Planning commission rules rewrite nearly finished
Will grant more public input
The Charles County Planning Commission is undergoing commissioner changes, and a new set of rules to be followed by the commission will grant the public more input on decision-making than ever.
Yolanda Hipski, the county’s program manager for the planning divi- sion, gave a presentation during Monday night’s planning commission meeting highlighting the changes being made to the rules and procedures.
Hipski and her staff along with planning commission Vice President Joan Jones and Commissioner Nancy Schertler came up with the rules as they currently stand.
There are six articles in the amended rules and procedures. They include directives for the commission in the result of a tie vote; how the commission’s agendas are selected and decided on; when a vote can be reconsidered; and the dif- ferent meeting types, including public comment.
Public comment was a large issue staff considered, she said. But another problem solved by the new rules and procedures is when agendas are creat- ed, how they are modified and when commissioners can speak with each other through electronic com- munication.
“There was no oppor- tunity by the planning commission to modify the agenda or at least no formal process,” Hipski said. “Under these new rules, that will change.”
In the new process, the commission chairman and director of planning will put together an agen- da ahead of the meeting. The agenda will then be voted on and approved by a majority vote from the planning commission.
And now, after an agenda item has been decided, revisions or modifica- tions can be considered by the planning commission from either the public, a commissioner or staff, Hipski said.
“The distinction there is important,” she said.
A revision to a motion made would change a decision from an approval to a denial or vice versa, Hipski said. A modification would just be a slight change to an approved motion.
And “just to be clear,” Schertler said, the only way either can be considered is if a commissioner who voted affirmatively on an approved or denied motion changed their vote after further discussion and more information was presented.
Under the new rules, a member of the public would have 14 days to submit a request for reconsideration of a decision, Hipski said. Commissioners would have the same amount of time to file for a reconsideration as well.
The commission would discuss the reconsideration during its next meeting and then vote on it after the issue is opened back up in a subsequent meeting, Hipski said.
Commission Chairman Buddy Bowling said the rules and procedures should be reviewed annually from now on to keep the rules updated and current.
In order to have something to reference in case any changes are needed in the meantime, Commissioner Robin Barnes said, some reference to Robert’s Rules of Order’s most current edition should be included in the rules and procedures.
Those suggestions will be taken into consider- ation, Hipski said, and added before the rules are formally approved at the next commission meeting on Nov. 28.
Bowling said putting together the rules was “truly a team effort,” and without the help of Hipski and her staff along with legal counsel, things would done.
There are still tweaks left to be made, but Bowling said everyone’s efforts in the process are still appreciated. not have gotten