530-01
PLANNING COMMISSION

Department: Community Development/Planning

Effective Date:    2/13/89

Supersedes:    

Staff Contact:    L. Springer

Approved by:    Earl Clymer

1.0 PURPOSE:

To establish the procedures for the Planning Commission's meetings, for the commission's proposal review process, and for the development of an annual work program.

2.0 ORGANIZATIONS AFFECTED:

Planning Commission and Planning Division.

3.0 REFERENCES:

Title II, Chapter 2, City Planning Commission RMC 2-10

Title IV, Chapter 14, Comprehensive Plan RMC 4-9-020

4.0 POLICY:

4.1    In the normal course of business, each commissioner shall at all times be open minded, objective, impartial, and make no judgment or engage in any partisan position until all the evidence pertaining to an issue has been submitted to the commission at a regular public meeting.

4.2    Each year the Planning Commission shall hold two joint meetings with the City Council and the Mayor to discuss the annual work program and other topics of mutual interest. At the January joint meeting the two bodies will discuss progress on the previous year's work program, after which the Council will formally assign the new year's work program.

4.3    From time to time the Planning Division receives proposals for new projects to be included in the Planning Commission's work program. Requests for code revisions and citizen-initiated comprehensive plan amendments are typical examples. The City Council can amend the commission's work program at any time; however, prior to any such adjustments to the work program the Council will ask for advice and comment from the commission concerning the merits of the proposal and the priority of the proposal in current or future work programs. All activities of the Planning Division which would lead to proposals for Planning Commission review should be incorporated in the division's annual work program. Thus, any citizen requests for review of and/or changes to the Comprehensive Plan shall be forwarded to the City Council and the Mayor with a recommendation from the Planning Commission to be considered for inclusion in the current work program.

4.4    The planning manager shall compile an official file containing all information and material relevant to a proposal and to the City's consideration of a proposal. The official file is a public record: it is available for inspection and copying in the Planning Division office during regular business hours.

4.5    Records of all official commission proceedings shall be kept by the Planning Division and shall be open to public inspection as provided by law.

4.6    Public Hearing Overview

4.6.1    The City Council and Mayor have designated the Planning Commission to function as the public hearing body for many planning-related activities of the city. The Council may, at its discretion, retain this function for any specific project, proposal or plan.

4.6.2    The Planning Commission shall hold one or more public hearings on proposals to adopt or amend the various plans and ordinances discussed in Title II Ch. 2-207(D). The objective is for the Planning Commission to make recommendations for mayoral and council action to approve or disapprove the original or amended proposal.

4.6.3    The planning manager shall be responsible for providing public notice for each public meeting; such notice shall comply with all legal requirements and all City policy. This notice may include postings, news releases, public service announcements on the public access channel and mailings as deemed appropriate by the planning manager.

4.6.4    The Planning Commission shall make a complete electronic sound recording of each hearing on a proposal.

4.6.5    In instances where a commissioner has been absent from one or more public hearings in which a specific proposal was considered, that commissioner may, in the record, vote on that proposal at a subsequent meeting provided he or she has reviewed a tape transcript of all missed public hearings on the proposal and has declared the same prior to taking the vote.

5.0 DEFINITIONS:

NA.

6.0 PROCEDURES:

6.1    Meetings

6.1.1    Normal meeting dates shall be the second and fourth Wednesdays of each month. Should a regular meeting day be a legal holiday, or if City Hall is closed for any reason, the scheduled meeting shall be postponed to the next Wednesday, unless a majority of the commission votes to select another day.

6.1.2    Special meetings may be called by the chair (or the vice-chair in the chair's absence) or a majority of the commission. Members shall be individually notified at least three (3) days prior to any special meeting.

6.1.3    A majority of the members of the commission shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business. Any action taken by a quorum shall be on behalf of the whole commission. In any case, no action shall be taken by the commission unless at least three members vote to take such action.

6.1.4    The commission shall adopt rules for transaction of business. Unless otherwise indicated, "Robert's Rules of Order" as amended shall be used.

6.1.5    The Mayor's office shall assign a proper place of meeting in which the commission may transact business. All meetings of the commission shall be open to the public pursuant to the Open Public Meeting Act of 1971.

6.2    Work Program

6.2.1    Each year in May or June, as a part of the City's budgeting process, the Planning Division shall prepare draft coordinated work programs for the division and the Planning Commission. The work programs shall include prioritized programs and projects, preliminary timelines, and commission action or points of involvement in the projects.

6.2.2    Upon adoption of the City's annual budget, the City Council and Mayor shall convene a joint meeting with the Planning Commission to formally assign the next year's work programs for the commission and the Planning Division. At this meeting the Planning Commission shall present to the City Council and Mayor, in writing, the annual report which shall contain the following information:

a.    A comparison of the adopted annual work program objectives and activities with the actual or anticipated accomplishments.

b.    The extent to which unforeseen problems and opportunities have occurred.

c.    Recommendations concerning work program priority for pending projects. Pending projects should be described and defined in enough detail to allow appropriate prioritization.

6.2.3    The commission shall review these draft coordinated work programs and make formal recommendations to the Council and the Mayor at a second joint meeting in July of each year.

6.2.4    The Council shall adopt and assign the commission's work program and shall determine the activities of the commission for the year. Commission involvement in activities not included in the work program must be approved by the City Council and the Mayor.

6.2.5    Specific projects carried out by the Planning Division for the City Council or the Mayor's office need not be reviewed by the Planning Commission if those projects are not included in the commission's work program.

6.3    Planning Commission Review Process

6.3.1    New Projects: The commission will review new project descriptions as prepared by staff and provide advice and comment. The project descriptions will be used to prioritize new projects for inclusion in the current work program or future work programs.

6.3.2    Initiation of Proposals: At the time of specific project initiation, the Planning Division shall prepare a detailed problem statement, specific timelines, work products, and an outline of the process. The Planning Commission shall review the above and provide advice and comment to the Mayor's office. The Mayor, with additional advice and comment from the City Council when appropriate, will formally initiate work projects.

6.3.3    Staff Work: The Planning Division shall do background research, collect data, do analysis, prepare draft work products, and circulate these draft products for review by staff, interest groups and other agencies. The Planning Division shall then prepare a hearing draft and staff report containing the following:

a.    An analysis of the proposal including a problem statement, a discussion of the issues involved, and supporting information and data.

b.    Alternatives.

c.    Staff recommendations on the hearing draft.

6.3.4    Compliance with SEPA: The Planning Division shall evaluate each proposal to ensure compliance with the State Environmental Policies Act (SEPA) and with state regulations and city ordinances issued under authority of SEPA prior to commission action. The Planning Division shall then transmit the official file to the commission.

6.3.5    Planning Commission Work Sessions: The commission may decide to conduct work sessions where staff will present the problem statement, identify issues and introduce alternatives prior to a public hearing to educate and inform the Planning Commission on a proposal.

6.3.6    Notice: Notice for each public hearing shall contain the following information:

a.    A statement of what areas, zones or locations will be directly affected or changed by the proposal.

b.    An explanation of any land use provisions that would be changed by the proposal.

c.    The time and place of the public hearing.

d.    A statement of the availability of the official file.

e.    A statement regarding the right of any person to submit written comments to the Planning Commission and to appear at the public hearing before the Planning Commission to give comments orally.

6.3.7    Public Hearing Participation: Any interested party may participate in the public hearing in either or both of the following ways:

a.    By delivering written comments for the Planning Commission to the Planning Division prior to the hearing.

b.    By appearing at the hearing, either in person or through a representative, and making oral comments. The Planning Commission may reasonably limit the extent of the oral comments to facilitate the orderly and timely conduct of the hearing.

6.3.8    Public Hearing Procedure

a.    The Planning Commission opens the public meeting.

b.    Planning Division staff presents the hearing draft and alternatives at the public hearing.

c.    The Planning Commission opens the public testimony portion of the hearing and solicits public input on the proposal.

d.    Planning Division staff makes the final recommendation.

e.    The Planning Commission closes the public testimony portion of the public hearing.

f.    The Planning Commission discusses public testimony and deliberates on the proposal.

g.    Based upon public testimony, the commission may direct staff to provide additional information and/or alternatives as well as write additional reports.

h.    The commission may, for any reason, continue the hearing on the proposal.

i.    The commission may schedule additional public hearings if the proposal alternatives are substantially modified.

j.    The Planning Commission approves motions for (1) amendments to the hearing draft, (2) findings of fact, and (3) recommendations to the City Council for action or no action. The recommendations related to the hearing draft shall be based on the following:

·    staff recommendations;

·    additional information;

·    public testimony;

·    consistency with overall land use policies of the City;

·    broad interests of the community.

6.3.9    Report to City Council

a.    With staff support from the planning manager, the Planning Commission prepares a report on the proposal. The report shall contain the hearing draft of the proposal as approved or amended by the commission, any explanatory information, the Planning Commission's findings of fact and their recommendations.

b.    The Planning Commission reviews and approves the report to the City Council and Mayor. The commission chairman shall direct staff to transmit the Planning Commission's report to the Mayor and City Council members.

c.    Formal presentation and support of the commission's recommendations, as well as alternative recommendations from the Mayor's office (if any), shall be given to City Council by planning staff.