The City of Point Arena Planning Commission
2012/2013 Planning Commissioners
Richard Wasserman- Chair Susan Moon - Vice Chair
City of Point Arena Planning Commission is a group of five volunteer residents (of which three volunteers must resided within the City limits) appointed by the Mayor and City Council to serve a two year term and to hold hearings and provide recommendations to the Council on land use related items. Only the City Council can make final decisions on most land use items, but the Council relies on the Planning Commission to hold hearings, gather input, and provide the Council with expert advice, based on city codes and the comprehensive plan.
The City of Point Arena contracts with the County of Mendocino (as of July 2012) to handle the planning applications. The County's Planning and Building Department reviews all applications submitted to the City of Point Arena and prepares the staff reports and recommendations for the Planning Commissions consideration at the Public Hearings.
Planning Commission holds public hearings (generally the fourth Tuesday of the month) on all variances, conditional use permits, land use ordinances, and subdivisions of land, as well as amendments to the City comprehensive plan. Planning Commission provisions are outlined in Point Arena Municipal Code Section 2.15.
Planning Commission Meeting Procedures & Information
City of Point Arena Planning Commission holds a regularly scheduled meeting the fourth Tuesday of each month, beginning at 5:00 p.m. No new matter will commence after 6:00 pm and meetings will be adjourned at 6:00 pm unless the Commission votes to extend the meeting for 30 minute increments.
ü Meetings are held at City Hall and are open to the public and are recorded
ü Please be sure to silence all cell phones and PDAs
ü Anyone wishing to address the Commission must complete and turn into the City Clerk a Comment Card form prior to approaching the podium to address the Commission.
ü Be respectful of all meeting participants and watchful of time constraints
The Planning Commission meetings are run in the following fashion:
1. Call to Order & Roll Call. The Chairperson will call the meeting to order at 5:00 pm and call the roll of the Planning Commission members. The Chairperson will also introduce city staff Present.
2. Privilege of the Floor (Issues not on the Agenda) The Chairperson will ask if there are land use or planning issues NOT on the agenda which should be briefly introduced by those in attendance.
3. Approval of the Minutes The Commission will review and approve the official minutes from the previous meeting.
4. Hearings. The Chairperson will then begin the Hearings. Members of the audience may request to speak if the subject is listed as a PUBLIC HEARING. Please fill a speaker card in advance (green cards are found on the center table and at the speaker’s podium) and provide to the Clerk. The Chairperson will recognize you during the course of the hearing and invite you to address the Planning Commission from the speaker’s podium so that your comment is properly recorded. Because there may be a large number of people who wish to speak, the Chairperson may specify the number of minutes you will be allotted to speak.
Each Case will be addressed as follows:
a. Chairperson will ask for proper notice verification from the City Clerk
b. Chairperson will then introduce the Case and those present to represent the applicant.
c. Chairperson will then Call to Open the Hearing
The procedure for the hearing is to have city staff make the initial presentation and summarize the staff report as provided prior to the meeting to the Commissioners. The applicant or applicant’s agent will then present the proposal and provide comment to the staff presentation/report. The Commission may wish to ask the first questions of the staff or the developer.
d. Chairperson will then review the Comment Cards and call for the person(s) for and against the item to speak (Public Comment).
e. Chairperson in Closing the Hearing, will allow the applicant time for rebuttal.
f. The hearing is then closed and brought to Commission for discussion and action. Further comment from the audience is not offered unless invited by the Planning Commission Chairperson. If the applicant (or his/her representative) fails to attend the Public Hearing concerning the application, the Planning Commission may take action to deny the application. An application may be entertained for continuance upon receipt of written notification of the applicant's inability to attend the hearing.
5. Commission Business – New
6. Commission Business - Returning
8. Summary of Directives and Items to be Agendized
For Applicants to become part of the process, it begins with submission of a completed permit (land use) application which is available from City Hall or on the website. Here are some guidelines that will assist an applicant in making a presentation to the Planning Commission more successful.
1. Have the application completed and submitted on time, with supporting documents and fees.
Work with City staff to get your questions answered. Staff has a schedule of when to submit materials for the next meeting—usually it is about 30 days in advance of the time you meet with the Planning Commission (a schedule of the regular meeting dates is available at City Hall or on the City’s website). This allows for public hearing notices, mailed notices, and placement of signs on the site to occur in a timely fashion. The Planning Commission reviews the application and the narrative you submit, in addition to the staff report and recommendations.
2. Work with the planning staff to get the most detail on your drawings.
Detailed drawings which are to scale potentially reduce the number of questions and the required time to review. Provide photos to illustrate your issues.
3. Once your application is considered complete by the Planning Staff, the staff review of the issues will begin. By state statute, the City has 60 days in which to have the City Council make a decision on your request. Normally the process takes about 45 days. However, if there are unanswered questions, the City may extend its review period for an additional 60 days with approval of the City Council. On most applications the City must confer with the City Engineer, County Building Official, the Fire Marshal or Redwood Coast Fire Department, City Attorney and quite often the Coastal Commission. A staff report is then prepared by the City Administrator, including a description of the request, how it impacts the city and the properties in the area, and whether the project is consistent with ordinances, the comprehensive plan, and other agency requirements.
4. Familiarize yourself with how a Planning Commission hearing is run. The chairperson opens the hearing by announcing the title of the request. He then asks the City Administrator to verbally present the staff project report and provide a recommendation on what action should be taken. Questions are then asked of the Staff. The Chairperson may ask the applicant if there is anything to add to the Staff Report. Once the applicant has responded (at the podium) the Commission then asks for questions and comment from the public before closing the hearing. The Commission will then discuss what action to take; make a motion, and vote on their recommended actions.
5. Attend the meetings of the Planning Commission and City Council when your item is being discussed. Either body may have questions only you can answer. If you are not present, your application could be delayed until a future meeting when you can be present.
6. Come prepared to answer questions at the podium in front of the Council. The Meeting is held in the City Hall Council Chambers because all meetings are open to the public. Because of the microphones and recording, you are required to speak at the podium about your project to the Commission and Council. You may also bring photos or drawings, and a laptop and overhead project is available.
7. Address your comments to the Chairperson and the Commission. The Commission is holding the meeting and the Commission must make a recommendation, so target your remarks to them.
8. Listen and ask for what steps are next. Since the Commission is advisory only, all of its recommendations are sent to the City Council for a final decision—usually on the fourth Tuesday of the month. Be present at that meeting also.
Feel free to contact city staff for assistance, we are happy to help!