Chapter 2.35


2.35.010    Created – Purpose.

2.35.020    Membership.

2.35.030    Meetings – Rules.

2.35.040    Staff support.

2.35.050    Compensation.

2.35.060    Duties and responsibilities.

2.35.010 Created – Purpose.

There is created the Planning Commission. The purpose of the Planning Commission is to provide guidance and direction for Maple Valley’s future growth through continued review and improvement to the City’s comprehensive land use plan, zoning code, shoreline management, environmental protection and related land use documents. (Ord. O-97-15 § 1).

2.35.020 Membership.

A. Qualifications. Members of the Planning Commission shall be selected from individuals who have an interest in environmental affairs, planning, land use, and residential and commercial development as evidenced by training, experience or actions. An intent of the selection process shall be to evenly represent the areas of interest as stated herein. Membership in the Planning Commission shall be limited to residents, business owners, or owners of property within the City.

B. Number of Members/Terms. In order to provide for continuity of membership, all seven Commission members shall be assigned a position number. Odd-numbered positions shall expire December 31, 2022. Even-numbered positions shall expire December 31, 2024. All subsequent terms for all positions shall be four years. Planning Commission alternate(s) shall be appointed two-year terms expiring on December 31st of the year of expiration, except as set forth in subsection (F) of this section. No more than one member of the seven-member Commission shall be represented by a business owner whose principal place of business is within the City limits, who is licensed by the State of Washington, who holds business licenses, if applicable, issued by the City, and who does not own real estate nor reside in the City.

C. Appointment. Members of the Planning Commission shall be appointed or re-appointed by the Mayor, subsequent to an open recruitment process approved by the City Council. Appointments shall be confirmed by a majority vote of the City Council.

1. Commissioners shall be selected without respect to political affiliations and shall serve without compensation.

2. Consideration will be given toward maintaining an equitable balance of community representation.

3. Multiple members from the same family or household shall not be appointed to the Planning Commission in order to avoid the reality or appearance of improper influence or favoritism.

4. Members of Council Members’ families or households shall not be appointed to the Planning Commission in order to avoid the appearance of favoritism and to increase community representation.

D. Planning Commission Alternate(s).

1. The Planning Commissioner Alternate(s) shall be designated Alternate One and Alternate Two. Planning Commissioner Alternate One shall be the senior alternate and shall be designated as the voting alternate in all instances, except when both are necessary and both alternates shall be entitled to vote, or in the absence of Alternate One, in which event Alternate Two shall be the voting alternate.

2. An Alternate member shall be entitled to vote when a quorum of regular membership is not met.

E. Removal. A Planning Commissioner or Planning Commissioner Alternate may be removed by the Mayor, with the concurrence of the City Council, for neglect of duty, conflict of interest, malfeasance in office, or other just cause, or for unexcused absences from more than three consecutive regular meetings. Failure of a Planning Commissioner or Planning Commissioner Alternate to either reside in, own property in, or be a business owner in the City shall constitute a forfeiture of office. The decision of the City Council regarding membership on the Planning Commission shall be final and there shall be no appeal therefrom. A Planning Commissioner or Planning Commissioner Alternate unable to attend regular meetings is expected to tender his/her resignation. A Planning Commissioner who has not attended three consecutive Planning Commission meetings and whose absences have been excused may seek a temporary absence from his/her duties due to unique circumstances as set forth in subsection (G) of this section.

F. Vacancies. Except as set forth in subsection (G) of this section, any Commissioner vacancy occurring other than through the expiration of term shall be filled for the unexpired term by a Planning Commissioner Alternate. When the Planning Commissioner Alternate One position is vacated, the Planning Commissioner Alternate Two will move to the Planning Commissioner Alternate One position and will fill the next vacancy that occurs on the Commission other than through term expiration. If no Planning Commissioner Alternate is available to fill a vacant position, the position(s) shall be filled for the unexpired term(s) in the same manner as for appointment as provided in subsections (B) and (C) of this section, as relevant. If a Planning Commissioner Alternate is appointed to fill a position vacancy, a new Planning Commissioner Alternate(s) shall be selected as provided through subsection (C) of this section.

G. Temporary Absence. If a Planning Commissioner has more than three excused absences, or knows that he/she will be absent from regularly scheduled Planning Commission meetings for three or more consecutive meetings due to unique circumstance such as a medical necessity, the member may offer his/her resignation or may request a temporary absence. If a temporary absence is requested, the term of absence shall be four months. The absent Commissioner’s position will be filled by the Planning Commission Alternate One member. At the next regularly scheduled City Council meeting, notification will be provided regarding the temporary absence. If, at the end of the temporary absence, the Planning Commissioner is unable to return to the Planning Commission, the Commissioner’s position will be forfeit and the Planning Commission Alternate One member will be appointed to fill the remainder of the Commissioner’s term.

H. Conflicts of Interest. Members of the Planning Commission shall fully comply with Chapter 42.23 RCW, Code of Ethics for Municipal Officers, Chapter 42.36 RCW, Appearance of Fairness, and such other rules and regulations as may be adopted from time to time by the City Council regulating the conduct of any person holding appointive office within the City. (Ord. O-20-689 § 1; Ord. O-15-583 § 1; Ord. O-09-385 § 1; Ord. O-08-358 §§ 1, 2; Ord. O-06-329 §§ 1, 2; Ord. O-06-322 §§ 1, 2; Ord. O-99-105 § 1; Ord. O-99-80 § 1; Ord. O-97-15 § 2).

2.35.030 Meetings – Rules.

A. The Planning Commission shall organize and elect from its members a Chair, who shall preside at all meetings of the Commission, and a Vice-Chair. The positions of Chair and Vice-Chair shall only be filled by regular members. A majority of the voting Commission members shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business, and a majority vote of those present shall be necessary to carry any proposition.

B. The Commission shall determine if the Planning Commissioner Alternate(s) are needed to fill a vacancy to establish a quorum prior to the meeting being called to order, except for quasi-judicial hearings when Alternates can be chosen to fill a vacancy during the scheduled meeting. In all other instances, Alternates shall not fill vacancies that occur after the meeting has been called to order.

C. The Commission shall determine a regular meeting schedule (time, place and frequency), as necessary, but no less frequent than once every two months. All meetings shall be open to the public.

D. The Commission shall adopt such rules and regulations as are necessary for the conduct of its business and shall keep a taped record of its proceedings and such written notes as the Commission may from time to time direct. The taped record and any written notes shall be a public record. (Ord. O-15-583 § 2; Ord. O-08-358 § 3; Ord. O-97-15 § 3).

2.35.040 Staff support.

Administrative staff support to the Planning Commission shall be provided by the City Manager or designee. (Ord. O-97-15 § 4).

2.35.050 Compensation.

The members of the Planning Commission shall serve without compensation, but necessary expenses of the Commission actually incurred shall be paid from appropriate City funds. (Ord. O-99-80 § 3; Ord. O-97-15 § 5).

2.35.060 Duties and responsibilities.

A. Except as set forth in subsection (J) of this section, the Planning Commission shall review updates and amendments to the Comprehensive Plan, and amendments to or proposals for development regulations in compliance with Chapter 36.70A RCW and MVMC 18.110.050. This includes establishing procedures providing for early and continuous public participation in the development and amendment of the comprehensive land use plan for the City and the development regulations implementing the plan, and making recommendations concerning these matters to the City Council.

B. The Planning Commission shall review land use management, shoreline management and environmental protection ordinances and regulations of the City and make recommendations regarding them to the City Council.

C. The Planning Commission may review potential annexations, potential land uses and pre-annexation zoning as requested by the City Council, and make recommendations concerning them.

D. Where design review is required by land use ordinances of the City, the Planning Commission shall perform such design review unless that review is delegated to some other appointed body or City staff.

E. The Planning Commission shall recommend, establish priorities for, and review studies of geographic subareas in the City.

F. The Planning Commission shall submit written periodic reports annually to the City Council setting forth its progress in completing its work program for the current fiscal year.

G. The Planning Commission shall be encouraged to maintain liaisons with the planning staff of the City.

H. Subject to the requirements of subsection (J) of this section, the Planning Commission may hold public hearings in the exercise of its duties and responsibilities as it deems necessary.

I. The Planning Commission shall have such other duties and powers as may be conferred upon the Commission from time to time by ordinance, resolution or motion of the City Council.

J. Unless otherwise assigned by ordinance to another body, all public hearings required to be held in the course of adoption or amendment to the Comprehensive Plan, the zoning code adoption or amendment of the zoning map, or adoption or amendment of regulations for the subdivision of land, shoreline management and environmental protection regulations, shall be heard by the Planning Commission; provided, that:

1. The City Council may conduct the public hearing for any matters regarding a proposed zoning regulation pursuant to RCW 35A.14.340; and

2. All matters pertaining to comprehensive planning, subarea planning, development agreements, and/or development regulations will be subject to expedited review by the Planning Commission if declared to be an emergency by the Council. Expedited review means that the Planning Commission shall hold no more than one public hearing with 10 days advance notice to the public on any ordinance or proposal pertaining to the matters set forth herein. Following the close of the public hearing, the Planning Commission will consider the ordinance or proposal and vote, so that a recommendation may be forwarded to the Council the next business day following the public hearing. A public hearing before the Planning Commission on the matters set forth herein shall not be continued unless an unforeseen emergency creates the need for a continuance. A Planning Commission vote on any of the matters set forth herein that results in a tie vote by the Commission will be reported to the Council as a vote with no recommendation. The Council shall not be required to hold a separate public hearing on the matter that was the subject of a public hearing before the Planning Commission unless required by RCW 36.70A.035(2)(a), but may do so at its discretion. (Ord. O-08-368 § 1; Ord. O-08-355 § 1; Ord. O-97-15 § 6).