Online Public Hearings Resource Guide

Planning Commissioners Journal provides a valuable Online Public Hearings Resource Guide free to the public. Click the headings below. Order a larger article on this subject here.

1. Consider Conducting Preliminary Project Reviews
2. Hold a Meeting in the Neighborhood
3. Have a Plan for Citizen Participation
4. Conduct a Site Visit
5. Make Your Meeting Noticeable
6. Review the Agenda
7. Make Your Introductions Count
8. Stay on Target
9. Have Visible Information
10. Allocate Time to Foster Useful Input
11. Stay Cool: Recesses, Continuances, and Multi-Session Hearings
12. Show Respect

See also:

Best Practices Committee with Final Recommendations
“Meeting chairs should welcome public attendees, orient them to both the agenda and committee rules/practices, and make meetings as interactive as reasonably possible…

Video: Ordinance Committee Discusses Public Comment Periods (10/15/10)
Maureen Carney, Ward 1 City Councilor: “The concerns that I’ve heard from our colleagues (councilors) is that when it gets to be 11 o’clock, it’s really hard to be conducting business…and this is important business that we have to deal with at 11 o’clock at night. Typically, ordinance changes and language…and I think it’s probably more appropriate for us to switch, and put the public comment at the, you know, I mean possibly putting public comment at the end of the meeting… What that would do is it would allow us to take care of serious business and then, you know…I’m not saying that people…what I’m saying is that we’d be able then to sit and listen to public comment at 10…it’s more inconvenient, obviously, for the public.”

Ken MItchell, Videographer: [speaking behind the camera] “…David’s suggestion is saying, that when there’s an issue that comes up, you can have public comment before that issue… What you’re going to do is get one person [who will] bring an issue up, and everyone else who was going to bring that issue up at least sees that it’s addressed [potentially saving time]. And the biggest problem is that these things don’t get addressed because people talk in public comment, two hours later you start deliberating on an issue, most councilors have an idea what they’re going to vote for or what they’re going to say and these people are ignored and people feel like they are not being represented.”

Wall Street Journal: “How Group Decisions End Up Wrong-Footed” (4/27/09)
For committees and other boards to work well, they must be made up of people with differing perspectives and experience who are unafraid to speak their minds, says Richard Larrick, a psychologist at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business. They must also select and process information effectively and seek to learn systematically from their mistakes.

Seeing Like a State: Planning Gone Awry in the 20th Century
What is perhaps most striking about high-modernist schemes, despite their quite genuine egalitarian and often socialist impulses, is how little confidence they repose in the skills, intelligence, and experience of ordinary people…