Planning Commission OKs Change to Bylaws

Revisions to the bylaws of the Ann Arbor planning commission were adopted by commissioners at their Feb. 20, 2014 meeting. The changes relate to two issues: how city councilmembers interact with the commission, and public hearings. [.pdf of staff memo and proposed revisions at start of Feb. 20 meeting]

Commissioners had debated the proposed revisions at a Feb. 4, 2014 working session. Some of the same issues were raised during the Feb. 20 discussion, which was relatively brief.

One revision clarifies the limitations on a city councilmember’s interaction with the commission. The revised section states:

Section 9. A member of the City Council shall not be heard before the Commission during the Councilmember’s term in office.

Other revisions affect speaking turns at public hearings. The intent is to clarify how many turns the same person can speak at a public hearing, and how public hearings are continued.

The revisions would clarify a process that was debated by commissioners on Oct. 15, 2013, during the middle of a public hearing on downtown zoning changes. A proposed revision related to this issue in the bylaws was brought forward by commissioner Jeremy Peters on Nov. 6, 2013, but no vote was taken.

The revised bylaws for public hearings that were approved on Feb. 20 state:

Section 3. An individual wishing to address the Planning Commission during a public hearings may speak for up to three (3) minutes in total. The first person identifying him/herself as the petitioner, or as a person representing the petitioner, or representing an organized neighborhood group registered with the City of Ann Arbor, may speak for five (5) minutes in total. Subsequent speakers identifying themselves as the petitioner, or as a person representing the petitioner or representing an organized neighborhood group, may speak for three (3) minutes in total.

Section 5. At the discretion of the Chair, or by vote of a majority of the members present, public hearings may be continued to another meeting, but will not be deemed to be a new hearing but a continuation of the original.

Section 6. The commission may, by majority vote, modify or waive the limitations made within sections 3-5.

Any changes to the bylaws are subject to review and approval by the Ann Arbor city council.

This brief was filed from the second-floor council chambers at city hall, 301 E. Huron. A more detailed report will follow: [link]