Planning and Zoning Commission
The Planning and Zoning Commission is made up of 9 private citizens appointed by the Mayor for 3 year terms. The appointed Commissioners are not municipal employees. The Commission meets at least once a month, but usually more often.
The Planning and Zoning Commission performs two roles. The Commission is an advisory body to the Assembly on legislative planning matters such as adoption of plans, rezoning, or amending the land use laws. The Commission is the final authority on regulatory matters such as conditional use permits and site plans.
Matters before the Commission will appear on the Commission's agenda at least twice. The first time will be for Commission action and the second for approval the Commission written findings. Planning matters that do not require a public hearing will be placed on the Commission's Consent Agenda. The Commission takes action of the Consent Agenda in one vote except when a Commissioner asks for an item to be removed from the Consent Agenda. Removed items are dealt with individually.
When the Commission gets to a public hearing item, the Chair will announce the matter by referring to its agenda item number or its case number. Copies of the Commission Agenda and each public hearing item are available in the rack in Assembly Chambers Lobby at the meeting, from the Planning Department prior to the meeting and online on the Planning Department's website.
The Commission strictly limits the amount of time for anyone's testimony to one time per agenda item and to time limits. The petitioner has 10 minutes. Part of which can be saved for rebuttal. Representatives of groups have 5 minutes and individuals have 3 minutes. A timer visible from the public's podium advises of the time remaining. On completion of an individual's testimony the Commissioners may ask questions. There is no time limit imposed for Commissioner questions.
When all persons who desire to speak on the case have been heard and any rebuttal testimony has been presented, the Chair will close the public hearing and make a decision.
Motions and Voting
No matter what the issue, the starting point for the Planning and Zoning Commission will be a positive motion. One commissioner will move to approve the item and another commissioner will second the motion. The conversation will be something like:
- "Move to approve case 2003-051."
- "The item has been moved and seconded. Is there any debate?"
When debate has ceased, the Commission will vote on the motion and any amendments. The amendments will be dealt with one by one until all have been handled. Then a vote will be taken on the amended motion. To pass or approve the motion the Commission must have at least 5 positive votes.
The commissioners prefer and should not have contact with either the applicant or the general public outside the hearing itself. The Commissioners prefer that all testimony be presented at the public hearings.