TOWN OF CHARLESTON PLANNING COMMISSION POLICIES AND PROCEDURES
- Election of Chair: The Planning Commission, at its first regular meeting of each calendar year, shall elect a Chair, who shall serve for a term of one year.
A special election may be called by a majority vote of the Planning Commission in the event that the Chair is unable to fulfill his/her appointed term.
2. Duties of the Chair: The Chair is to Preside at Planning Commission Meetings:
a. The Chair shall preside at all meetings of the Planning Commission and shall provide general direction for the meetings.
- To call the meeting to order on the day and the hour scheduled, and to proceed with the order of business.
- To announce the business before the Planning Commission in the order in which it is to be acted upon.
- To receive and submit in the proper manner, all motions and propositions presented by the members of the Planning Commission.
- To put to vote all questions which are properly moved, or necessarily arise in the course of proceedings, and to announce the results of the motions.
- To inform the Planning Commission on any point of order or practice, and in the course of discharge of this duty, the Chair shall have the right to call upon legal counsel or the Town Planner for advice.
- To authenticate by signature, or when directed by the Planning Commission, all of the acts, findings and orders, and proceedings of the Planning Commission.
- To maintain order at the meetings of the Planning Commission.
- To move the agenda along and hold down redundancy by limiting the time allowed for comments, if necessary, set guidelines for public input, and reference handouts and procedures during meetings.
- To recognize speakers, audience members, staff and members of the Planning Commission prior to receiving comments and presentation.
- Temporary Chair: In the event of the absence, or a conflict of interest of the Chair, the Chair shall appoint another Planning Commission member to serve as Chair, until the Chair returns. In such event, the temporary Chair shall have all the powers and perform the functions and duties assigned to the Chair of the Planning Commission.
- Planning Commission Secretary: The Town Clerk/Recorder shall serve as Secretary of the Planning Commission (“Secretary”).
5. Planning Commission Secretary’s Duties relating to the Planning Commission: The Secretary, or his/her designee, shall have the following duties:
- To post public notices of regular and special Planning Commission meetings, consisting of a quorum, in accordance with the noticing regulations of the zoning ordinance.
- To attend every meeting of the Planning Commission, to take and record the roll, to read any communications, resolutions, or other papers which may be ordered to be read by the Chair of the meeting, and to receive and bring to the attention of the Planning Commission all messages and other communication from other sources.
- To keep the minutes of the proceedings of the Planning Commission and to record them.
- To keep and maintain a permanent record file of all documents and papers pertaining to the Planning Commission meetings.
- To ensure members of the Planning Commission receive materials pertinent to regularly scheduled Planning Commission meetings as outlined in this Policy.
- To perform such other duties as may be required.
B. Rights and Duties of Planning Commission Members
- Meeting Attendance: Every member of the Planning Commission shall attend each session of the Planning Commission including field trips, work sessions, and formal meetings, unless unable to attend due to extenuating circumstances. Any member desiring to be excused shall notify the Secretary. The Secretary shall inform the Chair and the Planning Director, or the appointed designee of the absence.
- If a Planning Commission member misses three consecutive meetings, or six meetings in a calendar year, the Chair shall confer with the member regarding the ability, interest, and commitment of the member to continue membership on the Planning Commission.
- If the Planning Commission member continues to miss meetings, the Chair shall bring the matter to the full Planning Commission. The Planning Commission will decide upon an appropriate recommendation to the Mayor, as to whether the member shall be removed from the Planning Commission.
- Conflict of Interest: No member of the Planning Commission shall participate in or be present at the hearing or disposition of any matter in which that member has any conflict of interest. The Planning Commission may, by majority vote of the members present, allow a member, otherwise required to leave due to a conflict, to be present if required by special or unusual circumstances.
A Planning Commission member may declare a conflict of interest regarding specific agenda items. Members of the Planning Commission who feel they or any other member of the Planning Commission may have an actual, apparent, or reasonably foreseeable conflict of interest on any matter that is on the Planning Commission agenda, shall explain the apparent conflict to the Planning Commission. The Planning Commission may then vote to decide whether the requested disqualification is justified. After declaring a conflict of interest, a Planning Commission member shall not participate in, or be present at the public hearing, the discussion, and the vote of the matter, nor attempt to use influence with other members of the Planning Commission before, during, or after the meeting. The following are additional guidelines for conduct:
- There may be a conflict of interest if there are personal, familial, or financial ties between a member of the Planning Commission and proponent/opponent of any item of business.
- A member of the Planning Commission may appear before the Planning Commission through their employment as an advocate or agent for a proponent only after the Planning Commission member’s disqualification on the subject matter.
- If a Planning Commission member is to appear before the Planning Commission as an applicant or representative of an applicant and they have been disqualified on the matter, the member may make a presentation to the Planning Commission, answer questions and be present during public testimony on the matter. The Planning Commission member shall leave the meeting after the Planning Commission closes the public hearing and before the Planning Commission begins deliberating the matter.
- A Planning Commission member must not sell or offer to sell services or solicit prospective clients or employment by stating an ability to influence the Planning Commission’s decisions.
- A Planning Commission member must not use the power of office to seek or obtain a special advantage that is not in the public interest, nor any special advantage that is not a matter of public knowledge.
- A Planning Commission member shall not have any ex parte discussions regarding any business before the Planning Commission. For the purpose of the Planning Commission policy, ex parte discussions include any communication with interested parties of any issue coming before the Planning Commission, prior to the it’s final decision.
- An applicant or a member of the public may raise a question of conflict of interest, after first obtaining the Chair’s permission to speak.
- Place: All meetings of the Planning Commission shall be held in a room as determined appropriate in the Town Offices, located at 3454 West 3400 South, Charleston, Utah or at such other place as the Planning Commission or Planning Staff may designate. A meeting having been convened at the place designated, may be adjourned by the Planning Commission to any other place within the Town of Charleston for the sole purpose of investigating some particular matter of business, which may be more conveniently investigated at such other place, or may be adjourned to any other room more convenient for conducting the business of the Planning Commission, so long as proper notice of the meeting location is posted for the general public.
- Regular Meetings: The Planning Commission meeting shall be held on the fourth Thursday of each month, or such other appropriate day as determined by the Planning Commission. The public meeting shall not begin before 7:00 p.m. At the discretion of the Chair, field trips or work sessions may be held on another day as determined by the Planning Commission, at an appropriate time.
- Special Meetings: The Secretary shall give notice of the time and purpose of every special meeting of the Planning Commission at least twenty-four (24) hours prior to such meeting. Such notice shall be delivered to each member of the Planning Commission personally, or by telephone, fax, or email. Such notice may also be given through the United States Mail, directed to the member of the Planning Commission to be notified at the member’s residence and mailed not less than five (5) days prior to the time fixed for such special meeting. It is specifically provided, however, that any member may, in writing, waive prior notice of the meeting.
- Quorum: A quorum and vote of the Planning Commission shall be defined as at least three regular and/or alternate members in attendance. Any member disqualified because of a conflict of interest shall not be considered when determining whether a quorum is constituted. However, a member of the Commission abstaining from a vote shall count toward consideration of a quorum.
- Alternate Members of the Planning Commission: Alternate members of the Planning Commission shall have the same rights and duties of regular members, except that they shall not make motions, second motions or vote on agenda items when all regular members are present. The alternate member having seniority shall take the place of an absent regular member first and then the junior alternate member shall take place of an additional missing member.
C. Procedure: Order of Business
- Order of Business. The order of business shall be as follows:
- Field Trip (when necessary)
- Roll Taken by the Secretary
- Approval of Minutes for the previous meeting
- Consideration of agenda items
- Other business at the discretion of the Chair
- Field Trips: On those occasions when site inspections are deemed advisable, field trips shall be held prior to the Planning Commission meetings, and the time of the field trip is to be posted on the agenda. Only Planning Commission members and pertinent Town Staff shall be allowed to attend the field trip in the city-owned van. The public shall be allowed at the sites of the field trip, but shall be encouraged to present their case at the Planning Commission meeting, not during the field trip. Field trips shall be for the purpose of gathering information, not for the discussion of decisions.
- Agenda for Meetings: The Secretary, with the assistance of the Town Planner shall prepare a written agenda for each meeting as far in advance as possible and shall submit such agenda to each member at least five days prior to each meeting.
- Eligibility for Placement of an Application on the Planning Commission’s Agenda: In order for an application for any phase of a subdivision or site plan approval or for zone change or land use ordinance text amendment or other requests to be placed on a Planning Commission Agenda, the following is required:
- All applicable Town application fees shall be paid;
- A complete application with all required documents and materials shall be submitted to the Town at least 21 days prior to the next Planning Commission Meeting; and
- At least seven days prior to the next Planning Commission meeting or before the workday before a required public notice deadline, whichever is greater, the Town Attorney, Town Engineer and Town Planner shall verify to the Secretary:
i. That the application documents and material are complete and that they meet the minimum requirements of the Town Ordinances and applicable Town Standards and Specifications, as well as any other applicable laws and ordinances; and
ii. That, for applications that have previously appeared before the Planning Commission, any conditions placed by the Planning Commission have been met; and
- That the notice requirements for a public hearing or other required public notice has been met.
Otherwise, the application will be tentatively scheduled to the following Planning Commission meeting, subject to the requirement previously stated in this section being met.
- Staff Reports: All major issues presented to the Planning Commission for consideration shall be accompanied by a staff report detailing the overview, background, analysis and staff recommendation(s); which shall include findings of fact and, where applicable, conditions for approval. Staff reports shall address the portion of the Town of Charleston Zoning Ordinance or other applicable development codes relevant to the petitioner’s request, and how the request fits within the criteria of the ordinance and the applicable master plan(s). Staff reports shall be as concise as possible, while allowing for adequate coverage of the subject matter and shall be made available to anyone requesting a copy.. Staff reports shall be delivered to the Planning Commission and the applicants no later than the Monday previous to the regular Thursday Commission meeting. The Town Planner shall be responsible for overseeing the writing of the staff reports and will coordinate his/her Staff Reports with those of the Town Attorney and Town Engineer.
- Submission of Written Comments on Agenda Items: Any written comments submitted for the Planning Commission’s review shall be submitted to the Office of Town Clerk/Recorder by noon on Tuesday prior to the next Commission meeting. Comments submitted by noon on Tuesday will be emailed to the Commission and comments submitted thereafter will be handed to the members of the Planning Commission at the scheduled meeting. However, there is not a guarantee that members of the Planning Commission will have an opportunity to review written comments that are not received by noon on Tuesday.
- Notification of Public Hearings: Notices of all items scheduled for the Planning Commission Public Hearings shall be provided to the appropriate parties consistent with State Law and Town Code, whichever is more restrictive. Anyone wishing to receive notice of Planning Commission meeting agendas, copies of minutes and/or staff reports may be placed on the regular e-mail list or US Mail list by contacting the Town Clerk/Recorder.
D. Procedure: Order and Decorum
- Order of Consideration of Items: The following procedure will normally be observed; however, it may be rearranged by the Chair for individual items if necessary for the expeditious conduct of business.
- Item introduction by the Chair.
- Staff presentation and recommendation.
- Applicant presentation of the proposal. There shall be a ten (10) minute maximum applicant presentation, unless the Chair authorizes additional time.
- Opening of public hearing portion item, when required or scheduled: General Public’s comments shall be subject to a three-minute maximum per each individual’s presentation / comments, unless the Chair authorizes additional time.
- Opening and Closing of Public Hearings: The Chair shall open and close the public portion of each public hearing prior to Planning Commission’s discussion and vote on the matter.
- Planning Commission discussion and vote – discussion is closed to staff, the petitioner, and public unless the Planning Commission requests additional information.
- Planning Commission Chair outlines possible actions - approval, denial, continuation, or approval with conditions. If additional information is required, the public hearing portion of the meeting may be reopened by a majority vote.
- Public Comments: During the course of conducting Planning Commission business other than public hearings, the Chair, after consulting with the other members of the Planning Commission, may elect to receive comment or take testimony from the audience. However, the Planning Commission is not obligated to take any comment from the audience and any comment allowed is at the will of the Chair. There shall be a three-minute maximum per each individual’s comments, unless the Chair authorizes additional time.
- Recess: The Chair may call for a break for a specific purpose while also stipulating a specific time to reconvene the meeting. The time to reconvene must be during the same day as the meeting in which the motion to recess was made.
- Adjournment: The Chair shall adjourn the meeting at the end of each Planning Commission meeting (no motion required).
E. Procedure: Motions
- Making Motions: Any member of the Planning Commission, except for the Chair, may make, or second a motion.
- Motions should state findings at the beginning of the motion followed by the recommendation to the appropriate body, if any, and should be concluded with the conditions of approval, if any. The motion may refer to the staff report for the detail of the findings of fact and conditions for approval if the author of the motion finds them acceptable.
- The staff summary should be sufficient in detail to assist the Planning Commission in stating findings.
- Motions may be repeated for clarification following discussion and prior to the vote at the request of any member of the Planning Commission.
- Members of the Planning Commission may request advice from the Town Planner or Town Attorney in the preparation, discussion and deliberation of motions.
- Conditions to motions for approval: Conditions placed on the approval of an application must be germane to mitigating negative impacts relating to the proposal or are necessary to ensure the project meets the regulatory criteria.
- A Second is required: Each motion of the Planning Commission must be seconded with the exception of motions to amend a motion (see Item 31 below).
- Withdrawing a Motion: After a motion is stated, the motion shall be in the possession of the Planning Commission, but may be withdrawn by the author of the motion prior to the vote, in this case withdrawal of a second is not necessary.
- Motion to Table: A motion to table an agenda item for further study should be accompanied by specific reasons for continuing the matter and whenever possible, a specific date to rehear the matter should be scheduled.
- Amending a Motion: When a motion is pending before the Planning Commission, any member may suggest an amendment without a second, at any time prior to the Chair putting the motion to a vote. The amendment must be accepted by the author, and the second of the motion, in order to amend the stated motion. The author and the second may choose not to accept the amendment.
- Amending Amendments to Motions: An amendment to a motion may be amended, no second required, at any time prior to the Chair putting the motion to a vote. The amendment to the amendment must be accepted by the author of the motion and the second of the motion, in order for it to amend the stated motion. The author and the second may choose not to accept the additional amendment.
- Substitute Motions: A substitute motion, which shall replace the original motion, may be made prior to a vote on the original motion. A substitute motion requires a second.
- To Rescind a Motion: A motion to rescind, or make void, the results of a prior motion may take place when the applicant and other persons directly affected by the motion have not materially changed their position in reliance on the Planning Commission’s action on the motion. A motion can only be rescinded within the appeal period identified in the Land Use Ordinance.
- To Reconsider a Motion: To recall a previous motion for further evaluation and/or action, a motion for reconsideration may be made by a member of the Planning Commission who voted with the majority. The motion to reconsider a matter must pass with a majority vote; if it is determined that the motion should stand as previously approved then no formal vote is necessary. If the former motion is to be amended or made void, the motion shall be put to a formal vote of the Planning Commission. Motions to reconsider a previous motion must take place during the same meeting the motion was made.
F. Procedure: Debate
34. Asking Questions:
- No member of the Planning Commission shall question another member in debate without obtaining the other member’s consent, and to obtain such consent, shall first address the Chair.
- No member of the Commission shall ask a question of staff or the public without first obtaining permission of the Chair.
- No member of the Commission shall debate with the applicant or a member of the public during the public meeting. Opinions of the Planning Commission members should be voiced during the public testimony period of the meeting and should focus on the project and not an individual(s). This shall not be construed to mean that members of the Planning Commission cannot ask questions of a person providing testimony, Town Staff, or the applicant.
G. Procedure: Voting
- Changing a Vote: No member shall be permitted to change his or her vote after the decision is announced by the Chair.
- Tie Votes: Tie votes shall result in no Planning Commission action.
- Abstention: Any member abstaining from a vote may remain seated at the table and participate in the discussion. Reasons for abstention must be stated for the record, at the time of the abstention and such reason shall not be considered a conflict of interest.
- Explaining the Vote: Before or after the vote is taken, any member of the Planning Commission, desiring to explain his or her vote, shall be allowed an opportunity to do so.
- Not to Vote Unless Present: No member of the Planning Commission shall be permitted to vote on any motion unless the member shall be present, either in person or electronically (under the Electronic Meeting Policy of the Town), when the vote is taken, and when the result is announced. No member shall give his or her proxy to any other person.
- Vote of the Chair: The Chair shall vote with the other members of the Planning Commission.
H. Procedures: Suspension of Rules
- Suspension or Alteration of Rules: No standing rules of the Planning Commission shall be altered, amended, suspended, or rescinded without the vote of a majority of a quorum of the Planning Commission.
I. Record of Decision
- After the meeting, the Secretary will create a “Record of Decision” which includes the list of items acted upon and what action was taken (approved, approved with conditions, tabled or denied). The Record of Decision shall be posted on the Town website the first workday following the public meeting. The posting of this document on the website starts the appeals period.
- After the Planning Commission makes a decision, the Secretary shall send a letter to the applicant identifying what the decision was and outline any subsequent action the applicant must take. The Secretary may consult with the Town Planner before sending the letter.
J. Notification of Decision
K. Approval and Amendment of Policies and Procedures
- These policies and procedures may be amended at any meeting of the Planning Commission held upon a vote of a majority of a quorum of the members of the Planning Commission.
- Written notice to the Planning Commission Members of the proposal to amend these policies and procedures shall be made not less that fourteen days is prior to any vote being taken.
L. Recording of Policies and Procedures
- The Planning Commission Secretary shall record these policies and procedures and all subsequent amendments, and copies shall be furnished to each member of the Planning Commission, to applicants for the Commission’s meeting agendas and posted on the Town’s website.
Approved by the Planning Commission on _____________
Town Clerk /Recorder Town Seal