your statement to the Planning Commission Office as soon as possible. The entire presentation will then be entered as part of the public record.

    In order to minimize repetitive testimony, organizations are encouraged to have only one person speak for the group, with other members of the organization standing to show their support.

    Each person may testify only once per application, unless called back to the podium at the request of a Commission member.

    The Board Auditorium is equipped with a variety of audio-visual equipment you may use to assist your presentations. Materials, such as slides, maps, graphs, blueprints, and videos can be presented simultaneously to both the Commission and the audience. If you need to use any of the audio-visual equipment, please contact the Planning Commission Office no later than 3:00 p.m. on the scheduled public hearing date.

    Time Limits for Speakers
    3 Minutes • Unregistered Speakers: All persons who are not listed on the Speakers List will be allowed to address the Commission after the pre-registered list is completed. They will be allotted three minutes.
    5 Minutes • Registered Individuals: All persons who are appearing on their own behalf or on behalf of a business shall be allotted five minutes to address the Commission.

    10 Minutes • Registered Associations: A representative of a civic, citizens or homeowners' association; a business or professional association; or similar organization shall be entitled to a ten minute presentation in front of the Commission. Other members of the same group may register as individuals, and speak as individuals, on the Speakers List.

    Public Hearing Procedures for Applications
    The following is an outline of the public hearing procedures followed by the Commission when a land use application is presented. The items are listed in the order in which they usually occur.

    The Chairman will call for the public hearing by naming the specific case and the application by its proper name. At this time, the Chairman will ask the applicant, or the authorized agent for the application, to reaffirm that the affidavit is correct and accurate as of the hearing date. The Chairman will then recognize any members of the Commission who need to make disclosures based on the information contained in the affidavit.

    After the affidavit is confirmed and all required disclosures have been made, the Chairman will ask the County Planning Staff to present the case. The staff coordinator will describe the property, comment on the application, and present the staff's recommendation.

    The Chairman will then allow the applicant, or authorized agent, to make his\her presentation. The time limit for the applicant's presentation is normally ten (10) minutes; however, the Chairman may allow up to fifteen minutes (15) for complex cases.

    After reviewing the public hearing procedures, the Chairman will call for citizen testimony. Persons will be recognized in the order in which their names appear on the Speakers List. After all names on the Speakers List have been called, the Chairman will recognize any additional speakers in the audience wishing to testify. Remember, you can submit a written statement to the Planning Commission Staff if you do not want to speak directly to the Commission. All written correspondence is entered into the public record for each application.

    Following the completion of the citizen testimony, the applicant will have the opportunity to respond to questions and/or issues raised by the Commission and/or citizens. The time limit for the applicant's rebuttal testimony is normally five minutes.

    After the applicant's rebuttal, the Chairman will recognize the staff coordinator for closing comments and/or responses to questions. In addition to the closing remarks from staff, Commission members will be recognized for their questions, concerns, or comments on this application.

    Following all comments, the Commissioner handling the application will offer a motion for Commission action.

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