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Admin / process Role of the Planning Commission


In our community the Planning Commission is composed of community minded citizens who are not necessarily familiar with the building or administrative process.

My understanding is that Planning Commission matters should not be presented to the PC by the city planning staff until they meet all administrative requirements.

The Planning Commission then hears the matter and renders a recommendation to the Mayor and Board of Aldermen.

If an item is disapproved or requires further clarification, since the PC only recommends, it seems to me that the Applicant should be able to continue his submittal to the Mayor and Board for final action.

This allows the Applicant to continue the project with a minimum of administrative delay. The Applicant also has the option of resubmittal to the PC before presentation to the Mayor and Board.

Some people may believe that the Applicant MUST get PC approval before submission to the Mayor and Board.

Your thoughts?


The communities I worked for required that the P&Z/PC/whatever you call it had to MAKE a recommendation before it moved to the Council/Board. The recommendation determined what type vote was required at Council/Board. The bylaws of the lower level group spelled out the procedures and requirements for a vote. The bylaws of the higher group spelled out whether a super majority/simple majority vote is needed to approve an item.

Lower level recommends approval - Higher board agrees with recommendation - simple majority

Lower level recommend denial - Higher board agrees with recommendation - simple majority

Lower level recommends denial - Higher board disagrees with recommendation - super majority required to approve

None of the cities I worked for required an approval vote from the lower level board. They just required a recommendation. Now, life is a lot easier for applicant and staff if the lower board recommends approval, but it wasn't required. Read your bylaws for both boards. If still confused, get with legal.


Working for a bigger city we get items at the city council that the planning commission recommend denial on all the time. Some pass. Most fail. We require a 3/4 vote of council to get approved, but we don't stop the application until it has reached the final approval body.
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