Did you receive a notice of public hearing about a possible project in your neighborhood? Or perhaps you’ve seen signage about a public hearing posted on a property lot nearby. What is a notice of public hearing, and should you get involved? A Notice of Public Hearing should be addressed with a level of seriousness as it can impact your enjoyment of your nearby property.
What is a notice of public hearing?
Public hearings are required by most municipalities when a property owner files to amend its zoning designation or change the way the land or structure is used substantially. For example, if a homeowner wishes to use their property for a bed and breakfast, to operate a daycare, or to run another type of small business, it is likely a public notice, and subsequent hearing will be required. For example, the City of Medford conducts public hearings to collect public comments and testimony for active land use permit applications, municipal code amendments, comprehensive plan amendments, and environmental reviews.
What should you do if you receive a notice of public hearing?
The first thing you should do if you receive a notice of public hearing is to determine exactly what the notice is for. The notice will include specific information about the proposed project or change and where you can obtain more details about it. These notices intend to make it easy for the public to research the project and determine how the change will impact them before the hearing.
You are not required to attend the hearing, but if you do, there are a few things you need to know about it. Most importantly, a hearing is not a two-way conversation. You should thoroughly research the project and contact whoever is designated on the notice with your questions before the public hearing. You will not receive feedback or a response to your statement during the public hearing. Instead, the panel’s objective is to listen to all comments so they can make a well-informed decision about the project’s future.
You’ll be provided a very limited amount of time to make your statement, usually between three and five minutes. If you’re provided the opportunity to submit your statement in writing, it’s usually best to do so and then read it at the meeting. Rehearse your presentation beforehand because it will be important for you to clearly communicate your message slowly enough so the meeting recorder can document it accurately but quickly enough to fit everything within the time limit.
Keep in mind that public meetings are official government events. Make sure you put your best foot forward by dressing professionally and presenting yourself respectfully to the hearing panel and other participants. Shouting, pointing, arguing, booing, and other demonstrative acts are prohibited in public hearings.
If you have concerns about a potential land use change in your neighborhood, you can learn more about your rights from Richard Stevens & Associates.
Our team will help you understand what’s going on in your neighborhood and what you can do to address your concerns about land use changes that will impact you or your property. At Richard Stevens & Associates, we specialize in assisting our clients with obtaining rural and urban land use permits. We will help you navigate all the issues involved in land use regulations. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you achieve your goals.
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