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Thread: Council Oversight of Plan Commission Decisions

  1. #1

    Council Oversight of Plan Commission Decisions

    I read this article this morning about a veto of a Common Council that wanted the power to override Plan Commission decisions.

    As a planner I think that a Common Council having override power is terrible. The Common Councils typically have a say in things like Comp. Plans, Zoning Ordinances, PUD's, etc. It seems to me that if they want better development (this particular City already has some of the best looking developments in the state because of their high standards) the Council should enact tougher design standards for the Plan Commission to follow. Allowing Council members to have the final say is poor planning because their decisions will likely be based on what is best for their political career and not what is best for the City.

    What do others think?

  2. #2
    Forums Administrator & Gallery Moderator NHPlanner's avatar
    Apr 1996
    New Hampshire
    In NH it's cut and dried.....Councils have authority over zoning and CIP (with PB input of course), Planning Boards have authority over Master Plans, Subdivisions, and site plans. Straight from the statutes, can't do it any other way, as we're not a home rule state.
    "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

  3. #3
    Cyburbian nerudite's avatar
    Aug 2001
    I totally agree with you. Councils should adopt the standards and leave them to a Planning Commission or Administration to implement. Having veto power would make every planning issue a political one (well, more so than they already are) and would defeat the purpose of an impartial review by a planning professional or planning board.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian Emeritus Chet's avatar
    Aug 2001
    South Milwaukee
    My opinion falls in line with the rest so far. There is a movement afoot in my City to have Conditional Uses have their public hearing and decision at the Plan Commission, with Council either affirming or overturning those cases. I'm inclined to agree on that one, as our Plan Commission can get squirrley from time to time.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian donk's avatar
    Sep 2001
    skating on thin ice
    I'll echo everyone else's comments.

    Here Council's have the final say on plan amendments, rezoning's and approving plans of subdivision that create new public streets.

    The Commission/PAC, as the case may be, approves variances and recomends to council items related to those mentioned above.

    Staff, approves plans of subdivions, that don't create new streets and issues permits and makes recomendations to those above.

    i'd hate to see, and council here has tried, to be able to veto staff and the commission's discretionary powers.
    Too lazy to beat myself up for being to lazy to beat myself up for being too lazy to... well you get the point....

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