The public is invited to speak to the Planning Commission during the public hearing portion of any item under discussion.
Please raise your hand or approach the podium, and after receiving recognition from the Chair, state your name and address.
Generally speaking, the order of presentation after introduction of any item by the Chair will be:
- Determination if the applicant or his/her representative is present.
- Staff report and recommendation.
- Comments by the applicant.
- Comments by interested citizens (for, against, or neutral).
- Additional comments by the applicant and/or citizens, as appropriate.
- Closing of public hearing by the Chair.
- Planning Commission discussion and action.
Applicants and citizens are requested to limit your remarks and to not repeat comments made by previous speakers. If there are numerous people in the audience who would like to speak on the issue, and all represent the same opinion, it is advised that a speaker be selected to speak for the entire group. A representative will thus have the opportunity of speaking for a reasonable length of time, and of presenting a complete case. If this arrangement cannot be made, it may be necessary for the Chair to restrict each speaker to a limited time in order that all may be heard.
The Planning & Zoning Commission will strive to adhere to standard parliamentary procedure. However, the Commission will also strive to be fair and flexible to insure that all citizens will be heard.
Please note that, in many cases (zoning changes and final plats, for example), the Planning Commission action is a recommendation to the County Commission. Those particular items on this evenings agenda will be scheduled for consideration by the County Commission in 3-4 weeks. Check with the Planning & Zoning Department next week to find out when it will be scheduled.
Should you wish to file a protest petition on any rezoning application, the protest or appeal must be submitted within 14 days after the Planning Commission public hearing. In other cases, a decision of the Planning Commission is final, unless appealed to the County Commission. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the Saline County Planning & Zoning Department, Room 104, City-County Building, (913)826-6565.
GUIDELINES FOR PUBLIC HEARINGS
Order of presentation. Before the first item, the Chair should go over the order of presentation and refer to the back of the agenda.
Questions of the applicant. Since the burden of proof is on the applicant to make their case, questions to the applicant or applicant representatives can be made through the Chair. It is advisable not to go into too much detail, though, until after other public comments are received.
- Board members are encouraged not to question citizens because it tends to drag on the proceeding. Members will have a chance after the public hearing is closed to state whether or not they agree with specific comments made by the public.
- If there are numerous people in the audience who would like to speak on the issue, and all represent the same opinion, it is advised that a speaker be selected to speak for the entire group. A representative will thus have the opportunity of speaking for a reasonable length of time, and of presenting a complete case. If this arrangement cannot be made, it may be necessary for the Chair to restrict each speaker to a limited time in order that all may be heard.
Summarization by the applicant. One representative for the applicant should always be given a chance to give a brief presentation after other public comments are heard. Comments from citizens (pro or con) that already have been given a chance to speak should not be allowed, unless the Chair determines that the citizen has additional relevant information.
Questions after the public hearing is closed. Once the public hearing is closed, questions to the applicant can be made through the Chair.
Procedure after the public hearing is closed. Discussion on a motion may not occur until after a second is made.
Findings of fact. Since decisions must stand up in district court, the findings should clarify the basis of a zoning decision and demonstrate that the board weighed the evidence relative to ordinance standards. The findings should identify the critical testimony, documents, or exhibits that the board used to reach its decision. It is not sufficient for the board to merely parrot the general statutory requirements that the proposed zoning change is compatible with surrounding uses and is in accordance with the Comprehensive Plan, or that a practical difficulty or unnecessary hardship exists -- this is not a finding, it is a conclusion. The facts which led the board to reach this conclusion must be identified.