Roles and Responsibilities in the Planning Process: Best Practices for Local Governments

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Roles and Responsibilities in the Planning Process: Best Practices for Local Governments




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Presentations text content in Roles and Responsibilities in the Planning Process: Best Practices for Local Governments

Slide1

Roles and Responsibilities in the Planning Process: Best Practices for Local Governments

Slide2

Organizing for a Shared Mission

Roles and Responsibilities

Agendas

Running Public Meetings and Hearings

Communication

Slide3

What is the “Shared Mission”? Serving the citizens of our community

Helping

shape

our community’ s future and honor its past

Working together to build a great

county/great city

Insert your community’s Mission Statement here

Slide4

Land Use Decisions fall into three broad categories: Legislative;Quasi-Judicial; and

Administrative

Most Planning Commissions deal only with Legislative Matters – but that is not a small or insignificant responsibility

GMA consistency requires all permit decisions to be consistent with the controls imposed through regulations, which in turn are guided by Plans

Slide5

Comprehensive Plan

Shoreline Master Plan

Development Regulations

Rezone

(Area-Wide Map Change)

Rezone

(Site-Specific Map Change)

Master Development Plan Permit

Subdivision (5 or more lots)

Building Permit

Right of way Permit

QUASI-JUDICIAL

Decisions

Substantial Development Permit

Short Plat (4 lots or less)

Home Occupation Permit

Grading Permit

Impact of public comment

Degree of discretion in making decision

ADMINISTRATIVE

Decisions

LEGISLATIVE

Decisions

MORE

LESS

TYPES OF LAND USE DECISIONS

Variance

Conditional Use Permit

The Permits

The Rules

Public hearing required

Slide6

SHARED

MISSION

Board of

County Commissioners

or City Council

elected

Policy Makers

Planning

Commission

appointed

Policy Advisors

Professional

Planning Staff

hired

Policy Administrators

PrerogativesPrerogatives

Prerogatives

Obligations

ObligationsObligations

Roles and ResponsibilitiesTHE PUBLIC

Slide7

As elected officials, they represent and are directly accountable to the governedAppoint citizens to the Planning Commission, provide policy direction regarding the work program and allocate resources to achieve it

Take final action on all

legislative

matters, including

the adoption and amendment of comprehensive plans, development regulations and capital budgets Take final action on those quasi-judicial matters that local code assigns to the legislative body

BOCC/Council Role: POLICY

MAKERS

Slide8

Planning Commission’s Role: POLICY ADVISORS

The Planning Commission is the first and primary body responsible for soliciting and hearing public input on land use matters in a community

Planning Commission members bring an important expertise to the consideration of plans and implementation – they reflect the perspective, experience, and values of their community

The Commissioners listen to the staff recommendation and public input, weigh all the evidence, pay attention to the relevant criteria, and then make a thoughtful well-considered recommendation to the BOCC/Council

Slide9

Planning Staff’s many Roles

THE GUIDE

Slide10

BOCC/Council Obligations to Planning CommissionRespect and support the Planning Commission’s Role

Appoint citizens to the Planning Commission who will commit the time and care needed to do their job right

Carefully review the recommendations from the Commission - take the time to understand the record and the Commission’s rationales

Avoid “cherry-picking” from the Commission’s record - give weight to the final outcome of their deliberations

Slide11

BOCC/Council Obligations to Planning Commission (cont’d)

Agree with the Planning Commission when you can, disagree when you must

When disagreeing with Commission, take the time to explain “why” Provide periodic two-way feedback to the planning commission - meet jointly at least annually

Provide direction, scope and priorities for the Planning Commission’s work program, but don’t dictate outcomes

Slide12

BOCC/Council Obligations to Staff

They should rely

on the staff to administer and enforce

the BOCC/Council’s

adopted policies and regulations - don’t “micro-manage” They should keep the workload priorities and schedule expectations in alignment with the resources available

They should give appropriate deference to technical judgments within the staff’s areas of expertise If unhappy with staffs’ administrative decisions or job performance, they should take the matter up privately through channels, not publicly

Slide13

Planning Commission’s ObligationsRespect and support the BOCC/Council’s roles and prerogatives

Do your homework. Read the packet of information

before the meetings If you have questions that can be clarified before the meeting, call or email the staff

Give careful consideration and weight to all the public testimony, facts, and criteria that govern a particular land use decision

Slide14

Planning Commission’s Obligations (cont’d)

Have an open mind, treat all parties with due respect, and

strive

to persuade rather than argue

At a hearing, address applicants, citizens and staff by surname or title. Informal use of first names may suggest undue influenceGive appropriate deference to technical judgments within the staff’s areas of expertise

Gracefully accept that the BOCC/Council will not always agree with the Planning Commission’s recommendations

Slide15

Planning Staff’s Obligations

Present thorough, objective analysis, reasonable alternatives, and professional recommendations based on good facts and best practices

Carry forward and explain the Planning Commission recommendation to the BOCC/Council, even if the staff did not agree with some part of it Respect and support the Commission’s policy-advising role and the

BOCC/Council policy-making prerogatives, including their prerogative to disagree with staff and Planning Commission recommendations Provide responsive, complete, and timely answers to questions

Slide16

What is essential to efficient and effective Teamwork?

Slide17

Agendas

Slide18

Slide19

Public Meetings and Hearings

Slide20

It is the chair’s role to gatekeep –to announce the agenda, manage the flow of items and comment, enforce time limits and maintain decorum As part of opening remarks, the chair should state that all pubic input will be given consideration, but it is the Commission’s job to weigh all the information, including public comment, before reaching its own conclusions The chair’s role is to also assure that all commissioners have an equal opportunity to ask questions and express opinions

Tips for Running the Public MEETING

Slide21

After the Chair declares the public hearing open, the staff should present their report, and then public input should be taken. Time limits may be placed on the length of public comment at the discretion of the chair PC members may ask questions of either the staff or those providing testimony – this should be for purposes of clarification, not argumentation Only after all information has been entered into the record should the Chair call for a motion to close the public hearing

Running a Public HEARING

Slide22

Do the homework required

Attend meetings regularly

Keep open mind, listen, weigh, persuade, be persuaded

Seek agreement but disagree agreeably

Understand and accept the advisory role

Effective Planning Commissions consist of

a few good men and women who:

Slide23

From communication comes understanding

From understanding comes respect

From respect comes trust A

failure to communicate, understand, respect, and trust . . . is the path to the DARK SIDE

Communication

Slide24

Directors report every Planning Commission agenda

Planning Commission retreat

Annual/semi-annual joint meeting

of Planning Commission with the BOCC/Council

Site tours with staff and PC

CAUTION re Public Records Act

Opportunities for Communication

Slide25

Q & A

Slide26

T: 425.263.2792 E:

joe@tovarplanning.com

540 Dayton Street, #202, Edmonds, WA 98020

www.tovarplanning.com

thank you!


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