Commission workshop members discuss reformatting public hearings

Collegedale City Hall
(Photo by: Adam De Lisser)
Collegedale City Hall (Photo by: Adam De Lisser)

At the most recent Commission Workshop on Oct. 24, a discussion arose among the members about changing the current public hearing format process for Collegedale meetings. According to the agenda, which can be found on the City of Collegedale website, the item was brought to the discussion floor by City Manager Wayon Hines. 

Hines started off the discussion by posing a question to the other workshop members. 

“Given the last case that had lots of public input, it would be good to discuss if there’s a better way to manage, for the future, that the county allows the applicant to speak for seven minutes, the audience to speak for nine, then the applicant to rebuke or answer questions for an additional two,” Hines said, addressing the Oct. 17 commission meeting discussed in a previous Accent article.

“What is said in those 18 minutes is said, and it’s up to each party to be concise in that length of time.”

Hines also noted that those initial numbers may be too strict, and there is a possibility of allotting more time to the public hearing portion. However, the goal, he said, is to create a framework for how to handle the process. 

The members discussed the possibility of the public electing a spokesperson to represent them in the public hearing in order to avoid repetition of addressing the same issues over and over. 

Commissioner Larry Hanson asked what means of communication residents of the city have to address issues other than the public forum. Emailing the City of Collegedale website or the elected members themselves were offered as solutions. 

Hines observed during this discussion that the time frame allotted for the speaking is already longer than the stated times found in the municipal code. 

“The municipal code states that during public hearings, each speaker gets five minutes maximum, and that’s it,” Hines said. “Then each commissioner gets two to five minutes, which is something in a whole we don’t really follow, but I think decorum is very important.”

Another member proposed the idea of 15 minutes for public conversation and also receiving written questions ahead of time. 

Ultimately, the members made the decision to consider a change of format recommendation that will be presented at a later date and handled by Hines and Staff Planner Jason Allin.

The recording of this session can be found on the City of Collegedale’s YouTube channel, with the discussion about public hearings taking place between marks 16:18 and 46:44.

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